There was never a concrete moment when I knew my brain worked differently. I didn’t wake up one day and say, “Oh, now I see. My sensory involvement in the world is heightened and therefore leads me to a cognition with far reaching tentacles (don’t worry, I don’t really talk like that).” There were however many subtle shades of dawning.
In the summer before fifth grade I found Shakespeare and Jack London. I sat in the public library while my mom was at work, nestled into the bean bag chair with a stack of books at my feet, and tried to physically climb into the words. I put the books over my face after particularly jarring passages and willed them to melt into my brain. Looking back now, there is no way I could have understood even half of what I was reading, but I knew somehow the sentences were different and special. Even now, my eyes will widen and I will gasp with a luscious turn of phrase as if I have been struck.
As a church laden young adult, we had a few magical years where we joined an all black congregation. Our first hardcore Pentecostal church was a buffet for the senses. People danced in the aisles on Sunday, a choir of at least a hundred sang and stomped, the Pastor spoke in a rolling call and response, and there was color in the dance flags, the outfits, and every shade of black skin that were all so different than mine.
A few years ago I started talking to trees. This of course was after they completed round after round of rigorous flirting with me from all sides of my peripheral vision. I felt I had never seen so many greens before. The bark begged to be touched. I could smell them, both distinctly and as one, wherever I was.
Through all this, people thought I was cute or amusing when I dared to share. I very rarely mean to be adorable or quirky just so everyone knows (I’m too tall for adorable and I don’t consistently have the wardrobe to pull off quirky). I just wanted other people to be tempted into this world of wow, to sense that we are being flirted with by whatever we name our deity, that there are surprise trap doors that open into whole new worlds…and they are hiding right in plain view!!! In my world, every day is a fairly romantic tryst when I’m paying attention. In other words, living is sexy as fuck.
I found myself in this same dazzle space last night as I watched the dancers on the Mountain View Open Floor drop in to unrushed lusciousness. Did they know how freakin’ gorgeous they were?!?! I bubbled up in laughter with a thought that is not new to me: there is no human significant other that can beat this level of romance. But instead of hearing my usual response to that statement, something new opened:
“Why do they have to?”
Though I never realized it before, it seems RIDICULOUSLY unfair to ask any human being to bring love superior to all of nature and human goodness. And although I never did it on purpose, I do believe I have done it. I have missed having a significant other at many times in my life, and especially lately as a round of coupling sweeps through my friend group, but I am glad I get to see and start to absorb this truth first before asking yet another person to do what cannot be done. What if I and the universe remained “the best” at loving me? What if next time, a significant other doesn’t even compete at all, merely supports and is curious about this tremendous, sensual love affair? What if my romances were no longer so patriarchal, hierarchical? What if dating the universe was not a pathetic coping mechanism for loneliness as I have sometimes feared? What if dating the universe was an invitation to others instead of a ‘sorry, she’s taken’ sort of proposition? This new arrival in the truth department opens up a whole yummy stream of ‘what ifs’.
At the end of the day, I am not willing to give up the lusty eye of the universe on me, the unexpected joy surges that criss cross the usual, sending electrified bubbles into space. But guess what?? I don’t think anybody is asking me to. No one is saying I can’t have a cornucopia of loves, except me. And I’m going to start unsaying it…now.