January 5, 2017 (Thursday)

by Yule Heibel on January 4, 2018

Today during meditation (still on Relationships), the question (unbidden) arose in my mind, What is the difference between love and pride? Answers, if not the answer, may be obvious, but consider the question.

My focus was on E. I began to feel, as “squirrel mind” jumped around, that the feeling of love and ease was the same, in my heart, my gut, for both my children. And at the same time, that I felt a twinge of discomfort if I considered pride and thought to myself, “I’m proud of you” (which is what all North American parents are supposed to tell their children, typically on endless looping repeat) as I imagined expressing that feeling toward E. …But much less so when I imagined expressing it toward A. So that was the first thing that made me wonder about the difference between love and pride.

While I kept returning to the visualization of E., bathed in the radiant light of love, I also returned occasionally to this question of pride. And it had to do, somehow, with the matter (literally) of form. Camille Paglia is on to something with the skycult / earthcult dichotomy, and also (not her words exactly) the deep loathing at the base (literally) of our awareness of “muck” and un-form. The kouros (Greek boy) takes on the ideal form, and pride is his, if not exactly birthright, then certainly his endowment. His is the form, the outline, the absence of the extraneous. Nay, the absences (plural) of extraneousnesses (plural). Singular, the boy is simple. Pride is complex and comes to rest on the simple.

Love is complex yet exists simply. As a woman – as a wounded woman, a woman who was a child, a girl, an adolescent with a narcissistic and also depressed mother – my relationship to other women is fraught, perhaps complex. I know about the “muck” and its deficiencies viscerally, in my very embodiment. Anorexia, mon amour, the striving for perfect form, for control: all these things are attempts to control that duplicitous multiplicity, to grasp the simpleness of the kouros. Pride is like a sword that slashes madly at what we come from, cutting it to the simplest form of (perceived) perfection. It’s an illusion, as bodies change. Love is much more steadfast.

I had to think, too, of the transgender issue, faced already over ten years ago. In its less extreme form it’s perhaps best expressed in androgyny, which at least is something only the fashion industry got its mitts into, and not the medical and pharmaceutical industries, which stand to make a killing (pardon the pun). I was reminded that it’s currently an issue with the daughter of someone I know; let’s call her Jill. In the wake of her parents’ super-messy divorce, Jill, who is entering puberty, has taken to androgyny (and possibly transgenderism in future) and calling herself Jack. Which made me think of Gay Pride (Jill/Jack’s mother is flamboyantly pan-sexual, bi, polyamorous, and into all things grey, as in “50 Shades of…”). Why call it “pride” and not “love”? Made me wonder.

Anyway, I am proud of E., but I find it easier to feel that pride about A. – because my pride in E. evokes difficult feelings in me about myself. I’m not proud of myself. I’m confused. I’m lost. I have no idea how I got here or how I’m supposed to continue, except to continue. I try, vainly (I am vain), to be a kouros (all that yoga etc.), I feel a certain comfort in the life of the mind, but it’s the body – my femaleness? – I have trouble with. Poor Jill/Jack? Poor me, perhaps…

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