Last night was one of the proudest moments of my life.
HomieLuva, in all his suit and tie glory, was recognized with a Scarborough Urban Hero Award for Excellence in Business - and I was just honoured to be a witness. There's nothing like watching someone you love, someone who works hard, someone who has turned a dream into reality - and seeing them take their rightful place on stage, award in hand, with a hall full of people applauding their achievements. Nothing like it.
Overall, last night made me think about the ways we support our partners in relationships - and highlighted the fact that I have come a long way.
What we're supposed to say is that we'll unwaveringly support our partners with their passions. We're supposed to be their biggest cheerleaders. We're supposed to do whatever we can to help them achieve their goals. With a twinge of shame, I have to admit that I haven't always been that fervent ride or die chick.
Being the extroverted, always-down-for-whatever person that he is, HomieLuva decided to take his passion for organizing fun events for friends and channel it into the creation of a small business a few years ago. For a long time, I was his only intern/assistant/employee (I got paid in, uh, creative ways) - I did everything from build websites to play door girl at parties to collect registration fees at basketball leagues. It truly was him and I against the world, and I loved being a part of making his dream come true.
However, being the all-in, uber-focused, mildly obsessive person that he is, I quickly started to feel like I was 2nd place on HomieLuva's priority list. My snarky, half-joking comments about having to book "us" time around "business" time turned into all-out fights. I started to resent the fact that I felt I was putting my own passions on pause to help fulfill his. Eventually, it started feeling like his company was the equivalent to a new, sexy coworker who smelled a little too good, needed a little too much help, and was a little too friendly. Was I competing with something intangible? How was I going to win?
Then, one day, a lightbulb flashed. This wasn't a lesson about competition or ultimatums. Life was using HomieLuva's company to teach us both about compromise, balance, and true support in our relationship.
There were a number of things I had to reconcile within myself in order to be a better support system. My own fears about anything that didn't look like a secure job with a steady paycheque restricted me. I had to realize that it was no one else's decision except my own to put my plans on the backburner to help HomieLuva. When frustration bubbled up inside my chest at yet ANOTHER night spent focusing more on career than cuddling, I had to learn a better way to express my needs. He also had to reconcile some things - most importantly finding a way to balance and integrate work, dreams, love, and life. Overall, I've learned that integration is an ongoing process - it's like we're both standing in a boat, and have to shift and compensate for each other to make sure we stay afloat.
What does support in our relationship look like now? It looks like me taking the time to listen to and understand his vision. It looks like him knowing when to shut down the laptop, lay his head in my lap, and ask me, "How was your day?" It looks like me using my skill sets to help advance his goals. It looks like him urging me to follow my passions and dreams so that we can celebrate and support each other.
And last night, that's exactly what we did - celebrate. I never want anyone to cheer louder for him than me, and I never want anyone to clap harder for me than him. We both chose to be each other's partners and teammates throughout life's adventures - and as crucial as tenets like honesty and trust are, genuine support is vital to a relationship's success. Now, please excuse me as I go about my day, telling anyone who'll listen that my man is an award-winning entrepreneur. It's going to be a great one :)
Have you ever struggled with supporting a significant other? What did you do? Have you ever been in a relationship with someone who didn't support your dreams? Let me know!
P.S. - if you'd like to help me catch up to HomieLuva with an award of my own at next year's Black Canadian Awards, please visit their site and nominate me for the Best Blogger category! All "Nominate" buttons lead to the same nomination form - shoot me a vote and help me get into the top 5 blogger nominees! Thank you!