You can’t have your cake and eat it too, they say.
Well, what the flip good is a cake if you can’t eat it, says me! I like cake and I very much like eating, I’d say it’s one of my favourite things to do. That idiom is both redundant and outdated, much like the opinions of the masses of people who offered that phrase to me (I can only assume as intended well-meaning advice) after I announced I was finally going to travel abroad for ten weeks – here’s the cake flavoured kicker – withOUT my long term boyfriend.
The usual response went as follows:
Silence, general confusion (sometimes bewilderment) followed by verbal diarrhea, such as “Oh my god, what is he going to do when you’re gone? ARE YOU GUYS BREAKING UP?! He’s letting you? Does he even know?”
And upon finding out that, no we are in fact not breaking up –
You can’t have your cake and eat it too, they say apologetically. As if it can only end badly, as if I am making the worst decision of my life and they’re being the big person by warning me, gently beforehand. Like oh shit, I can’t have my cake? Well, then. That changes everything. I’ll just stay here and keep my dreams to myself in case someone else tries to touch my cake… Or something.
That honestly floored me; I was expecting more excitable responses, a heap of destination questions, some woo girl-ing or at the very least some generalised encouragement. At first I was offended, but then I got mad, like really mad. And finally after all the inner monologuing I could handle, I was so prepared for someone to say it again that I felt the need to invest in a microphone just so I could drop it after I tell them who’s boss. (Hint: it’s me, I’m the boss)
I’ll just climb up here on to my podium, are you all ready? Can you see me? Can you all hear me? Okay first of all let me address the subject of what he’ll do when I leave him alone for 10 weeks, I can sum it up in one word – Game. He will go to work as he always does, hang out with his friends on the weekends as he always does and he will kill baddies / race cars in between, as he always does. I just won’t be there. He is a grown ass man – I’m pretty sure he can cook toast, and order pizza, he will triumphantly survive my absence. I’m actually pretty sure he’ll enjoy it.
Second of all, why would the assumption be that we’re breaking up? Rude. That is offensive on so many levels. The decision to go overseas is a big one, it involves so many steps, one of which includes many months of planning – many months of talking finance and about leaving each other and working it all out, like adults do. And you know how that went? I said “Hey honey, Mel (best friend) and I want to go to Europe for about 10 weeks and I’m super duper keen. It will be hard to leave you and the puppies, but so much fun.” (Because I am an adult and don’t need to ask permission) “Oh really?” replies boyfriend, feigning surprise, as if I hadn’t been talking about it for the last 5 years “I hope you two enjoy yourselves, I’ll have to get Skype on my phone”. Conversation over.
I’ve been able to pinpoint why exactly that assumption got me angry squinting and bunching my fists. It’s an assumption that we don’t have the best of relationships, and that’s fine – we can never know someone else’s relationship as well as the people in it. But more than that, it’s an assumption that I haven’t bothered looking at all the pointy corners of this once in a lifetime no takey-backsies decision and just on a whim decided that it’s a great thing to do regardless of anyone else, like relationship of 5 years be damned – I’m done here. (Which coincidentally is what I would have said if boyfriend had have been anything other than supportive). Basically it’s an assumption that I’m irrational, insensitive and not very bright. So to that I would say don’t be a “Negative Nancy and stop making assumptions. No cake for you.”
As for the “He’s letting you?” query – I just feel so very deeply saddened that’s even a question in this current era, but that’s a whole other rant. The end.
Now that I’m back, I want to tell all those naysayers from up here on my podium, that we actually found that it was beneficial to our relationship, being able to miss each other was pretty romantic, as was the return (if you know what I mean). The hardest part of being away from home for me was actually not missing my boyfriend at all, but missing my furry four legged babies. I’ve never felt such wretched heartache, it felt like my limbs would fall clean off from sadness every time I thought of them. Luckily we were able to FaceTime and Skype, and although I couldn’t scratch Dexter behind the ears or let Willow spoon me to sleep, I could see them and pretend which was almost enough. Added bonus was I also got to see and talk to boyfriend!
Hi5 for communication, that’s really the only advice I have for people planning a similar venture. Talk it out! Hug it out! If you feel that travelling sans partner is right for you and you’ve talked it over with your significant other – as long as you’re on the same page, then you can indeed have your cake and eat it too.
And if your cake is actually not very agreeable to the idea, then get another cake.