Commonplace

“What happens when a couple who love one another has this fracture? And how does that fracture then begin to raise other questions that people have about what exactly their expectations are for their spouse? Can their spouse ever have a moment of doubt? About questioning the relationship? Questioning themselves in the relationship? Questioning if they chose the right person? Or if they’ve become a person no longer worthy or willing to be in the relationship? Because it happens all the time. People don’t begin relationships with the intention of hurting one another or themselves. They do it because they yearn for that connection and intimacy and comfort that can be found inside being in a couple.

“I wanted to look at how we are so hell-bent on presenting to one another the perfect version of ourselves that we inflame little things to mean more than they are. It’s not to say that we don’t pursue the wrong things sometimes, but let’s say you’re working with somebody and you feel an attraction to that person. And you interpret this feeling as something ‘special’ or destined – and you then begin to doubt all your other commitments, rather than just saying, ‘This is just biology working as it should, this is just the way men and women are built which is to be attracted to one another.’ You cannot just rely on feelings. You need something else. Because feelings are fleeting, they ebb and flow, and you see this happen all the time, people upending their lives for fleeting things.

“If you inject into every moment of attraction you feel towards someone of the opposite sex (or same sex) a lot of meaning, it will completely derail your life. Because it’s not profound. It just means that your body is working the way it’s designed to work. And the reason that there are vows, the reason that society says, ‘Avoid these pitfalls’ is because it is the trickle-down wisdom of people who have made mistakes.”

—Mike O’Malley, discussing his movie Certainty with the mighty Sheilla O’Malley

About Walter Biggins

Walter Biggins is a writer based in Athens, GA. His work has been published in RogerEbert.com, Bookslut, The Comics Journal, Salon, The Baseball Chronicle, Jackson Free Press, and Valley Voices: A Literary Review. Follow him on Twitter (@walter_biggins), and check out his bimonthly newsletter (https://tinyletter.com/Walter_Biggins).
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