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.
Anniversary. We’d gone out to a comedy show, watched two groups improv-battle it out over dinner and drinks. I remember the guac–partitioned from the salsa, of course– cheesy enchiladas, peering at his eyes, room erupting with peals of laughter, looking towards the stage to see funny girl #2 in pink toppling backwards. I felt buttery, warm, happy. The show was pretty good–the first group was a little awkward; the second group, phenomenal. Things might be funnier when you’re tipsy, but the second group was funny. A duo of pros oozing comic chemistry on-stage. Hilariousness in their own right.
i can almost taste the brittle cold dryness against the roof of your mouth as i follow the curve of your knuckles, blue rivulets in your veins
Lately, I’ve been reading love Mad Poems of Rumi. Ever since my English teacher said Rumi was a whirling Dervish who spat his poems stream-of-consciousness to followers who then hastily jot them down–well, I’ve had a hard time getting the imagery of a twirling man (arms spread, seized by love and/of language) out of my head. In these poems, he is consumed by love. Then I wonder if Rumi believed in soul mates and if he thought Shams was his.
you made flowers grow in my heart
and although they’re beautiful
i can’t breathe
Don’t you believe in a little magic? No, only neurobiological responses.
Only feel-good neurotransmitters spurting across synapse to neuron to whisper overused phrases outside
and under the stars
Only “electrical currents”. Only “Dante”. Only “the kind in museums” and “literary figures in the middle ages” preserved in oil and turpentine I stayed up last night to draw
a figure named Beatrice.
Art does all the immortalizing– not me, not you, not any of us.