Love and scandal are the best sweeteners of tea. —Henry Fielding

22 February 2004

Emotion in Discussion

As I am listening to a conversation yesterday, I realize that I become uncomfortable anytime this one girl begins to discuss something.  I think the reason for this is that everything that she discusses is so personal.  I begin to think about whether I want her to be less personal.  Should she be detached when she is discussing her life?  Is this what I want?  Do I want her to be able to discuss her own life without emotion?  Yes.  I do want that, but why?  Why does her own passion about her life need to go away for me to be comfortable in the conversation?  Am I emotionless when I discuss my life?  I guess I try to be.  Is this a good thing?  Or is it another example of me trying to distance myself from living a real, actual life?

What if it is just my own desire to follow by one of the Four Agreements: the one that says "Don't take anything personally."  This I try to do.  Am I upset because with her everything is personal?

What if sometimes the only way to get something accomplished is to take things personally?  Like in San Francisco.  I mean, if someone in my family doesn't support gay marriage rights, should I take that personally?

Toltec wisdom would say no.  Is it personal?  I want to say yes, but perhaps the Toltecs are right and to save my sanity I will say no.

I was thinking about Kushner a lot yesterday.  This conversation I refer to above was mainly about the abuse of women throughout history, and I kept thinking: how come nobody's mad?  It's like what Kushner says in Copious, Gigantic, and Sane:

I don't know why it is every woman isn't completely consumed all the time by debilitating rage.  I don't know why lesbians and gay men aren't all as twisted and wrecked inside as Roy Cohn was.  By means of what magic do people transform bitter centuries of enslavement and murder into Beauty and Grace?  One musn't take these miracles of perseverance for granted, nor rejoice in them too much, forgetting the oceans of spilled blood of all the millions who didn't make it, who succumbed.  But something, some joy in us, refuses death, makes us stand against the overt and insidious violence practiced upon us by death's minions.