Wednesday, June 23, 2010

And all the Men and Women Merely Players

Sometimes, it's not the loss that causes the melancholy, it's the effort needed to rebuild.

There are things I thought I put away, not childish things in any form, but passionate ones. I played with little shadow versions of them, like puppet show passion plays. Those would/could/should be enough.

"Passion - Etymology: Middle English, from Anglo-French, from Late Latinpassion-, passio suffering, being acted upon, from Latin pati to suffer."

Isn't it funny how we've taken a word whose meaning is based on suffering and changed it into a kind of ecstatic frenzy - a euphemism for sexual love? A desire for more passion in our lives or our marriages takes on a whole different meaning when you bring it back to the root. Ultimately a possibly unhealthy meaning.

I was passionate about a boy once. When I look back on it, it seems like a derangement. Every moment was vibrant and alive with possibility, unpredictability, intese joy, intense sorrow. In the throes of passion doesn't mean the bedroom - it means all of the time you are controlled by this passion whatever it is, who ever it is based on. The connection to the suffering is real and immediate, everything else seems shallow and chalky and gray. Only the things related to what or who is the center of the passion seem real and bright. Everything is just something that leads you to the chance to surrender, to participate in that presence or action again. All the times you are not near or engaged are all the "moments before". The time of suffering while waiting to see what passion will bring. As poor fools in the throes of it all, we will call it many, many, things and we will try to use that word "passion" to make it fit those other, safer things.

But it will still be passion.

I got over the boy. If he even remembers me now he will remember our time together very differently than I do. Passion is a kind of insanity. You cannot build a life on it. Not the real kind where you don't die young, or end up stabbed 23 times by Senate.

Passion based on a person is by nature transient. The idea of suffering because I am not near someone if foreign to my understanding of love. When I am alone and I am loved, I am happy because I know my love for the other person is not based on proximity but security. I love them just as deeply two continents away, or two hemispheres away as I do when I am next to them, when we are entangled together. Distance is nothing to love. Love is like Damascus steel to me - tools we share, my beloved and I so that we can build and fight and defend to and craft together.

All of my beloved - family, lover, children - I am not passionate about them. The greeks who separated love: agape, eros, phillia, storge, they missed a word or category for this kind of love. Maybe "storge" but it didn't make it into a lot of literature, (possibly because it doesn't lead to tragic or comedic actions). But it is not passion.

I was passionate about an artform once. I had convinced myself that I could use the past tense. I could learn from it and chuckle with fond memories and traumatic ones and move on.

I am utterly and devastatingly wrong.

The tense is present tense. It's much stronger than a simple passion for a boy. Everyone knew it then. People who knew me later knew it still. People who know me now got glimpses when I played with the shadow versions. Then I stopped playing with those. Now the people in my life are blissfully ignorant of it. All was quiet on the passion front. Not the modern one with it's garish calls to buy things at Victoria's Secret or the pretty religious ones trying to create some form of agape with ritual and structure. Those puny passions are fine. I put aside the suffering. I became an audience ( for the first time?)

For those around me it was a good call. True Roman Stoicism for the good of the community and all that. There is a reason after all that they call it "suffering for one's art" and it is pretty obvious that great artists that could truly be brave for art or scientists (those monomaniacs of discovery) always had someone supporting them or no ties at all. But if you are the support - parent, breadwinner, wife - your art is best something to be dabbled with, shown proudly by offspring or spouse when visitors come to call. Art for Art's sake as long as it causes no one else any inconvenience.

And I believed that so completely that I didn't even realize I wasn't putting things together, I was breaking them apart. Or maybe breaking me apart.

So now - when I checked the recent damage of self and current competencies - all of the ways I used to take inventory and maintain and repair had failed. Not because they were bad systems, but because I had used them up. They were finite measures meant for specific or surface damage. They worked bravely and well for over a decade. They are simply the wrong tools. There to fix- like love, not to upset and destroy and recreate - like passion.

That's not enough. Love does not conquer all, it cannot heal by itself and sometimes you can't fix things unless you break them a bit first. Maybe I needed to break them alot.

And so with a long hard look at what was broken, I stood on a crossroad with a different devil on every choice. I blinked instead, and refused the road alone. I invited the devils to follow me but I needed to go back. Or down. Everything that was wrong - all the pieces damaged, and battered and missing - I thought I had learned them in other places, through life or jobs or school or relationships and simple survival. That was the mistake. I had learned them all in theater.

All of them. Every last one.


Now I'm awake. The question is what am I going to do about it?

There are four devils following me to school. Dionysus is laughing behind them because they don't realize they're pulling the chariot. I'm hoping that Minerva is travelling with him.

We'll try not burn or break too much.


Passion - Date: 13th century

1 often capitalized a : the sufferings of Christ between the night of the Last Supper and his death b : an oratorio based on a gospel narrative of the Passion
2 obsolete : suffering
3 : the state or capacity of being acted on by external agents or forces
4 a(1) : emotion (2) plural : the emotions as distinguished from reason b : intense, driving, or overmastering feeling or conviction c : an outbreak of anger
5 a : ardent affection : love b : a strong liking or desire for or devotion to some activity, object, or concept c : sexual desire d : an object of desire or deep interest

passion applies to an emotion that is deeply stirring or ungovernable passions.

No comments: