Berlin, 3am, I’m stood waiting on a bitterly cold train platform. I had just read something that moved me and I didn’t know it yet, but I was lost. Sometimes even when we put something to bed we can’t help but start pulling at those fraying edges, if only to see how far we can unravel that thread again.
To stop writing felt necessary because whatever I wrote always became a note on love and I was exhausted. I remain unsure what I mean by love, I’m still slowly un-peeling all the layers of illusion and banality that our culture coats over it. But if anything it feels like a resistance to cynicism, a resistance to boundaries and boxes. So in many ways what I describe as love is very opposed to the modern conception of it. For me, it’s a destablising force not a moderate or conventional one; it gives space to think about what it might mean to be dispossessed, non-sovereign, to lose one’s composure.
Though sometimes (like LB) I feel disassociated from all my loves. It can feel safer than navigating that leap into uncertainty, not knowing if you can contain that space of difference that exists in between. That’s why love is never too far from hope, a little shortsightedness comes in handy, and besides love greedily gobbles all that rational long-term thinking. If you manage to feel love and stay grounded (without the use of some stabilizing practice) you might be doing it wrong. The newly in love couple are selfish and introverted, the world closes in but we think we’re expanding. Disassociation comes about because the stakes are raised too high. And even if I really don’t want you to be everything to me I can’t help but enjoy the reflection of the image you have of me.
I watched a dumb film about a girl who after turning 29 gets engaged to her long-term boyfriend before he freaks out and has a change of heart. She then faces the ‘monumental’ task of being single for the first time in her adult life, ‘worst of all’ in her late twenties. “Have you thought about freezing your eggs?”, her mother asks. In the end she decides to concentrate on her PhD studies, go to yoga class. The ex-fiance comes to her at the end, “I want to give it another a go” he says, apologizing. I was throwing my chocolates at the screen. “I need time to focus on me”, she replies.
What happens when we reject the objects we are supposed to desire? The dumb film felt like a mini-symposium on bad timing. How a relationship dies or flourishes depending on whether you find yourself aligned together within the right window of time. A woman freezing her eggs is a perfect example of how we stretch the possibilities – I’m just not ready right now to commit, so can we pause this and do it five years later? I can’t help but feel these are just the measures we take to suppress the sense that we know that we are always already dispossessed, made un-sovereign, by love and all the other wearing features of what it means to live the ‘good life’.
I keep having the same conversation in different contexts: Why is this modern (city) life so wearing? Why is the act of working for a living also the means of being worn out by it? Where does value lie, and how can we fill our lives with a purpose that feels meaningful? And the subtext: what room is there for difference? What does it mean to connect with others? What is happening in this space between us?
I’m reading a book that discusses how yogis used to be understood as people that could transfer their soul into another living being. What might happen if we applied that to our relations with others, where commitment becomes a process of losing the self, a means of dissolving. We might then start to see getting lost not as a bad choice but as an important rite of passage in discovering just how far inside us those lines of desire reach to.