Yesterday morning I had chocolate and churros with my dear friend Marilo. Marilo is yet another of my beautiful friends, not only for her rare physical beauty, but for her even rarer combination of qualities. She is a profound thinker, but loves to laugh at herself. She has a highly sensitive artist’s mind that also contains whopping good sense. She goes on these marvelous flights of fancy and yet always maintains her feet planted squarely on the ground. Whenever I spend time with her, I come away wanting to write down everything she said, but also how she said it. I would not be at all surprised to see Marilo turn up some day in an artist’s biography as his muse.
Marilo thinks she and I are a lot alike, which is of course very flattering to me. I like to secretly (or not-so-secretly now) give myself airs that I’m just like Marilo. Although I know she is actually referring to something specific we have in common. We are both highly sensitive and easily hurt, and yet we can’t seem to help laying ourselves bare to people, open and vulnerable to whoever wants to come by and pinch us. When we get together, a lot of our talk is about how to deal with the inevitable pain this causes. Of course I’ve talked with her about Stoicism and how it’s helped me.
Like me, Marilo divorced after being married many years, about three or four years before I did. She has helped me tremendously in navigating single life. Yesterday she told me that she thinks I’m doing very well, and now is the best she has ever seen me. I went through the rest of the day with a big smile on my face. I probably looked simple minded.
Yesterday we talked about several things we’ve learned in the past couple years. One is about who to spend time with, and who not to. Marilo said that sometimes she has had a friend that maybe she has a good time with, but then when she gets home after spending time with that person, she starts to feel bad inside. Maybe she starts to feel small or insignificant, maybe negative or frustrated. The same thing has happened to me and it can be hard to identify exactly what the problem is. Now that I have more experience, I can usually figure it out. Sometimes it has been a problem within me, for example, that I’m letting my insecurities get the better of me. However, sometimes it’s the other person who is maybe too fearful or negative and I’m absorbing it. In any case, if their demons don’t play well with my demons, it’s best to find someone else to spend time with.
Another wise thing Marilo said yesterday was an off-hand reference she made to a former friend. She said, “You know, she was one of those people who pass through your life after you divorce and you’re looking for new friends. They teach you something and then they leave. It’s good that they appear in your life, and it’s just as good that they disappear.” I thought this was a wonderful way to view such people who sometimes leave an oily residue behind. People who’s principle purpose was to teach you how NOT to be. Later, she even came up with a cool name for them: bridge people. I love it! Isn’t it great? It only encourages you to keep meeting people, keep trying, without attaching too much importance to what doesn’t work out.
Marilo later posted this quote by Marta Zubiría to my Facebook: Hay personas que pasan por delante, pero no por dentro. There are people who pass by in front, but don’t get inside. It sounds better in Spanish.
There are people who don’t get inside us and people who shouldn’t get inside us.
A Mormon belief that I continue to hold dear is the idea that our bodies are temples. I do believe in that connection between spirit and body, that what is good for one is good for the other. For example, I know that what I eat effects me emotionally. I know that emotional distress can make me physically ill. I also know that there is no way to be physically intimate with someone without absorbing some of their energy. People will tell you that it’s just sex, it doesn’t really matter, it only effects you emotionally if you let it, that society imposes erroneous ideas about sex and if we all just went around humping naturally like animals do, the world would be a better place. Those are the excuses people make when they are either, 1) trying to convince you to have sex or, 2) attempting to justify their lack of criteria and self control.
Condoms can protect you against some STDs, but as far as I know, there is no spiritual condom. If you are being intimate with someone who has significant emotional problems, you are going to catch that just like you would syphilis.