"We are all so desperate to be understood, we forget to be understanding."

I posted a tweet recently that has since provoked a lot of thoughtful, internal dialogue. The ever inquisitive - I have questions. I think about the different personalities I encounter and how each, in their own way, leave an impression behind. I have the privilege of meeting individuals from many backgrounds, with different beliefs, religions, and preferences. Each person has been shaped by experience, education, and environment - not to mention the roots of family and influence of friends. So I shared:

I don't understand nor can I get behind the trend that is dumping on/hating those w/ different political perspective. Tearing someone down just BC their beliefs are democratic - or republican? I don't see the logic. It's okay to think differently, just don't be an ass about it.

The discussion which followed was mostly positive; be kind, don’t be an ass, and listen objectively. Words make it sound so easy! I thought of the correlation between tolerance and an open mind, and how each play a critical role in my profession. I love being your girlfriend, and I am very, very good at my job. People fascinate me. I’m curious. I ask questions. I pay attention. I want to learn about you - what is it like to experience you?

A large part of companionship is listening. I’ve always mused that the world of compensating dating is (often) a landscape of secrets built from a brutally honest foundation. I also invite strangers into my most intimate space - I want to know my lover before I know him, or her. I share parts of myself with a partner that I wouldn’t breathe a word of to my closest friend. Not everyone needs to know my preferential kinks. Fantasy and preference are delicate subjects; they expose desire and vulnerability. An open-mind is almost necessary when curating an intimate connection. Connections are established through sharing: we share secrets, in secret, which requires understanding and trust. Not all fantasies are my fantasy, and that’s okay because my own preferences do not discount the validity of your desire. Who am I to decide what should or shouldn’t tickle your fancy? Similarly, who am I to decide whether your belief system is right, or wrong?

Difference. I am me, you are you, and somehow we are here, coexisting. We are the sum of our parts, and mine are just as beautiful as yours. So I wonder: is my ability to understand an adapted trait? Am I open because I experience? Or, is it tolerance, curiosity, and an open mind that makes me a great companion? Thoughtful dialogue and possibilities to ponder - we share to be known, listen to understand, and connect to experience.

Kate Kennedy