Hard to Tell

It’s hard to tell When you’re a child or in love, you don’t know or care—until love becomes habit and it hurts— where your problems end and another’s begin. Why did I ever stay with one who didn’t like me? Did I feel that I didn’t deserve to be as I am? Limitation, limitation? Fear of difficulty, fear of the unknown? Jesus said to love your neighbor as yourself, and he didn’t say how to love yourself. A child persists in devotion to a hurtful parent, unable to replace a parent’s love. It’s hard to tell whether you give for yourself or for yourself only because you’re afraid to displease the other. It’s easy enough to say that she can’t help herself; it hurts her more than it hurts me. It’s easy enough to say that I’m oversensitive; he’s not mean. It’s hard to be natural; to sort out one from two is even harder. What? Should you let it fall, feel as you feel? Happiness is as interconvoluted as unhappiness, but it’s not painful when you move. Steadily, steadily, coil and uncoil. 14 May 1985, Palo Alto