You Can’t Always Get What You Want…

Let’s get inside Aydan’s head this week:

Does Aydan truly know what she wants/needs in her relationships, or is she still reacting to the baggage of her past?  What does she need to change?  Does she sincerely want to change?  If she can find happiness without being in a permanent relationship, why should/shouldn’t she change to fit society’s ‘norm’?

15 thoughts on “You Can’t Always Get What You Want…

  1. I think Aydan knows what she doesn’t want, which would suggest that she knows what she does want.

    I kinda feel the same way. I do enjoy sex, but I don’t feel the need to be in a relationship. It’s nice having a relationship with someone who you trust. But if you don’t feel you want to be smothered by it, and believe me it happens. I have kept guys at an arms length on more than one occasion.

    I see it as if I’m happy, then why shouldn’t I do as I please, and if I can then why can’t Aydan too. She isn’t hurting anyone and neither am I.

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  2. This one’ tougher than I thought it would be after I started digging around in it. Unless I’ve completely missed something in all the re-reads, Aydan is still pretty much trapped at/in Sirius Dynamics. One of those never-get-out-alive things, right? So a standard retirement package isn’t a possibility yet, right? She’ll finally get to retire when the guy at the cemetery chisels the last date after the dash and not before. As of the end of Book 11, anyway, right?

    So if that’s the case, what does change really mean for Aydan? With that hanging over her head, most of her spare time is used up just trying to keep the house together and crank through the chore list out in the garage.

    I don’t really see her as sitting out the back porch, cranked back in the lounge chair with a cold one, basking in the late afternoon sun while waxing philosophical about her future prospects and tuning up her attitude and dwelling on interpersonal relationships.

    Does that make sense here?

    Would she ever do that if she ever makes it past basic survival mode? Yeah, I thing she would. Not often, but once in a while, maybe.

    The rest of the time, she’d be out in the shop, tunes cranked, wrenching on the ’53 or changing the plugs (yet again) in that big-block ‘Vette. Either that, or she’d be out tweaking the garden or in the kitchen dealing with the deluge of lovely produce.

    Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t really see Aydan, at this place in her life, as even having the need to spend a lot of time or energy contemplating relationships. She knows which ones work and which ones don’t and which one just simply can’t. So she just goes with the ones that work. She doesn’t have the energy to waste on anything else. Yet.

    I’m absolutely hoping for the time when all’s well, she’s got a sack full of medals from a grateful nation, she’s hit the Power Ball for a hunnerd or two zillion, and she can do as she pleases without ever being a target EVER AGAIN.

    Why shouldn’t I want that for her? That’s what I want for ALL my buddies, okay?

    Until then, though, I see more survival mode than introspection and optimizing relationships.

    Then again, if I knew it all, I’d be rich. I’m still trying to get my stuff written and out there. 🙂

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  3. I am a pragmatist and my thoughts on this subject tend to go to what the realities are. One reality is that she has baggage. Everyone has baggage of some kind or another and to different degrees. It is impossible to be alive and in society without acquiring it. But Aydan’s is particularly heavy and what she went through to get it might well be akin to combat. As been mentioned, Kane came back from combat forever changed, as is common with soldiers. Both Aydan and Kane received therapy but it wasn’t enough to take either of them back to their ‘norm’. It would be miraculous if she were able to somehow rid herself of enough of that baggage to enter into a committed relationship.

    Another reality is that she is a secret agent and with dangerous knowledge in her head. She will never be able to leave the Department. She has faced the reality of that. The problems that field agents face with committed relationships has already been covered. In the mean time she has a supportive man in her life who loves her and that she loves back. It is a relationship important to both though neither will admit to themselves that there is any commitment there. I think that is where she is most likely to find any happiness. She is not living a normal life, why should she fit society’s ‘norm’?

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  4. On the face of it, this seems like a pretty straightforward question, but like @SomeRandomGuy, when I started to really consider it I realized it’s a little more complicated.

    The way I see it, the fundamental question isn’t really whether Aydan is doing anything “wrong” or “right” – as @Karen says, she’s not hurting anyone, so who cares? (Other than her friends, of course, who want to see her happy and safe.)

    What I find interesting in this question is where we place the balance point between destructive dysfunction (actions that lead a person down an increasingly damaging path) and acceptable dysfunction (actions others may not consider strictly “normal”, but yet allow a person to exist comfortably within the framework of their own experience).

    As @Janet points out, Aydan has a lot of baggage so she makes choices that others without her backstory might consider to be wrong or destructive. For Aydan, though, those choices feel “right”… at least at the time. If she managed to overcome the scars of her past, she might look back on those choices and consider her current choices “wrong”, who knows?

    But is it even possible for someone to overcome that kind of baggage? How far back do you go along a person’s timeline to find the last known instance of “normal”? If society’s perception of “normal” hasn’t existed in a person’s life for decades, doesn’t it seem destructive to try to force them to make decisions that are completely incongruous with their life experience? I think that applies to John and Hellhound, as well as Aydan- all three of them have led “non-normal” lives for a very long time.

    Or… is that just a copout that allows people to quit striving for self-improvement?

    I dunno. What do you think?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I guess self-improvement can mean different things to different people. For that matter, it can mean different things to the same person under different circumstances.

      For a while, Aydan was so completely bummed out and used up that whether she lived or died didn’t actually seem to make much difference to her. Several times she actually said, er, ‘forget’ my life. To paraphrase. Ish.

      She’s come far since then, but she’s still got a long way to go to get out of the long-term mess she’s still in.

      I’ve heard of dead-end jobs before, but this one…ooooh, bummer.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I’ve lost track of what is normal. Maybe I’ve never known normal. If normal is growing up in a stable two parent home, getting average or better than average grades in school, playing some team sports, having a romance or two in high school, going to college, finding and marrying your spouse, having your 2.5 children, and having the next generation repeat your normal life, I’ve never even met that normal person. And it sounds SO boring! Who would even aspire to live that life?

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    1. LOL! I dunno; except for the 2.5 kids, the boring, normal life you describe sounds pretty attractive to me. But then again, I haven’t lived it. I guess the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hm, lemme see here. Boring life of eight-to-five, mortgage, trying to get the kids raised–or nightmares every night, occasional screaming adrenaline rushes and near-death experiences with the knowledge that even if the bad guys let you live, your boss won’t.

        Yep, boring sounds pretty good to me. But that’s why I’m anxiously awaiting the arrival of Book 12. 🙂

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  6. I guess like all those politicians, I didn’t really answer the question earlier. Aydan may or may not be able to articulate what she wants or doesn’t want in a relationship, but it doesn’t really matter. At her age, she undoubtedly has an instinct for who might fill the current desire and who is more trouble than he is worth, or at least who will or will not work with her current duties and commitments. Arnie is perfect for her current needs. If her lifestyle changes a lot, this relationship with Arnie might need to change or fall to the wayside.

    It seems pretty clear that although the desire for a workable relationship is there on both sides with Kane, it clearly is not going to work out as things currently are.

    Of course Aydan has baggage. Almost everyone continues to be affected to some degree by their past. It is not necessarily a bad thing. Your difficult life experiences can give you strength and confidence. The word “baggage” makes me flashback to the 80’s.

    A group of my co-workers would read the local weekly (entertainment themed) paper’s personal ads for pure entertainment during our lunch break. Way too many people advertised for a person without any baggage. Usually, this was men seeking women, and we translated that to either mean, they don’t want to date single women who have children, or else they are wanting a virgin untouched by any troubles at any time in their lives. Yea, right. Is there such a creature, and if so, would you want to spend quality time with that individual? Everyone has been affected by events in our lives unless a person’s long-term memory is damaged due to sustaining a major brain injury or a birth defect.

    Slightly off-topic: My favorite ad was for a man seeking a woman who described himself as “Handsome in dim light.” The ad was not looking for some idealistically perfect woman either. One of us should have responded to that ad.

    In the interest of accepting one another -warts and all, or put more kindly, loving one another anyway, Aydan doesn’t need to change. She is comfortable with who she is, she gets along with other reasonable people, and those who she has had real problems with are usually not behaving as rationally/reasonably/lawfully as she is. Aydan’s personality is not the problem. I don’t think she would feel there is a problem to fix. (I sure don’t think she needs changing.) If “society” doesn’t like her choices they should butt out of her business.

    If the issue is that she is not married or in a long-term committed living-together relationship, this is a societal norm that is not for everyone. I’ve gotten backlash from one of my family members for my “selfishness” in not desiring to parent children. I have no idea if they are curious about my sexuality since I have always lived alone. At least they are polite enough to realize it is none of their business, even though I’ve opened the topic more than once. This “selfish” critique came from a brother who has always lived beyond his means, who had a family of three children and two step-children, and he relied on help from our parents almost every month for a period of 10 years, averaging somewhat more than his monthly house payment. This reliance on parental help only ended when our father died. The fiscal disaster of my brother’s life was so intolerable to his wife that she left him for a raging alcoholic who is verbally and emotionally abusive to the youngest child, and to her as well. I get along better these days, but it was very hard times for our relationship since I was the one one who had to close the parental purse strings and say “no” repeatedly to his requests to fill in the need during frequent fiscal crises. Yeah, I’m very selfish indeed. It took forever, it seemed, for him to understand that if I “loaned” him money, I could be charged with financial abuse of our demented mother.

    Choosing to live alone is not that rare after the divorce or death of one’s partner, but it is rarer to have never married or lived together long term. I think it is socially more acceptable for someone like Aydan to choose to remain single after two marriages, than someone like me who really understands the Kane/Aydan dynamic and can’t seem to avoid it in my own romantic relationships. I don’t feel as though I’ve always been treated poorly because of my choices, but then again, I seldom am in a social situation where I find myself explaining my lifestyle either.

    Perhaps Aydan would be happier with someone to go home to every day, but I rather doubt it. Maybe I would too, but I doubt it. So, Aydan may not be the prettiest woman in a room, especially a room with Jack in attendance. Not everyone values beauty and an expensive wardrobe to the same degree. (Trump, yes, but I’m willing to bet that most people will prefer choosing the woman who loves YOU unconditionally, rather than the prettiest, most high-maintenance woman in the room.) Aydan has plenty of people who enjoy her company, in bed or not, people who find her good to work with, intelligent, unpretentious, competent, hard working, honest, forthright, etc. What’s not to like? What is there to fix? If she lacked self-confidence and constantly beat herself up as being somehow defective, I’d agree that there was work to be done.

    Don’t we all yearn to be loved just the way we are? Then we must love others just as they are.

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    1. Sometime shortly after the turn of the century, someone fairly famous gave an interview. I seem to remember that the person (male, and that’s all I can remember) was known in his younger years for a dazzling array of arm candy and never the same one–or two–twice in a row. Livin’ the life, ya know?

      In the interview about his antics during his younger days, this then-elderly gent (about the age I am now, and, no, do NOT mention the word ‘irony’ to me) said, without mentioning any names, that all the flash and glitz and ‘raw sex appeal’ (his words) were nice, but not necessary. For the most part, he said, all that gets ya is high maintenance, screaming spoiled brats, and headaches. There’s much to be said about someone who just picks up after themselves and talks in a reasonable tone of voice on the phone and knows how to close doors quietly. Those things are what I look for now. I’d give anything if that’s what I’d looked for back then.

      It’s odd, I think, that I can remember more about the words than about who actually said them. Not the Rat Pack guys. Someone from an earlier era. It’ll come to me. I’ll holler.

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