Right: 365 self-portrait [I've lost count of what # I'm on]:
Nibble on Them Teeny Toes
Momo and her daughter gave me this Captain Kirk doll (from 1991), and mighty glad I was too; but part of me still boggles at my love for Jim.
What ever is this? I ask myself.
I'd talked about my serial loves with a friend who has them too--deep fascinations with a person, place, philosophy, or pursuit; fascinations which sometimes mystify. It feels as if they grab us and hold us--or we grab them-- until they're done with us; but it's not always clear, why this particular person or place or pursuit, of all things? Why am I in love with this idea?
My loves are like what physics says about energies in the universe: they're never lost, they just change form.
Even after the fuel has burned up, the heat dispersed, I don't stop loving, at least in part, anything I've ever loved:
my best friend, Helen McElroy, in fourth grade; horses in fifth grade; Star Trek; Bruce Springsteen; feminism; Cream of Wheat with raisins; Saint Augustine; the glass dome of the British Museum (an afternoon fling); book- and paper-making; etc. etc.
It more that my relationship with each waxes and wanes in intensity over time. When the energy is consumed, it cools.
Not only am I sometimes confused about what I love, other people are too.
Sometimes for frivolous reasons: A friend was once flummoxed when I told him I love maraschino cherries. (Not an intense passion, that.) This childish pleasure just didn't go with his image of me as an intellectual who, at that time, was studying Japanese. (Oh, right--add Japanese Literature to my list.)
Sometimes because the philosophies seem to clash: a feminist friend could not get her head around me joining the Catholic Church.
Eventually, my loves always make sense to me. There's a network of underground rivers connecting them all.
There's a river of searching: Bruce, feminism, and saints all refuse to settle for the status quo.
There's a river of paradox: a chewy raisin in smooth cereal is something like a court of natural light in the center of a venerable stone museum.
There's a river of intensity: horses, starship captains, and walking across Spain.
Some rivers crisscross or flow together too. This year, filmmaking is one giant aboveground river with many tributaries.
After we talked, my friend e-mailed me this quote from a book about the Myers-Briggs personality types, Personality Type: An Owner’s Manual by Lenore Thomson (pp. 231-232):
“INJs [meaning INFJs and INTJs, or introverted, intuitive, feeling, judging types, of which I am one]... often collect things that represent their sense of emergent meaning, even if they can’t explain why the objects matter to them.Yep. That's me.
"For example, an INTJ minister of my acquaintance collects carvings of the Green Man. The instinctual nature of this pagan image resonates with him but has no relationship with his current life structure.
"The INJ’s self experience nearly always embodies the unknown, a state of being that’s not yet embodied. Accordingly, where ISJs [introverted, sensory, judging types] maintain and enjoy their hobbies all their lives, INJs tend to lose interest when the fluid nature of unrealized meaning takes expressible shape and has meaning for others.
"One of my cousins, an INFJ, spent years following the career of an unknown character actor, mesmerized by what she saw in him but unable to explain the interest to anyone else. When he ultimately got a part in a popular TV show and won an Emmy, she felt vindicated but found that he no longer held the same fascination for her.”
Though I wouldn't say I lose interest if my loves take on meaning for others (that would exclude Kirk, for one); but there may be something idiosyncratic about them.
For instance, I sure found out that the reasons I love the Catholic Church weren't often shared by other people in the pews. I relished the mustang-like wildness of spirit in the religion's stories; but the church itself was more like a corral, and the workers like cowboys set on domesticating that wildness.
Really, I'm not all that baffled why I love Kirk. He embodies a whole bunch of energies I want to tap in myself. Confidence, probably most of all. To boldly go, without second-guessing yourself. To love what you love, and to be what you are, without apology. Also, he's so damn cute.
I am a little bit surprised, though, how long this love has lasted. Seems there's a lot of fuel in that tank, and many rivers to cross.