In the play “No Exit,” Jean Paul Satre defines hell as other people. The humans in our lives that we experience, ingest, digest, expel, and regurgitate; the beings who contain you, surround you, envelope you, can propel you into your own personal inferno. Each and every individual you let into your heart has the capacity to make your existence a blistering blaze of despair.
The more you love, the more vulnerable you are. The more you expose yourself, the easier it is to crush you. Our communal instincts have spawned such a raw, unavoidable dependency on others. Everything we do is in reaction to someone. Everything we think is originated by conditioning, socialization, rebellion, or a desire to be accepted. Everything we feel is in relationship to how others feel about us. We can’t exist in a vacuum because even then, even if you isolated yourself completely from all contact, the people of your past will plague forever your dreams.
In order to bathe in the beauty of how relationships can feel like an ecstatic wave crashing endlessly against your skin, we have to sacrifice the potential of drowning in ugliness. The unavoidable human foils that will eventually leak into every dynamic, polluting the purity of potential that maybe there is a person in the world who will never hurt you; that you can have one meaningful, intimate, eternal relationship that doesn’t reek of drama.
You get me?
People can drive you fucking nuts. Even when you love them more than words on paper could ever articulate. They are going to piss you off, challenge you, disappoint you… It is inevitable. The only way to deal is to remember that you do the same to them. It is all part of the dance.
So here are a few examples of how The Munch, my little angel, reminds me that although she is my heaven on earth, she has a little fire to her as well.
1) Asks me to make her the most complicated meal involving rice, granola, plums, peanut butter, cheese, kale, tomatoes, sugar, and salt, and then says the is not hungry.
2) Insists that I carry her even though she initially made me bring a stroller for her to sit in… so I have to then hold her, and push an empty stroller.
3) Tells me “No Mamma hiccup!” Every time I have the hiccups.
4) When we are driving somewhere and Munch is in her car seat she will drop whatever toy is in her hand, freak out until I have to pull over to find it, then the second I start driving she drops it again, only to cry because I won’t pull over for the second time, then talks incessantly about “needing” to hold the key that is in the ignition powering the car, and then somehow wiggles her arms out of the car seat strap so I have to pull over and fix her stupid arms so she is safe, and then find her damn toy.