Wednesday, April 2, 2008

I don't want you to feel ... X

I don't want you to feel guilty about
I don't want you to feel sad about
I don't want you to feel angry about
I don't want you to worry about
I don't want you to feel sorry for

These are (generally) well-intentioned sentiments, and I do not want to denigrate those good intentions.

But it doesn't really matter, does it? We really are blind, aren't we? Feeling around in the dark, denied access to everyone else's thoughts, feelings, meanings and intentions. How silly we are when we say "please don't feel/think X." As though our saying so could prevent or remove the feeling. As though we could actually intentionally change another person's perspective.

When 'you' say: please don't think that I think X about you, do you see what you're doing? No.
Ok. When I say: please don't think that I think X about you, I am acknowledging the possibility for you to think that I think X. By so saying, I have, actually, already thought X. But I don't like X and I see the harmfulness of X and so I don't want you to think I've thought X because if you thought I thought X then you would be hurt and you also might think less of me or love me a little less or ...

When I ask you to not feel a certain way, I acknowledge its possibility while refusing to accept what I admittedly think would be a reasonable response were X the case.

If I ask you to not think of me that I think of you in a way in which I don't think you want to be thought, could it possibly be true that I am actually revealing more of my own insecurities about what you think of me? I say: please don't think I'm angry with you. But am I not perhaps meaning: please don't be angry with me?

How foolish to ask people to not think things, as though the asking doesn't require the one to think the very thing you don't want her to think.

So when I worry that perhaps you will think X of me, or that you will feel Y toward me, perhaps I will do better to examine the ways in which you occasion a way of worrying about myself that I can only understand when I see myself in you. When I worry that you will think X about me, it may be more true that I worry that you will see X in me. When I worried that my lover was not making sufficient progress toward his degree, that worry had nothing to do with him. I saw myself in him reflected back to me and worried about myself through him and then mistakenly projected that worry and irritation onto him.

When I worry that, for example, you will think I'm selfish, I might be more honest if I said instead "I worry that I will find that I am selfish when I see myself reflected back to myself in you"

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