“I have known exactly how relationships would end, and I entered them anyway. The ego is always built into emotional undoing—to imagine myself as the one who will love someone into correction, even though I have never been loved so much that love alone undid the worst of me.”from Hanif Abdurraqib’s devastatingly beautiful essay in The Paris Review, On Breakups
Relationships are everything. Connection is everything.
“I remember as a small child seeing the geese flying south. Firefly season. A cicada that lived for a while in the cracks of the cement bricks that made up our porch wall. A flash flood sweeping cars away while we were huddled under an overhang on a picnic. Lightning felling a tree in our backyard. I guess I learned that everything will pass.
But also, and equally true, it will all come back again.”Karen Joy Fowler
Every week, S. and I have a call to talk about one thing, but we almost always begin with another. On Thursday, we began by discussing this incredible piece (The Crane Wife) in The Paris Review. There has been an undercurrent of thinking about the shapes we believe we have to take in order to invite love in; of how we make ourselves smaller, ask ourselves to need less in order to appear worthy of love.
The next day, I finished reading Deborah Levy’s The Cost of Living, in which the author reminds us: “To separate from love is to live a risk-free life. What’s the point of that sort of life?”
AK is always talking to me about maintaining my mountain pose, and he asks me if my stubborn patterns in building relationships (or stumbling on/upon them) feels to me like accidentally stepping to a different dance that I already know the steps to. Absolutely! I respond. You can always tell what someone’s home dance is, based on the habits their bodies hold onto as they learn a new one.
I take time to remind myself that almost nothing in life is linear. Not our outward portrayal of success, not our bodies and health, not love, not friendships, not the greenness of my four plants in the windowsill, not the rhythm and pace of sleep. We are who we are right now in order to become who we will be. Growth doesn’t always look or feel like growth, sometimes it’s underneath the soil, sometimes it’s within our leaves, sometimes all your leaves turn yellow and red and then brown, then drop to the ground in order for new life to grow again.
My sister and I grew in a womb together, and when I spend time with her I feel in awe at how little I know about her, and how much we have both changed. The way we regard (crave or don’t crave) touch from men, and the way we talk about love languages. She asked me to re-take the Myers Briggs test and we marveled at the disparity between us. But we still buy the same flavor of Pop Tarts.
In yoga class, J. implores us to love the transitions just as much, if not more, than arriving at the pose itself. S. and I contemplate water and earth. One shapes the other.
Brecht says: But love is like war; it always finds a way. Perhaps he originally said it the other way around, but still.
On a Tuesday, we are in Korea Town claiming that we’ll go in for “just one song.” JD, whom I am meeting for the first time, says that he never sings “just one song”- it’s either hours, or nothing at all. We get a room for 8 people and stay for 6 hours (I mean, Jia did it too), because it’s cathartic to sing with strangers you’ve just met alongside friends you’ve known for decades. I’ve always had the intuition when I meet someone: is this person for good, or for just now? Either way, karaoke has been a pretty good proxy. We accidentally sing from every Disney movie, shake it like a Polaroid picture, butcher Jay Chou songs, and twirl in the bouncing, ridiculous disco lights. The night deepens as B. serenades me with “Every Rose Has Its Thorns” while I am laughing, I am laughing so hard. “You’re so happy,” he croons, “why are you so happy?”
“I’m not, it’s just… it’s just all so true,” I gasp.
Afterwards, we put down the microphones and he two-steps slowly with me in a circle, in a hoop that never ends.
“When I have a thousand options, I actually have none at all.” — Michael Haneke
“There is really one city for everyone just as there is one major love,” she wrote. In her diaries, she expressed her joy of landing in bohemian Greenwich Village, “where all night long typewriters click, people sing in the streets, hurdy gurdies go all day and the laundry boy reads Turgenev.”
He said to me “Kid, of all the stupid things I ever did
You know, I let her go when I should have pulled her in”
And he handed me his cell phone
When I called you were on your plane
Moving back to Portland for the rain
“You only get one person knows you best
And it’s temporary everybody else.”
— Matt Nathanson, Bill Murray
You won’t fall but when you think about them, and for all the pleasure of being a little higher the tradeoff is your own absence from presence. You’re losing your own fealty to the ground. Which can’t be ignored. You lose your earth for your sky.
— Eileen Myles, Protect You Me (blogged in 2015)
even to the roughest surf there’s a rhythm findable,
which is why we keep coming here, to find it
until that’s how we like it. I’ll break your heart, break mine.
“Now New York seems like every little thing in it is beyond priceless, and nothing will ever be yours. That’s absolutely true, and you never will have the things that you helplessly crave—but also it has always been like that.”