In other (people’s) words…

-the Alain de Botton edition

People only get really interesting when they start to rattle the bars of their cages.

I’m sorting through a lot right now, and when sorting, it’s sometimes hard to find my own words, my own understanding of what’s going on.  So I look to others – people who have been there like philosophers, poets, musicians able to touch the ephemeral as well as the everlasting.  When I first had the idea for this post, because my own words weren’t really getting me anywhere, I had planned to post a bunch of quotes from different people.  But the one quote that pushed me here, which I’m still trying to find again, was by (I think) Alain de Botton.  As I use my google-fu to try and find it again, I’ve come across a whole bunch of quotes of his that fit where I am right now.

The difference between hope and despair is a different way of telling stories from the same facts.

Seriously.  Another version of this is “man can alter his life by altering his thinking.” (William James)  I’m in the process of altering my thinking on a lot of things.  Actively trying to shift your thinking from one of loss and scarcity to one of abundance and love takes more energy than I remember.  Of course, it could also be that I have a divorce that I haven’t fully dealt with emotionally, too.

To be shown love is to feel ourselves the object of concern: our presence is noted, our name is registered, our views are listened to, our failings are treated with indulgence and our needs are ministered to. And under such care, we flourish.

This encompasses one of the most amazing things about being loved.  We are seen and tended to by another person or other people.  With such care and devotion, we do, indeed, flourish.  I’ve hit many highs and many wonderful places recently when accepting love shown to me.  The key, though, to making this quote work is that one should know what one’s needs -are-.  It may seem basic and something people just grok about themselves, but especially when you get polyamory in the mix, needs become both more important to know and also more difficult to know.  That makes for what sometimes can feel like a fucked up exercise in futility.  And it’s sometimes too easy to slip into the “if s/he really -knew- me, they’d know what I wanted/was okay with/wasn’t okay with/didn’t want.”  Which is just a recipe for disaster.  Yes, I fully believe that love carries with it a certain intuition that comes with being intimately connected.  BUT.  That only goes so far and in my experience only works well when straightforward methods of communication are also working well.  THAT means that you have to be willing and able to talk to you partner(s) and also yourself about what you need, what bothers you, what you like, what you want.  Which brings me to the next resonant quote…

Never too late to learn some embarrassingly basic, stupidly obvious things about oneself.

Yeah.  Yeeaaaaaahhh.  To elaborate on this point, an excerpt from Tristan Taormino’s book “Opening Up”

“[he] gives her the one thing she needs most, which until she met him, she believed could only come with monogamy: ‘My partner is very aware that I need to feel that I’m special to him, and he’s great at letting me know that he loves me and wants me.'”

It may sounds stupid basic, but I need to feel special.  I think it’s a very human thing, and I know when I don’t…when I feel disposable or ignored, that’s when I start feeling insecure and scared.  What I need to figure out is what consistent, concrete things help make me feel special, cared for, loved.  Some that I thought were a given aren’t so much any more and I’m discovering surprising little things that help make me feel very strong, safe, and secure.

Intimacy is the capacity to be rather weird with someone – and finding that that’s ok with them.

And that connection, that intimacy is what I -live- for.

Perhaps it is true that we do not really exist until there is someone there to see us existing, we cannot properly speak until there is someone who can understand what we are saying in essence, we are not wholly alive until we are loved.

This is, in essence, what I’m looking for.  From the “it take s a village…” mentality of familial and friend love to the fiery explosions of romantic love, at it’s core, love is the most important thing to me.  It means more to me than music, which is saying something.  However, it’s nice when music and love come together perfectly.  In closing, a word from my favorite musical of all time.

To love another person is to see the face of God.

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