I love this quote, my favorite quote for a long time, about how we all need love. I was talking about it with Ming this morning, Christmas morning. It’s Oscar Wilde.
It is when we are wounded by our own hands, or by the hands of others, that love should come to cure us – else what use is love at all? — Oscar Wilde
I love this quote because a lot of people have a mentality of “This person is just trying to get attention,” about others who self-harm in obvious ways–they’re addicts, cut themselves, make choices that are judged poor choices. People who want to kill themselves can get un-helped specifically because “they’re just trying to get attention.”
People who are diagnosed borderline can be seen like that. Borderline is a diagnosis that feels rude and dismissive, to me. A psychiatrist doesn’t like you because you’re not docile enough, and they slap you with that diagnosis as punishment. “You have problems in your life, and they are not from racism, capitalism, trauma, or being abused since you were born–they are your own personal failing. Here, carry this diagnosis as a bad person too.”
A lot of diagnoses feel fake. You show up not doing well, and the powerful genie psychiatrist pulls a diagnosis or two out of his magic hat, based on your mood and his!
we all need love
This Wilde quote is about how we all need love. Rather than pushing away people who “just want attention” and make poor choices, maybe we could pull them closer.
There’s an idea that they need so much, it’s too much, and we would be overwhelmed. But maybe the people who overwhelm got so difficult from being pushed away. If we were kinder, maybe they wouldn’t become overwhelming.
We are all self-harmers, at some point in our lives–just a matter of how obviously, and to what degree. I have self-harmed smoking cigarettes, using a lumpy pillow, wearing clothes that didn’t feel comfortable to my body, staying in bad relationships and bad jobs out of fear…
Underwire in bras is self-harm, in my opinion. It definitely hurt my body. Wearing it, day in and day out, just because someone told me I needed to–what silliness! Watching bad tv as a kid, intentional weight loss diets of starvation long ago that destroyed my mood and enacted how I hated myself. Keeping my desk so messy, I lose projects under a paper pile.
love is for everyone
I feel grateful to Oscar Wilde for saying my favorite quote and helping me understand–love is not for the worthy who proved themselves good. Love is for everyone.
I can’t give love to everyone I know, in a deeply helpful way, but if we all took three people outside our family, to stick with and really be there for, maybe that would be a start. Correctly loving all the people isn’t possible, for me personally, but I can do something.
Peace on earth. Joy to the world! Love to addicts, cutters, people diagnosed borderline, queer heroes, originators, homeless people, and those seeking shelter who give birth in barns.
- असतो मा सद्गमय ।
- तमसो मा ज्योतिर्गमय ।
- मृत्योर्माऽमृतं गमय ॥
- asato mā sadgamaya,
- tamaso mā jyotirgamaya,
- mṛtyormā’mṛtaṃ gamaya.
- om, shanti, shanti, shanti.
Lead us from the unreal to the real.
Lead us from darkness to light.
Lead us from death to immortality.
Om–peace, peace, peace.