Me at an ‘Asian garden’, October 2023
The waves of emotion come and go and the greatest people are the ones who can hold you steady through them. There’s a rule: “I freak out, you hold me. You freak out, I hold you”. If both people freak out then we’re really in trouble. A lot of fights in my life have happened because of this mutual freaking out. The fighting back and forth and the ego revenge.
I think for the most part people do not want to cause each other harm and when someone you love seems to be attacking you, it’s often from a place of fear. Ask what the fear is. What are you scared of? What are you concerned about? What do you fear may happen? We seek to control to prevent pain but let’s look at the supposed pain together and speak about it.
I realised that I can use this way of thinking to neutralise any meanness that may come out of my mind and mouth. I can start with my fears, I can lead with my vulnerabilities. The judgement, the ordering, the questioning is the outcome of a process that starts with a fear which evolves and sharpens into a weapon. The sharpened words are almost impossible to understand because no one has been with you in the dark of the forge. Bring them there. Show them why you would say such things. Look at the fear together.
The biggest part of dealing with people is dealing with yourself. I think if one is able to be stable and treat themselves with love then it comes naturally out to others. I think of my best friend and how straight and true he is. I can always call him when I’m in a rut and I can throw all my insecurities up against the wall and he has both the emotional and rational intelligence to help me untangle it. The beautiful thing is that we can do it for each other. I have been there in many a crisis for him too and the point is that one has to be stable.
Alain de Botton said something about how being a parent is being a great actor. It is good and right for a child to not know of the sorrows of the world. In order for them to grow in peace, they must exist in peace whether real or manufactured. We forget sometimes that we too are children and that creating this elaborate maybe fake peace is what is necessary for a healing. Yes, spas seem a bit dumb or playing a distractive role may seem futile but for that child within us, for that moment, that’s maybe what we need.
I wrote more about here in my essay on emotional first aid: https://www.timothylim.is/emotional-first-aid.
Let us be great actors for each other sometimes.
These days I’m also thinking about the idea of having kids. How life could be, could be different. What doors open up? I think the thing that excites me the most about not having kids is the ability to maybe escape a capitalist cycle. To break free of having to work for money and instead work for pleasure. Kids are a cope in some ways, a beautiful cope because they make maybe the most menial things meaningful. If I had to drive a bus and deal with shitty passengers and breathe in diesel (diesel has ‘die’ in it) I would probably kill myself. But when there’s a kid on the other side, that’s special. I think of my friend in Portugal with her little dogs. I think of the love she gives and gets from them. I think of parents whose kids hate them who never visit. Maybe I should visit me. Is it worth it. I don’t know. Maybe the decision has already been made for me and the thing to do is to live it.
The thing is, I don’t think of a kid and feel excitement. Maybe I haven’t been around kids enough. I do love them, I love talking to them and seeing how they think about things. I’m good with kids because I treat them like short adults. They’re really smart, they just require more attention. I take that back, adults require more attention because there’s a lot of ego to massage.
I wonder how to build friends and relations that can sustain me in a childfree life. Maybe I already have them. I think sometimes what it must feel like to hold a baby as it falls asleep on your chest much like I did on my father’s. So small and precious.