Extraordinary Measures on Love, Growth, & Grief

Frank White plays Derrick in the web series Differences that focuses on relationship tendencies when the male is the “good guy”.  His character does all the right things, but still receives bashful labels from his girlfriend. White discusses relationships and coming to terms with the growth in social bonds between two people.

ATM: It is interesting to see the powerful bond that takes place when a man and a woman enter a relationship. It is a friendship that goes the extra compared to friendship. Love, commitment, and romance are mixed into it. They say you should marry your best friend.

FW: This is true. This is one of the points the show was looking to portray. Things may work conveniently for the moment, but over a period . . . if a person or situation presents themselves to be a more natural or genuine fit, then it will create some issues.

ATM: In the series, Tiffany touched on a part that started the decline in your relationship. She did not believe in your dreams as a cinematographer.

FW: This is correct. This is one of the main plot points. It is subtle, but also powerful to understand. It was a turning point in the relationship. It is first the doubt or the lack of seriousness or involvement in the career chosen as my passion or dream. To go far as putting these things down and diminishing these things not being on the same level of what she is doing. This realization causes you to take a step back and question things.

ATM: It does make you question. This is where the imbalance happens. In a relationship, you are constantly growing. When you grow the other person is growing also. Your character is also trying to establish a career. If anyone does not support you, then your significant other should support you. The support is a part of love.

FW: I agree. This is a big part of love, which is accepting the things you might not agree with the other person. You are still supporting this person and seeing them through. For Derrick’s character, it was how in love am I really with this woman? How in love is this woman in love with me? She would have to love my dreams and the things I want to pursue in my life. It is one of those things or do you love me, love? Do you love me because it is a convenience of what you possibly see what this could be? Do you love the person I am now or the potential? There is a difference.

ATM: Tiffany represented a female character that was selfish. Why? She is thinking about marriage and other things. She does not care about how you feel. I could see how you feel because of your facial expressions. A relationship should not start to feel like a job or a chore.

FW: Right. There is a difference between working on your relationship and feeling like you are working for your relationship. When you feel as if you are working for your relationship, this is when things start to question themselves. Everything will present themselves naturally. If a person is not supposed to be with someone, then things would eventually surface because of certain situations or predicaments. The different ways you will handle them will present themselves. This will create different issues in your relationships.

Certain things might be deal breakers. If I do not want to have kids or get married, then this is kind of a deal breaker. I do not want to put myself in a position knowing long term this is what I really want, but it does not look like the things I want for myself. I am not in this convenient love relationship. I am comfortable at the moment. Again, things will start to fall apart at the seams. Eventually, someone is going to get tired of not being their genuine selves. This is what it comes down to. How long can you put up this front before it comes crashing down? This is where a lot of people make mistakes in relationships. It is when the rushing into the things that starts to play a part as supposed to really getting to know someone. You have a lot of aspects of relationships that happen over time in which sets it apart then a friendship to more.

ATM: Sometimes women try to mold men into what they want to them to be. This is when a man is not what they want them to be. If a guy likes to dress in street clothing, then some women get into the manipulation stage to change them.

FW: Oh, yes. There is a saying that an older man told me a long time ago. “Men get married in the hopes that woman never changes. Women get married in the hopes that the man does change.” I have also kept this in the back of my mind when certain things happen, and I am in a relationship. I completely agree. It plays a part in it.

ATM: When has a female ever tried to change you?

FW: Oh yes in my last relationship. It was a unique situation. We had known each other for a long time. When you get into a relationship, the person that you thought you knew, turns out to be the person you are not with. People get comfortable and start to show themselves. There are certain patterns that start to happen. You start to realize these things and say this might not be the best situation for me long term. It is the “I can barely into this kind of thing.” I am a busy person and a busy body. I was doing 50 million other things when first meeting this person.

This person requested a lot of my time. I respectfully decreased certain hours at work to accommodate. Well, what I had thought was accommodating. This was the slow manipulation into how far she could push me in this area. It goes from its cute you want to see all the time. Now, it seems there is a deeper reason as to why you want me around all the time. Is it because you do not trust me? It is it because of this or that reason? What is it? This type of stuff starts to surface and shows itself over time.

ATM: Sometimes a woman is stereotyped to wanting a lot of attention. Any significant other should never get comfortable. The spark goes away when you get content. You have to find new things to bring joy to their lives. Wow, you changed your job.

FW: I was raised that if you focus on this person and believe that this is something you want you will make the necessary adjustment to your life to ensure these things have the best chances of working out. If my significant other is requesting that she needs more of my time, then I will do the best of my time to accommodate without jeopardizing the entire foundation financially. Making the best decisions that I can within the confines that I am in. Women do not make it easy sometimes when it comes to deciding between these things. There is a lot of guys that do not know what they want. It makes it difficult for the significant other to play a part in what they need.

ATM: Is it okay for someone to risk their dream for a relationship?

FW: You do a lot of crazy things for the people you feel like you are the most about. You will subconsciously sacrifice your dream. People do it every day.

ATM: But is it worth it?

FW: Now, this is a very great question. My answer to this is that there is no real answer. Everyone would have answers that are either for or against. I feel as if you must have some type of faith in something to guide you. For me, when it comes down to choosing to love over my dreams. I am not going to be able to make this decision on my own. I get this spiritually. I will pray. “Hey, God I am in a situation. I need some help to do this over here. I want to give it to you and not worry about it.” It works out one way or the other. Now, if you had to make a conscious choice. I am right here. I have to choose between the love of my life and my dream. You will always feel unfulfilled if you do not go for your dreams. It does not matter who is around. How deep in love you are or your family? There is always going to be that void of if I had done this and that. This is what gets tough. How do I balance being a good boyfriend to my girlfriend? Also, being available for the time to do other things that will make me feel I am moving forward as an individual. Some factor weighs higher than others.

ATM: The first three arguments are often the most challenging. Most relationships cannot make it through the first argument.

FW: Some individuals make decisions based on their current emotions. People make irrational decisions all the time because of how they feel in the moment. Weeks, months, days, they look back to see they were beasty in the decision. They were feeling some type of way. There is the power struggle within the first three arguments. In certain individuals, you want to establish dominance. For women, you want to establish a certain independence. There are certain reasons people do certain things. Everything will reveal itself. If you are arguing like this and you cannot get past the first three arguments, then this is something you have to take a step back to handle. You had your three arguments. So, what happens after the three arguments?

When you came to a resolution? How quickly did you come to a resolution? Did it take a long time? Was there any grudge or hangover from the situation? Were you able to come together? Was it something you had to figure out separately and then come together? Who was the one that apologized first? Who is the one that is picking up the phone first? All of these certain intricacies play into the psychology of a relationship. Especially in a young relationship where these different arguments can make or break your relationships.

ATM: Women and men carry the residue of the hurt that derived from their previous relationship. This happens subconsciously without knowing. They try to make the next woman or man pay for it.

FW: I am going to refer to back to the story about my previous girlfriend. I knew for a very long time. We did not an officially date, but we had the friends with benefits thing. This was while I was a freshman in college. There were certain things I did as an immature 19 or 20-year old that she carried with her all the way to when we got into a relationship. She would bring these things up because she was extremely moved by them. This was a hard-staking point in the relationship. Can you move pass this? I do not know how to admit the wrongdoing of something I did ten years ago. If you cannot get past this, then how are we going to handle something when it becomes major? God knows what he is doing. My mother just passed away last year. My ex-girlfriend and I broke up the year prior in 2017. I have a girlfriend now.

It is amazing what the difference is in the people that you are with. This person was very supportive and encouraging during this time. My father had passed away during the time with my ex-girlfriend. She was completely unsupportive. People would leave condolences on my page. An ex-girlfriend from years ago was giving condolences and she would make it about her. She did not support me in the times where I really needed her. Certain situations we present themselves and people will show who they really are when these situations arise. This was a clear situation where I had to look somewhere else because the support I was needing and in the future was not there. I could not imagine if I was still with my them while my mother passed. How this would have been? God knows what he is doing.

ATM: Often times in the U.S relationship society or culture, we tend to start off knowing the positives and the perfect elements of one another. Later as time progress, we learn about the negatives or imperfections with one another. I feel we should do the reverse to learn the imperfections. If you express to someone your greatest failure or weakness, it does not even have to be extremely personal because you technically do not know them. If they can love you despite everything you tell them in the category of “imperfections,” then it is real and true. Then the good and the positives should follow. It seems like relationships these days are similar to walking through the woods and not knowing what to expect. You are hoping not to see a bear, which is related to meeting someone who is bad and evil.

FW: It is funny you say this. I had a prior experience where I met someone ten years ago. I met this woman at a car accident. She was pissed and cussing. I thought this was its worst. Oh, boy was I wrong. This is how I went into it. It was bad. This okay if it happens occasionally. I can weather this storm. I was wrong. It is interesting what you said about going into a relationship and seeing the flaws first. Yes, I saw the flaw first. The question that I always wonder for myself and others is why we ignore it. Why do we sit there to go “Oh, no I am not going to ignore this woman just cussed me all the way out or this person all the way out?” She is doing shady shit over there. Chewing with your mouth open. Oh no, it does not bother me.

You are smacking your teeth. Oh no, it does not bother me. Eventually, this shit is going to bother me. It is going to come down to bother you. It starts to be the little things and the little things building up. Like what you said before when you do not communicate, the shit starts to blow up. The little things you cannot stay anything about. This is who they are. You cannot say anything about someone smacking and popping their gum. You can but they are only going to stop doing it around you. They have to change who they are around you. The psyches of relationships are very interesting. Especially for me because I look at different situations. I wonder how people get to where they are. What you would have thought that was going to work out completely crash and burn to something that came out nowhere to working better than anything you have put effort into.

ATM: What has been your hardest heartbreak to date?

FW: In life or just period? Honestly, losing my mom last year. I just lost her in August. I am her only child. It has been tough. I am not going to front. I lost my pops in 2016. It has been tough. I am a faithful guy. I believe in God and in prayer. I believe if you keep good around and put it out there, then good will come back. This has been the biggest heartbreak. This was my friend. I am not a momma’s boy, but she was my homie. I have not been home in 13 years. I have been out on my own since 18. I never went back home. We had a great relationship and there are no regrets on this. I appreciate the person she grew me up to be. It is hard. I thought that falling out of love or breaking up with someone was tough. Nah. Losing your mom or dad or someone who has been always for you it is a tougher thing to handle. You get through it with faith. This is with any heartbreak or relationship. In my relationship or girlfriend aspect, it would probably be my last relationship.

I was taken so far out my element and the person I genuinely am that I did not recognize what I was doing. When you get out of it and think back you say “What the hell was I doing? Why was I letting certain things . . . ?” You go through these situations and you have to learn. People who are ignorant do not take the experiences and learn from them. This is where this separates immature people from mature people. Are you able to learn from the situation overall? I know to lose my mom sucks, but I learned so much in five or six months about estates, taxes, property taxes, school taxes, zoning, the power of attorneys, and loans. I would not have this opportunity unless something like this happened. I would have not taken the time to learn it myself. There is a reason I had to learn about this. Turning the bad the situations and learning from it.

ATM: How did your mother pass away?

FW: She had a rare connected tissue disease for eight years. She was on the incline. Her health was going up. She worked in corporate pharmaceutical for 18 years. Then she went into deep sea open water scuba diving. From there she turned into a teacher. This is what she did up until she passed away. She felt good and fulfilled while teaching. To tie back to my original point of dreams. This was my mom’s dream, which was to feel as if she could help people on the ground level. Not at the corporate level where you sign a piece of paper or give them a big bonus. You are helping them get enrolled in an academy so they can better themselves for their children. This is real. This where she wanted to plant her feet. The long road led her to this place. I say this because it was unexpected because she was on the incline. The actual cause of death was complications were from Morphea Scleroderma.

ATM: I would assume you still dream about her.

FW: Yes. It is funny. I do. It is weird. I have been on my own since I was 18. We had a great relationship, but I feel closer to her now when it comes to being connected. I picked up the phone to call before, but now I can just talk. I know she is there. Weird stuff would happen. I would sit at my desk in my office at home. I had balloons from a previous party. I would be talking to her, and the damn balloons would pop. I say “Okay, a little too much. I know you are here.” She knows I am not about this stuff. She is looking out for me.

ATM: She has never left you.

FW: I appreciate the different interview style. This was cool