I'm going to go out on a limb and guess most of you don't know who Israel Kamakawiwo'ole was.
OK, maybe you didn't know five minutes ago, but you just got done on Wikipedia and now you know who I'm talking about.
Here's a little help for you. This, by the by, is my favorite version of Over the Rainbow. Because you care about my musical opinions. You're welcome.
Iz was a big guy. More importantly than that, he was an amazing talent. He started in music at a young age and found his calling early. He was married to his childhood sweetheart and left her and a beautiful daughter behind when he died at the age of 38 in 1997 from complications due to obesity.
But here's the thing: I don't want to talk about Iz's weight, or anyone's weight. Or maybe I do, but in a larger context that has more to do with Who and not What. Because if you look at videos and footage of Iz and the only thing that strikes you about him is his size? You are missing so much.
One of the things that has struck me watching this video is the images of the people of Hawai'i. Their love for Iz is unmistakable; he was a beloved son to all of them. They would have loved him if he weighed 150 pounds because it was his talent and his heart that they loved. And when you look at people in his videos, you see a people who are a hell of a lot less focused on what they look like than on how much they are enjoying their lives.
I don't have any scientific evidence that people in America a hundred years ago focused less on what someone looked like when choosing a life partner. I also don't have any scientific evidence that people in countries that aren't bombarded by Hollywood and the glamour media the way we are don't focus as much on looks when forging relationships. But I'm going to crawl out on a limb here and suppose that both of these statements are true.
Have you ever met someone whose list of requirements for a spouse looked something like this:
1. Must be physically attractive
2. Must make lots of money
Short list, although at least it has requirements beyond "must not live in mom's basement."
Thing is, if that's your list of must-have's, you are missing so much. Partnering with someone means so much more than ensuring your financial stability, and frankly, in today's world, even people who used to have lots of money are suddenly finding the beach house in the Hamptons in foreclosure and their spiffy stockbroker job gone down the toilet. And looks? They don't last. Not without lots of help from botox, scalpel and silicone.
Now let's be honest, my relationship scoreboard is somewhat on the checkered side, and yes, I'm divorced, and yes, I'm codependent. I've also come a long way in my search for self-actualization and a while back had the A-HA moment where I understood -- I DON'T NEED A MAN. I need to love myself. I need to do things that fill my soul. And holy mother of all that is good on this earth, it freed me from so much.
When I finally reached a point where I thought wouldn't it be nice to have someone to hang out with (NOT be addicted to, NOT marry, NOT obsess over and NOT rely on for my self worth), I opened myself to the possibility that was out there. And I dated a little bit, and then I dated SG, and here we are. And my list? Isn't so much a list, but maybe something like a manifesto.
Pick the guy who will hold your hair while you throw up (through your nose, no less), wipe off your face and still kiss you goodnight (after you brushed your teeth, of course). Pick the guy who thinks you are beautiful no matter what you wear and tells you so often. Pick the guy who is so smart that his brain is his sexiest organ. Pick the guy who makes you laugh, often. Equally as important: pick the guy who laughs at YOUR jokes. Pick the guy who GETS you. Pick the guy who shares your values, who is your equal, who will work hard for both of you, who likes to spend time with you more than he likes spending time with his friends but who isn't afraid to let you know when he needs his own time. Pick the guy who shares the chores with you not only because he knows its fair but because he likes to see you smile when you come home to a clean kitchen. Pick the guy who is confident and who understands the importance of caring for himself as much as caring for the relationship. Pick the guy who, if necessary, understands basic wiring and can fix your bathroom fan. Pick the guy who is willing to put up with all imaginable kinds of chaos in the form of children and animals because he is so into you that its worth it to him.
Don't look at his car. Don't look at his salary. And, if I may suggest gently? Don't look at his looks. Because if he is all of the above? Every time you look at him through the eyes of love you will realize that he is exactly the kind of handsome you waited all your life to find. Maybe you just didn't know it.
We - Americans, Westerners, whatever - focus far too much on the things that will not matter fifty years from now when everything starts sagging and our children start bringing home their children and their children's children for us to love. Money cannot buy you someone who will love you even when your chin occasionally sprouts long white hairs overnight. He might drive a Ferrari and have windblown California Surfer Guy hair, but will he bring you the hot pad and a pain reliever when Aunt Flo's sister Carmine Cramps knocks you on your ass? Will he look you up and down and give you an appreciative "Hmmm" when you walk out of your bathroom dressed for work EVERY morning?
When we constrict our expectations to the point that they are only able to be met by the best-looking and wealthiest among us, we limit our own ability to experience real love in the way that it is meant to be understood.
Open yourself to the possibility. You may be surprised at what you find.