I tend to want to organize feelings like I do thoughts, to experience each one in its own individual fullness. But that's not how feelings present. You have to allow yourself to feel different things simultaneously; they're mixed bags of things. You might feel joyful, but the thing bringing joy might also petrify you. Or excitement can be coupled with unsettling agitation. Disappointment can be coupled with relief, occasionally. Sadness can be accompanied by something strangely resembling elation, freedom. And these are the stronger feelings; then there's also the everyday bob and weave of pensiveness and longing and milder worry and plain happiness and warmth.

The thing is if you don't admit the muddy complexity of feelings - that there is no way to experience the Platonic ideal of a feeling at full strength - then you'll absolutely never enjoy them. You'll never enjoy joy because you'll be so bent out of shape by the aspects of whatever it is that make you nervous or insecure. Trying to experience unmuddied emotions is like trying to plan the perfect wedding day (I imagine). And it will all pass you by and you'll wonder why you never felt that feeling you were supposed to.

Feelings don't really run pure in our veins. They fight and spar each other or quietly stand off at opposite sides of the room. And it can all become very confusing. So don't try to work it out. But don't let that get in your way of feeling it, the joy or sorrow or whatever it is. Because pure moments - if they even exist - are rare and startling visitations, emotional equivalents of ah-ha moments of perfect and sudden intellectual clarity. And holding out for them is a fool's errand.

Some links you might enjoy:
  • "when an observer doesn’t immediately turn what his senses convey to him into language, into the vocabulary and syntactical framework we all employ when trying to define our experiences, there’s a much greater opportunity for minor details, which might at first seem unimportant, to remain alive in the foreground of an impression, where, later, they might deepen the meaning of an experience." The Invitation
  • "If you live long enough in the country, you become like a god: you can predict everything before it happens"
  • Along with Francesca Woodman, one of my favourite photographers
  • "They would stand in the surf and wave babies in pastel rompers over the whale, as if to catch the drift of an evaporating myth." Beautiful writing: Whale fall
  • This made me laugh, though I don't really get mad about blog stuff/stupidity any more and it seems so silly that I once did, because it is all - well - silly

Happy weekend!
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