Living With An Eccentric: Ben & Darla Shaw

by Ben Shaw, introduction by Darla Shaw.

This is Ben’s blog.  I am not high maintenance or difficult and Ben and I have  been together so long we can’t imagine our life in any other way.   Life is never dull or boring and something interesting is always happening to look forward to so instead of dwelling on any negatives it is about the positives.   

One reason we are going to Bhutan in Dec. and January is because their gross national product is happiness.   It is suppose to be the most happy place on earth, especially in the countryside where we will be. 

Had an interesting talk with some of my “weird friends” that I adore.  We talked about weirdar, which is like gaydar or when you are gay you can immediatly spot someone in the room with a similar  persuasion.    If I am at a party, giving a workshop, traveling or teaching a class, I can sense a person who is going to be more fun, open minded, and non conforming.    I already had two or three students to whom I have connected with already because they march to their own drummers and see me in a similar manner.   I like to encourage these students to make their mark and use their eccentricity to be very productive. 

According to Dr. David Week’s research on eccentrics, most are single.   Since most eccentrics are  strong willed, non conformists with numerous obsessions, you can see why they might be single.

As an eccentric I fit all categories except one.  That one category is being single.  Not only am I married,  but I have been happily married for over 50 years to probably the only man in the universe that would appreciate me for the person that I am.   Below you will find Ben’s blog on what it is like living with an eccentric. - Darla Shaw


“What Is It Like?”

I have been asked numerous times,  “What is it like to live with my wife, Darla?”  Living with her for well over 50 years shows that we have a successful and loving relationship.

The question, however, is still a complex one as we are cut from entirely different cloths.  In spite of this, we both feel strong respect for each other and give each other the freedom of choice to find our own way.  There is no competition in our marriage as far as taking center stage.  We both have strong as well as weak attributes.

Giving each other our own space and not trying to dominate one another, pretty much sums up what we are all about.  We are very happy for each other’s success.

Darla is much more aggressive than I am.  I am much more laid back.  We, however, both think “out of the box,” and like to be creative.  Darla uses her imagination and years of experience to formulate and develop concepts and projects.    I, on the other hand, visualize what I want to do and make my application through my hands and athletics.  I can not always explain what I am going to do, but solutions seem to come to me through looking closely at the problem.  I have to work things out on my own terms.

I also can not come up with a solution immediately.   I need time to process my thoughts.  Maybe this is because I am dyslexic and have trouble jumping into difficult tasks.

Darla has been very supportive of my learning style by stepping back and letting me absorb and evaluate what I need to do.   I know that I need motivation and  Darla has the ability to guide me through this process.  Sometimes it gets frustrating for me and I tend to hold back until I feel comfortable, but she stays with me.

Darla understands my hesitation and works with me.  This cooperative spirit helps build a solid foundation in our relationship.  We are partners, best friends, and we have each other.

The answer to “what is it like?”  I don’t see that Darla being an eccentric changes our relationship in any way.  Oh, sure, we have our ups and downs like all families, but nothing like being an eccentric would ever hurt our relationship.

In fact, I don’t think of Darla as eccentric.  She is just Darla and she has always been that woman that loves to create and grow.  I love her clothes, the vibrant colors she wears, her costume jewelry and her compassion for others.  That’s my wife of over 50 years, my best, “Bud.”