Friday, January 05, 2007

Word-choice nuances

What is the difference between childlike and childish, between impulsive and spontaneous, between sensual and sexual, nevermind sensual and sensuous? What is the difference between acceptance and passivity, between aggressive and assertive, between creative and inventive, between religious and spiritual, intelligent and intellectual?

And then there is love. In English we have just one word to use. Sure, we can add modifiers such as maternal, filial, erotic, romantic, and platonic to describe who we love or what love or how we love them -- but love is such a deep and yet broad-spectrum emotional state, how can we possibly find the words to describe how we feel, and if so, how can we be sure that the words we use mean to others what they mean to us?

I was asked by CW today how I felt about someone.
I said, " I love him."
He asked, "Could you be more specific?"
I said, "He's one of my dearest friends, the friend of my soul."
He said, "But he's your lover, too..."
I made a face at him. "Yes, sometimes, but that is not the focus of our relationship."
He said, "I know you say men and women can be friends, but then you break the rules by having sex with your friends. Isn't that confusing?"
I looked at him and smiled. "Sometimes."
"C'mon Kay, talk to me."
"What do you want to know that won't violate his privacy?"
"How can you be friends and lovers?"
"Look, its not romantic. There is none of that new relationship energy, none of that passionate 'oooh baby I want you' stuff. I love him. He loves me. Sometimes... sometimes being sexual is a natural extension of the intimacy and affection between us, a natural progression of sharing ourselves."
He thought about it. "If it is so natural, why doesn't it happen more often between friends?"
"That is a good question. I will answer it with a question: how often do you think friends want to make love to each other, but refrain?"
"I think quite a few. More than people would willingly admit... I know there are a few times I've been really curious."
"Ok. So..there is curiousity, and there is desire. And then there is trust and love and sharing. I've got friends that I would never have sex with--mainly because I'd worry one or both of us getting 'romantically' confused.... It happened to me a couple of times, and... well... I like to think I've learned enough from those experiences that I do not need to repeat them again."
"How do you decide then?"
"Which friends to sleep with and which ones not to..."

I swear, the groan I let out came all the way from my hara. Why is it that so much boils down to sex? I don't get it. I will never get it. Sex itself is an act we are programmed to desire to repeat as often as possible, partly for reproductive purposes, and partly for pleasure. It alleviates a need, like any other, like eating alleviates hunger and pissing alleviates a full bladder. And yet, sex, with love, can be so much more. It is a gateway to the spiritual, I find, and that is what gives it significance beyond reproductive and pleasure drives.

"Its more a matter of spontaneity. If, in the moment, it feels right, and there are no reservations, I act on it," I tried to tell him.
He looked surprised. "You're not the impulsive type."
"Ah, but there is a difference between spontaneity and impulse. Impulses are internally motivated, often subconsciously. Impulsive is going shopping when one does not have the need or the funds. Spontaneity is responding naturally and appropriately to the present moment."

And so we went round and round about nuances and verbage and his insistence that I need to remember that though I may choose my words to express exactly what I mean, that those hearing me are catching the words through their own emotional filters, adding their own nuances. Since I've been told the same by others, I suppose I should give this point more thought. It doesn't help my efforts to communicate if other's are not understanding what I mean.

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Blogger kujmous said...

WV license plate: ILUVEWE

8:54 PM, January 05, 2007  

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