is miscommunication. Although perhaps that is always a danger, in any case. But what I mean to say is when I speak and you disagree, I know there is no respect in the trade-off. I have seen people around me clash in opinion, but I have also witnessed their conversation turn to laughter. What hurts is not the disagreement about style or message, but the fact of the years we spent together, closer than kin, sharper than a serpent’s tooth. Because with you there is no delight in the potential to grow even when we disagree as women. There is only your insistence on, well, you.
is also the irreducible happiness of being twenty-six. A select few will know this: I’d been told that to be twenty-six is to be sinfully young. I think that is true, although I have no idea perhaps, what it means to be sinful at all. And rather than dissect the term into black and white, good girl versus bad girl, I have come to the understanding that what becomes sinful to us, sometimes, are the joys we deprive ourselves of: because sometimes we think we don’t deserve them, have no time for them, or that such things are frivolities. And certainly those things exist, much like valid anxiety and priorities. But now that I am twenty-six I find that I am less worried about what might seem ridiculous to other people for as long as it makes me happy and causes no harm to others.
(A conversation with a colleague: how happy it is to spoil oneself during the semestral break! We were like two giddy children, telling each other what we planned to do once we got home. I confessed that lately I had started wondering if I was overdoing it, which is ridiculous. Because burning the midnight oil and paying for it with a body ready to fall sick at any moment, I would never tell myself, You’re overdoing it. How ridiculous, how strange!)
is the inhumanity behind positions of power: when someone is murdered and their humanity becomes secondary because of the wish to please the imperial master, when people are more disgusted at the prospect of two people loving each other despite race/distance/sexuality rather than the fragile ego of our leaders, when we refuse to acknowledge that state policies and international relations killed her as much as his hand did, we become complicit. We are the killers. We become ready to kill again and again. She dies, again and again.
is that the road seems to stretch forever: while I refuse, still, to measure myself against what others have gained I also learn impatience with the self. And how do I carefully balance that with self-discipline and care? There is, too, the material and substantive meaning of manuscript: that it exists not by mere power of will or thought, but by action. A memory now: a mentor laying down sheets of his manuscript on a long table, page by page: the way I plan lessons and understand poetry that I’ve no mind for. In that moment, when the cards are laid out and the tiles prepared for a palace, I see before me the material conditions of possibility.
What makes me happy these days:
The craft of Self, and the understanding that one grows in direct proportion to the relationships that one chooses to take care of and watch prosper.
Edit to Add: After all, some things are more important than happiness.