Tuesday, July 09, 2013

Advice from Sheila Heti

This extraordinary message is from Miranda July's project We Think Alone, which has just released its second round of emails. 


From: Sheila Heti
Date: Wed, Jul 29, 2009 at 1:54 PM
Subject: Re: fridge
To: Kathryn Borel

sprinkles the wonderhorse is the best thing you've ever called me.

i haven't read the piece yet -- i'm sorry. moving around, writing,  self-involved. now in the motel.

i wish i had words of advice about S. i have been thinking about M (and N!) excessively for the past week. how exhausting. i know just how you feel. these are the things i have been thinking / doing to calm myself down. here is my wisdom so far.

1. why am i so anxious? i've been feeling like half a soul without a man. so i'm realising that maybe who i want to meet is actually myself, and not some guy. this has been a pretty relaxing realisation. i sort of see my face in front of me (not as in a mirror, but in a soul or metaphysical way) and it cheers me up. i am not alone. i don't need anyone.

2. loving someone means loving their ugliness. if you do not love also what's worst in them, you do not really love them. it's hard in a new relationship because every bit of ugliness is a surprise; but these are the parts that must be loved. or else it's not love. it's icon-worship or something like that.

3. i sort of feel exhausted; like i have had so many years of relationship anxiety. i want to be on the road for six months, going from place to place and developing no attachments and forgetting all the boys that didn't work out.

4. what do you really *feel*? do you really want or need him?

5. are you staying in it to be a *better person*? you are a good enough person. i learned from my marriage (and from watching mark with michelle) that remaining in a relationship to make yourself a better person usually makes you a more odious person; it also can't hold up very long.

I met an amazing choreographer at Yaddo -- an 80 year old woman; Sally Gross. From NY. She told me that I was young. That there was enough time in my life for everything; being alone, being with women, with difficult men, with not-difficult men.

This was soothing. There's enough time in my life for everything.

But I don't know what you are finding so hard about S; is it the distance mingled with you losing respect for him cause he's not a good writer? If you can't find a way to love that about him, then maybe he's not the person for you to love right now. But why twist yourself up into knots about it? You are a curious person, you get excited about people easily (as I do), and you're desirable, sexy and beautiful. There will always be men who want you, which means that you have to call time out when you're not ready.

Of course, it could be the book that's getting you down and you're taking it out on S.

My head is not so clear that I can give you any good advice. I always am temperamentally in favour of breaking up, but intellectually in favour of the rigours of going on. Who knows? It doesn't seem like an easy situation, what with the distance, and if the distance is not going to end within the next two years, it's hard to see why it's so necessary or worthwhile. It happens all the time, doesn't it, that people meet, but they don't live in the same place, so it doesn't work out.

Do you, deep in your heart, feel like he is absolutely so special that these two years of distance are worth it? Or is he simply another amazing guy, of whom you can say, It's really too bad we didn't live in the same place so we could see what a relationship would have been like.

The only thing I can advise is to be a bit easier on yourself. It is not a moral failing not to continue a romance with a man who you knew for two weeks, who lives across the world from you. Unless one of you can move, it seems like a terrible strain.

Another piece of advice: Don't make any decisions when you are overly emotional. Like, don't break up with him in the midst of this feeling. Wait until you have some equanimity, or you may regret any actions you take as impetuous.

Try to ride this panic out. You don't have to decide anything. You're not going to miss anything -- the man of your dreams, etc -- by delaying thinking about it in the midst of your book turmoil.


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