Our partners play a significant role in our lives. They are our family, peers, best friends, lovers and sometimes even rivals. I have been fortunate to share my life with a host of remarkable friends, family and partners. Everyone who is a part of my life, past and present, has contributed something valuable and given me a gift I can share with others. I have never regretted any relationship because they played a part in shaping person I’ve become.
I met my current partner on the stage. It seemed destined that I would find my creative match within the realm of my artful life. I believe the people I meet are meant to connect with me on some level, and I am always open to welcoming new friends into my world. My partner and I met as artists, and beneath the lights we produced a genuine friendship. It would be well over a year before we connected as anything more, but by then we had established the roots that would preserve our future relationship.
Our partners share every aspect of our lives. Our collective energies merge in every victory and defeat. My partner is my number one cheerleader. He encourages and praises. He accepts and pardons my imperfections. He doesn’t forsake me on my difficult days – even though there’s little he can do where RA is concerned, just the offer of trying to make things better is the best remedy. He’s patient when I am cantankerous. He helps me with the practical things such as opening jars and bottles, lifting objects, sometimes driving when I have a bad day, or cooking and cleaning when my energy is low. He motivates me by his utter faith in my ability. He reminds me to be kind to myself when I am frustrated by the limitations of my disease, and even though I don’t follow that advice in every situation, I always appreciate it. He was the first to encourage me to write. He bought me my first laptop because he believed I could do it.
Living with a partner is challenging. There is always compromise. But the gains that come from that compromise far outweigh the losses. We work together as a team. We look out for each other and make decisions that chart the course of both our lives. We know that we are there for one another, but we are not excessively dependant on each other. We are complete, apart and together. I try to support him as much as he supports me. Sometimes having someone else to think about is a powerful motivation for staying well. It takes our mind off our own difficulties and forces us to press on.
We are linked by a common creative energy and are drawn to our diverse differences. We can still surprise each other after ten years of intimacy. There’s something intriguing in the knowledge that there is always something new to learn about one another.
I am fortunate to have a partner in my life. I have always been self-sufficient and I believe that quality is the foundation for finding an appropriate companion. Partners are defined by many things: friendship, camaraderie, family, associates, lovers, school mates and advocates. My partner and I joined together at the very beginning of my diagnosis of RA, and he stayed on for the ride. I always thought RA was my journey but it became both of ours, and that was okay by him. Sometimes it’s a ride through a dark stormy night with no visibility – other times we hang our heads out the window and swallow the wind. Wherever the road takes us, it’s always an adventure, and I can’t wait to see where we travel next.