A friend of mine has a new album, where he sings "I believe in limitless love."
I don't. Or do I? I believe in limitless emotion and most of it is silly, wrong, irrelevant. Do I believe in limitless love? Only if it's balanced: by limitless grief. I was going to put hate, but that is incorrect and wrongheaded. Anger is part of grief.
Attraction and repulsion. That is what runs the universe, from atoms to stars to galaxies. And people too.
So why is repulsion bad? We can't survive without it. If everything was attraction, an enormous love fest, the universe would collapse, one giant black hole.
But lizard, you say, love and attraction aren't the same thing.
I find I am pretty capable of loving all of my patients. Occasionally they behave so badly that I say that since they don't trust me, won't listen to me, are continuing down the path of self destruction, that they have to find a new physician. A thirty day letter. A new one that they might listen to, because they are not listening to me. Four in 19 years. It's way more often that they transfer care. Just had one the other day. A very difficult one. Got a call from the new office about an MRI. She had one eighteen months ago and neither I nor the rehab doc think she needs a new one. But.. she will get one. I did call the office back and asked that the new doctor please talk to me about this patient. Nope. And a new round of manipulation begins. Oh, well. I can't fix it. Offered warning refused.
It's not people that I don't love. It's behavior. There is behavior where I will end contact. Sometimes it takes me a while. I get interested. Is this person REALLY going to continue to treat me this way? Do they really think it's ok? What the hell are they thinking? Will they wake up?
Often the answer is no. I am trying to understand from their perspective. I think I clam up when I get interested and the person is behaving in a nasty way. I say very gently "I don't like that." Then I watch them. They keep doing or often get worse. Which is curious, don't you think? As if they want to be repulsed. Then they seem shocked when I shut them down. But from my perspective they are escalating until I shut them down. As if... as if attraction and intimacy is too scary and they need to run, they can't run, they don't want to end it, they want me to.
I hate being assigned roles. I was born in the early 1960s. I think I felt that the assigned gender roles and jobs were objectionable in kindergarten. I thought that I would not follow the rules and I would do what ever work I damn well wanted. Open the door or I will kick it down. When I am assigned a role in a relationship, I don't like it. I quiet down and study it. I refuse it and subvert it. I stand in the dark with the person's demons, allying myself with them.
I think as a species we have to learn to love the dark as well as the light. The dark in the universe and the dark in ourselves. It's all the same dark.
My daughter has discovered contra dance. "Mom. I love spinning." Oh, yes, dear, you have that from both parents, who met spinning. I sing Bridget O'Flynn to her:
"Where have been, where have you been, Bridget O'Flynn?
This is a fine time for you to come in!
Ye've been to see the big parade, the big parade me eye
Whoever heard of a parade that took so long in passing by?
Look at your shoes, look at your shoes, ain't it a sin?
Don't let your father catch you coming in!
And stay away from the dancing hall,
there's nobody there worthwhile at all,
that's where I met your father, Bridget. darling."
My daughter laughs and says, "The computer boys just stare at the screen."
She is on the women's honors computer track. I think she's right: only interacting with the screen is unbalanced. She is one of the three people running the sailing team, a club team. She rock climbs, swims, bikes. And now she's discovered dancing.
Better learn to balance and swing, dance and spin.
Without attraction and repulsion, we all die.
I think this album is his best yet.