Feeling accepted within relationships is one of the many ways in which we feel connected to others. Within intimate relationships, ingredients, such as trust, builds a safety that leads to greater feelings of being both seen and understood by one’s partner. Though, in order to access such closeness, individuals find a sense of vulnerability is equally required to be viewedauthentically. To be vulnerable takes courage to be honest with one’s self; and, in turn to be capable of being honest with others. To share with another one’s dreams, desires, hopes and fears, it takes a brave spirit; one who is able to withstand the risks involved. These risks in relationships may feel to great to take, despite the potential reaped reward of an intimate love experience. What happens when one exposes their true self and finds that their loved one accepts them for who they are? Within the award winning film ROOM, written, produced, and directed by Aisha Densmore-Bey (a multifaceted artist, architect, Parsons graduate and Harvard Doctoral candidate and filmmaker) illustrates the complexities of love within romantic relationships while highlighting the role vulnerability and honesty serve in maintaining the integrity of a couple’s love.

ROOM “covers the weekend of an artistic, creative couple, Mitchell who is an up and coming artist, and he decides to take his architect girlfriend, Zayna, to a beautiful boutique hotel for her birthday weekend” Aisha Densmore-Bey described upon an episode of A Healthy Mind. “Her [Zanya’s] firm was commissioned to design a prison, and Mitchell has a close family member who is incarcerated. During the weekend, they learn a lot about themselves, their relationship, ethics…they are vulnerable and come out stronger.” she noted. When individuals within a couple have an opportunity to gain an accurate understanding of their partner, the process of exposing one’s true self can have various outcomes. At times, one’s vulnerability is understood and embraced causing the couple to grow closer to one another. This understanding lends the couple to flourish, feeling a sense of comfort that they are aware of where the other stands on certain topics.  Yet, there are other times when learning and accepting one’s partner’s true self results in an awareness that one is not a good fit for the relationship. Though there is an acknowledgement and acceptance of who the other is, there is also knowledge that the partner’s beliefs and behaviors are ones that go against the partner’s beliefs and leaves one feeling conflicted and disrupts the peace within the relationship.  Consequently, the partner is called to determine whether they are able to negotiate to find an agreeable middle ground. The self-disclosure causes the couple to reassess whether the relationship remains viable.  Engaging in this type of evaluation fosters the partners to be in a position to make a conscious decision whether compromises can be made that will allow the relationship to continue or whether a termination of the relationship is warranted.  

Within ROOM, Mitchell and Zanya “come to a solution of accepting one another for who they are, coming to a resolution regarding the nature of their relationship and also coming back to a place of love, understanding and acceptance” Densmore-Bey articulated.  They are challenged regarding whether their differing beliefs can be respected in the intimate partnership they possess.  As a result, they are posed with separate decisions to make and a need to determinehow to move forward.

When in relationships, we have a desire to feel “connected” to one another.  Intimate relationships are sought to fulfill our needs of being seen in a real way, being embraced for our strengths and fragilities and respected for our ideas and beliefs.  As we nurture our relationships, we hope that Densmore-Bey’s creation of the characters in ROOM that wrestle with these ideas can model what is available to us off the screen “to return to a place of love, because that’s where they started.” Densmore-Bey concluded.

To view the full episode of Aisha Densmore-Bey upon A Healthy Mind, visit: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=BLFZwvYbgJo or follow on Instagram @RoomFilmShort. To view ROOM, attend 100 Minutes Park City, more info at https://100minutes.crd.co/