Space Crone Sob Stories and Secret Shames

“Sally and Sara,” Milton Avery. 1947.

I wake with a Laurie Colwin quote flashing in my mind’s eye. I’m always smartest when I first wake up. My ego’s still out of the picture and I’m open to the divine intelligence that supports us even when we don’t support ourselves.

So the Laurie Colwin quote: “There’s a difference between privacy and dignity but they look the same.” I don’t even have to think about why that quote is showing up now. I’ve been totally sequestered, and that line explains why. In short, I’m ashamed, and it’s easier to stay out of everyone’s eye while I feel this way.

In general, I’ve never given a huge shit what people think of me. I wasn’t out of grade school before I realized everyone’s too busy worrying about how they are being judged to judge anyone else. By my 30s I stopped taking self-esteem cues from other’s interest if I didn’t reciprocate it; the futility of all that hope and will just made me sad.

But I don’t like people feeling sorry for me.

Sympathy to my mind is inherently distancing. Empathy I can bear; empathy is what I bear. But I don’t offer sympathy, ever, and I don’t appreciate being on the receiving end of it. Sympathy is just so condescending. It says: I see you in that hole and god knows I wouldn’t want to be in it so I feel bad that you are. Empathy says: I’m in that hole until you climb out, and I’ll love you no matter where you are. Continue Reading →

The Futures Are Now

Friday I had drinks with a friend, the father of two tweens. He told me that his natural urge to put a positive spin on things for them has been derailed by this cultural moment. “I can’t lie to my kids,” he said. “These are the worst times in our country since I’ve been alive.” I walked home and thought about whether I agreed. And I realized that our communications technology advanced before we did, and the results thus far have been both utopic and dystopic. We live in two countries. More than that, we now live in two futures.

Survival Instincts at Their Coziest

I wake from the river of a dream and buoy myself with the sweet structure of a Haydn piano sonata, the tidy spill of the many blues of my bedroom. Pad into the kitchen with hungry permakitten at my heels, settle back into bed with coffee and the novel I was reading before I fell asleep. Through my window it’s cool and still; Grace leaps and lands, so softly, on my feet, where she fastens her green gaze upon me. I put down my book so we may engage in our ritual exchange of blinks. I love you. I love you too. I flash on a quote by Freud, of all people: “The organism wishes to die only in its own fashion.” I, the organism, on its own terms on this quiet Saturday morning, freedom in its gentlest form. An elusive luxury for most humans through time, especially for women. I will take it gladly.

"All, everything I understand, I understand only because I love."
― Leo Tolstoy