the moon now in aquarius. a swivel, fixed.
when i think aquarius i think of an expansion rooted deep in the ribs of this earth. i think of the water bearer, holding pouring. i forgot what i had wanted to say, but i know i want to say something.
there are many constant threads that i hold in my being, my body, my heart, my mind. dynamic equilibrium, something i found slipped from my mouth when i was speaking with A about libra. what does it mean to have such a concentrated sign in my chart? how does it translate? simultaneously i am existing in so many moments and timelines.
walking is an act of time traveling. a flash of green lit by sun becomes the chinese elm tree that L and i took naps under, before lunch, a concentrated somatic residual my heart tightens with desire for a split second. i feel its tension and it releases me gently. when i pay close attention to myself i am always remembering.
on his death anniversary i went to the park and ate chicken chop with mushroom sauce, with baked beans and fries. i didn’t register any resonances as i was eating it, its brown sauce familiar as when i was 11. it was only when i got up to walk over to the shade to lie down that my body froze. so subtly and quickly it was over in a minute. i know this because of the distance between the cafe and the tree. i know this because i didn’t stop walking, and by temporal convention it must have only been a minute. years knotted in that minute, and by writing i give it aeration. by writing it becomes concrete, processual, mutable. a burst of grief and tenderness. now that i recall that minute, perhaps also anger and indignance. a child refusing to understand violence.
yesterday during class we learnt about systemic therapy in the family context, how one shift necessarily shifts another, even if not immediately visible. the longitudinal nature of relationality, the short-sightedness we are prone towards. the lecturer brought up a case study to explain what a “double bind” is, how it rigidifies the family system and makes it difficult for change (necessary!) to occur. it felt good to see it concretised on a powerpoint slide.
let me just copy and paste what’s written on the slide:
There are 6 characteristics of a double bind:
1) The communication involves 2 or more people who have an important emotional relationship.
2) The pattern of communication is repeated, usually over a long time.
3) The communication involves a primary negative injunction. i.e., a command not to do something on threat of punishment.
4) The communication also involves a secondary abstract injunction, also under the threat of punishment, that contradicts the primary injunction.
5) A third negative injunction that both demands a response and prevents escape, effectively binding the recipient of the demand.
6) The recipient becomes conditioned to respond, and as a result, the entire sequence is no longer necessary to maintain the symptom.
this thread too, whatever i am digesting during this postgrad diploma, intermingles with whatever i am trying to do at home with my mother. and it swirls with how in my current job i see people desperate to break out of their double binds, long after they have left the situation that has seeded it. i recall this feeling well, the feeling of a wild animal caught in a snare. the feeling of wild blind rage. the feeling of wanting escape even if it means biting off my own limb. i can look at it now with curiosity and kindness, perhaps with a little sorrow, and that is because i found a way out. i was lucky, to be relatively unscathed, or at least, able to heal to an extent that allows me to be loving still. here i feel a rise of anger it shouldn’t be based upon luck.
all these swirls and swirling into desire, too, when i cleared my phone and looked through years 2016 – 2021. convergence and divergence, involution, of having multiple tabs open in my mind and holding everything in constancy. how that is my nature, how i have been since i was born, perhaps. is this libra? every gesture i make is layered with the pasts and futures, the potentialities and impossibilities. it feels whack when i type it out, but it really isn’t. i think of all the touches i have received and given, and how i learnt tenderness sof and steady from some, sharp edges from others, how i unlearn my body and relearn them in relation to others. i think of O, how she taught and led me to the deep well of visceral curiosity within me. i think of HT, his achingly careful and gentle ways, how his care seeps through every single breath. all these memories, i bring with me, i bring with me. for me and for the yous to come, for the yous already here.
i think of this poem that J shared with me, and i’ll leave you with it.
Other Lovers Matter
by Paul Theroux
Other lovers matter. She says so.
For peace I agree. Screens in my mind show
a table under trees in Sicily. Where was she?
At a table somewhere else, another meal.
In love it is impossible not to feel
the rehearsal of the past, when such
an unknown, encompassed in her touch,
trembles dim, then hard. She fixes her hat.
From the cover I think: who taught her that?
Someone watched her bathe, felt her breath;
she caressed her eyes and tapped his teeth;
I hear conversations, pauses. Who was he?
A casual word, a dropped name, a place;
she was there, she spoke desire to another face.
We drink against the past. Amnesia stays a wish.
The rub and mumble of memory. We are one flesh.