In the end, I think it’s less about self-love than it is about self-compassion. “Love”‘s tricky. Sometime we confuse love for admiration, infatuation for love, acceptance for love, love for friendship, love for a whole host of things. But self-compassion is being kind, or compassionate, to yourself when you’ve messed up or you’re suffering. It’s not about how you think you’re the shit all the time, which ‘self-love’ might imply. I think of it from a third party perspective. This third party’s a compassionate figure, like–like Buddha or Jesus or, if that’s not your cup of tea, your kind forgiving grandmother. When you make a mistake, these figures don’t shit on you for it. They don’t say that you’re stupid so that’s why you failed the test or you’re actually fundamentally terrible so that’s why things ended. They say things like oh, it’s okay, it was just this one test, or you’re still altogether a lovable person despite what you’re going through. Except, instead of a separate third party telling you this, it’s you telling yourself this.
“I like you; your eyes are full of language.”
[Letter to Anne Clarke, July 3, 1964.]”
Of all the relationships in my life, the “wya”–where you at?–relationships are my absolute favorites. wya. Out of work, let’s get dinner? wya. Just got lunch, headed back home. wya. About to run errands, come with? wya. Near Starbucks, join.
Simple blue whale-tailed bubble, three lower-cased words, demarcation of easy closeness, comfort candidness. It conveys the message that: being with you is as it is being by myself. And: I like you enough; I don’t have to try around you.
With most people, you have to make plans. Peer at your calendar, set a date, time, and place. Do this all days in advance. It’s a delicate social dance. Some people are, well, more of a headache to make plans with; it feels obligatory or it’s a back-and-forth game of swerve! or, whatever it is, just feels like work. A lot of people are at the in-between, where they’re still plugged into the schedule, it’s not too difficult to spend time with them, but it’s not as easy as, you know, the wya relationships.
For just a few people in the world, and there don’t have to be many, I can shoot out a quick wya test–no plans, no pretense. There’s a quote that goes, I’ll only have you if you’re sweeter than my solitude. Hints at romance, but it doesn’t have to be. I’d say that these wya relationships are just as sweet as, if not more than, solitude.
“you know what i thought of the other day?
our childhoods are for our parents
they remember our first steps
they remember what we liked and what we didn’t like
they remember what we ate, what we didn’t eat
they’re their memories to have,
not oursas you grow older
your life becomes yours
but when we were younger
it was once theirs.”
– april 23rd, 2015 | 4:08 pm
Something my best friend said to me a few years ago.
Psychedelic Poise, a watercolor portrait time-lapse
when the lights gazed down
for our attention and petals fell
rain-streaked you tied a ribbon around my
waist before we sank in a sea of swimming bodies
streaks of sunrise flushed
in our cheeks
Lately I’ve been having these little moments where I’m just suddenly really happy for the relationships in my life. For the friends, family, best friends, s/o (Oh, s/o sounds so formal. Boyfriend.) Whether it was last night as we were reuniting over Mediterranean American and sweet rosé, thin fries and gin & tonic, or today, while we were curled up on the couch, eyes glued to the screen, feeling ambivalent for Eleven in Stranger Things, (leave! Hawkins needs you) munching on take-out Indian.
Sometimes over half-eaten shrimp you’ll take about God. Or over savory soup dumplings you’ll talk about your family. Or, late at night, you’ll toss and turn over strange ballooning hypotheticals that seem, in the mental fatigue and subconscious lair, daunting, terrifying, unbearable. Amid the this’s and that’s, I believe in the buffer hypothesis, that the people in our lives keep us sane and happy and from going sad-stressed-loony. I feel warm, content, okay.