“I take two steps forward. I take two steps back. We come together ’cause opposites attract. And you know — it ain’t fiction. Just a natural fact. We come together ’cause opposites attract.” ~Paula Abdul
Let me put this out there first: we’re not opposites. Far from it. I’d call us complementary if anything, like ketchup & mustard, like Ben & Jerry, or like Barnum & Bailey. If we were opposites at some point things would fall completely apart because opposites actually repel (magnet, anyone) even if you’re trying to force them together with all of your strength. Yet, if we were exactly the same, if we liked all the same things, or shared all the same hobbies, things would be awfully boring around here.
Okay, maybe it wouldn’t be boring, but if we both shared my personality it would be awfully chaotic, and if we were both like her it might be pretty quiet. I don’t know if I could deal with the quiet very well, and I know she wouldn’t embrace the chaos, if we had our druthers, so I’m glad we’re not the same. I’m glad we’re individuals who decided to walk this road together despite the fact that we’re so different, despite the clashes that inevitably occur when two separate personalities share a room, much less a house and all that goes along with it.
For example, she’s much more methodical than I am, analyzing everything before making a move, the perfectionist who understands that nothing is perfect, but who strives for it anyway. When something interests her she will research the hell out of it until there is nothing more to suss out, nothing more to comprehend about it. There is just something fascinating about watching her go to work on things that intrigue her, seeing the way her mind works. It’s just beautiful.
On the other hand, I’m the risk taker. I’m giving answers before the questions have even been fully asked. I gauge my odds quickly and I go for it, preferring to reap the early rewards or to fail spectacularly. I tend to do research on the fly, after I’ve already made the decision, and sometimes it works out, but sometimes it doesn’t. While it’s calculated, it’s nowhere near the intense scrutiny and solid planning that she takes. Which is fine because that’s the way it works out best for us. When I am ready to jump the gun she’s there to pull me aside and remind me of why I should be patient, and when she’s taking a long time making up her mind I’m there telling her it’s okay sometimes to take that risk, that it’s all good.
When we were apart we decided to start a journal together, a journal of poetry because we both have poetic souls. We sent it back and forth between us, marking time between then and when we would see each other again. She would write a poem and mail the journal to me, and I would craft one in return on the following page and send it flying back to her. We did this for several months, and a pattern soon became clear. I would write my verses within a day from the time I received the journal, then I would wait. Most times it would take two weeks or longer before I received the journal again, and once it was an entire month between poems.
But you know what? It created anticipation, knowing that she was taking her time and being precise with her language, understanding that the way she operates is in stark contrast to me, but the finished product dovetails nicely together. I dug out the dusty journal just the other day, and it reads like an epic love story, like Orpheus and Eurydice, crossing the miles through words, and even though we took different paths to get those words on the pages, we both arrived at the same place. It’s the proof that we do complement each other, that while we approach things different ways we have the same goal in mind, and we reach it. Together.
No, we are never boring, because opposites don’t attract, but neither do exactly alikes.