Everything’s coming up you, robots

You cannot schedule joy. When you do, it will inevitably be deferred by grief all the worse for what it supplanted. Joy has to come to you; you have to be open to its experience at the time it chooses, and while it may elude categorization or expression.

Over the years, I’ve recast those words from specious celebration to epilogue of the moment and back again.

I’ve been bravely optimistic in talking about building before, eager to declare that I’d broken old patterns. Breakthroughs aren’t so easily won. Evolution and movement, though, are things I’ve worked hard towards. There have been small successes here and there, and the occasional grand, unprecedented, unsurpassable elation that we call a blessing. As the years have piled on I’ve taken more care, often to a fault.

Sometimes I’ve let go almost with force. Polarities of obsession.

We can’t escape gaze, whether that of a cultural fetishism or of a possessive lover. Our fears about the other, whether cultural or intimate, are often simply fears about ourselves amplified.

When a relationship is based on needs, those needs will never be met. The best of what I have now with Nina is all about the people; about where they meet as equals, not competitors or providers. It initially was a more insular relationship than any I’ve been in, but when we got there we couldn’t help but turn to the world and say it was ours now. There’s been lots of room for the kind of physical closeness–uncharged, relaxed, protected–that leads to real emotional intimacy.

Rejection is something you can project out of yourself back through the other. Seen it from both sides, it’s draining. So much energy gets put into making things fit when they don’t. But that is part of the work, I guess. There’s always more work to do but it gets easier.

I’m an extremely sensitive person. Decades of performance in white culture have taught me how to hide slights and thus project strength, yet all the while intensifying the (over) sensitivity. Absorbing the bullshit though not totally detoxifying it. I feel some days like I can read people long distance without any contact, and some days that just seems like what it is: projection.

In turn, I’ve gravitated to/attracted people who are in ways even more sensitive than me, overly steeped in the traumas we all live with. Most times, it’s been a recipe for self-fulfilling prophecies, but I’ve gotten much better in at least being more aware that this is the pattern, more or less. And I’ve let it change out of a pattern into what is hopefully a uniquely generative series.

In the end, you don’t know. What really drives us, where it’ll take each of us, why it brings us together and then away from one another, hopefully never very far or for very long.

You can call it kismet, probability theory, a system of explanations, or a refutation of explanation. You cannot schedule a simultaneity. Any which way, don’t take yourself too serially.

Categorized as Journal

By elmahboob

Bruce A. Russell aka Ibrahim El Mahboob (b. Kingston, ON, 1968) is a composer and self-taught pianist living and working in Toronto (Tkarón:to, the traditional territory of many nations including the Mississaugas of the Credit, the Anishnabeg, the Chippewa, the Haudenosaunee and the Wendat). He studied at York University with James Tenney and Phillip Werren. He has composed music for the Madawaska String Quartet, Modern Times Stage Company, McMaster Dancers and choreographers Pam Johnson and Tracy Renee Stafford. Interest in his work increased in 2020, with performances by Arraymusic, Prism Percussion, Second Note Duo, San Juan Symphony and Idaho Falls Symphony. He was host of Radio Music Gallery, and has written for Musicworks and I Care if You Listen. His interests are in 20th and 21st century concert music especially postminimalism, and music of the African diaspora including notated and non-notated forms. He is a parent of three and is employed in the financial sector.

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