Dangerous Compassions

feelings of humans and kittens, true love, what’s real

My mom and I were driving by the Orthodox church where Ming was visiting for a service and coffee hour.  He wanted to see the icons, since he paints them now.

As Mom and I passed by, my heart ached a little because I wished I could stop by and say hi.  I realized I still have a crush on Ming.

Not sure what a crush is, but I think it’s that.  I’m in love with him also.  Being in love seems like something to base your life on, while a crush is an excited feeling that can pass.

The other day I was thinking that being in love is the crush feeling combined with something more centered and more of a mature decisiony profound connected contentedness with someone.   What do you think?  Not sure what it is.  A heart-connection, a sacred trustworthy happy bond that feels important and will hopefully last.

But I know it can change into other things, other kinds of love.  There’s also the idea that you could think you were in love and decide afterward it was all false.  You were under a spell because everything wasn’t what you thought it was–the feelings were not based on reality.

When I visited my best friend, we watched her baby play.  She asked, “Is there anything special you wanted to talk about?”

I said, “Yeah, I’ve been wondering lately–what is the self?  Kind of a teenager question, maybe…”  I remember being a teenager, long ago, wrestling with questions like that all the time.

My best therapist told me there is no self–she was some kind of Buddhist.  I experience a self, though. 

I was wondering if my feelings during an extreme state were real.  What’s a real feeling, anyway?  What’s a feeling at all? 

My bestie said all feelings are real–it’s just a matter of what to do with them, whether to use them to guide behavior.  I’m not sure I agree.  I could have a feeling and realize afterward how off-base I had been, and if I was out of my mind, I want to dismiss the feeling.

Growing up I heard a lot of “it’s not him–it’s the alcohol” and “but I know the real him.”  I got in my head the idea that there are real selves and false selves, as well as stuff about responsibility that I don’t agree with but heard a lot.

I remember in the third or fourth grade, sitting in class, thinking how my self felt like a glowing ember inside me.  Deep in my chest, glowing red, untouchable and beautiful and good.  Nothing could change it.  I’ve felt that for a long time.

Ming says the self may be all we see, think, do, experience.   I said that stuff can be random and incidental–the self is way more meaningful.

Today we leave the undisclosed location and head north to other lands.

There have been times in my life when I needed a small world to keep me safe.  On campus at UCSB, I didn’t walk around everywhere–the few places I went were enough.  College of Creative Studies, the secret smoking spot nearby, the art building where I liked to eat my lunch, the little store in the UCen where I bought candy.  The bus circle–a path from the bus circle to the College of Creative Studies.  Huge part of campus, I never visited. 

My bestie had an art symposium she went to for a while, which was on the other side of campus near the eternal flame.  It was good to go there.  It was like every place I went was so important to me, and I could only let so much in.

Nowadays, the world is much bigger.  I need a big world for my mind to gather what it needs, the ideas and newness–people, food, experiences, so much life to fuel the connections I make and what I write.

Gatito is crying–she wants out of my brother’s bedroom and tears at the carpet under the door with her sharp little claws.  She wants a big world with so much room to run and everything to attack, all the birds.

By Laura-Marie

Good at listening to the noise until it makes sense.

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