Cold and Alone

Cold and Alone January 11, 2022

That looks pretty but don’t be fooled–it is not worth going out to see in person.

I’ve been super committed to my walk, as I said, the last four months, but there is no way in a million years that I am going out for any length of time let alone an hour in whatever temperature it is even out there–as in, it is no temperature. It lacks all temperature. It has ceased to have a temperature. Maybe it is literal hell, complete with howling wind and the gnawing of flesh. I’m not sure. It probably depends on whose hell you’re considering. Inside, from the safety of several blankets, I have been reading the internet, and I found one nice thing and one ridiculous thing.

The nice thing is this person who’s been making up useful words and has put them in a book called The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows:

The presiding mood here is a lugubrious narcissism, signalled by defining various nuances of loneliness, anxiety, bittersweetness and things that are “poignant”. There is “haunting solitude” (“wildred”) or “complicated solitude” (“innity”). There are terms for microanalytical worries about one’s “quintessential self” or “inner self”. The star lexeme here, which the author fondly observes has entered some people’s online vocabulary since he proposed it some years ago, is “sonder”, defined as “the awareness that everyone around you is the main character of their own story”.

This person is doing something good for humanity, I think. The reviewer isn’t very impressed though:

At times the author expands a definition into a mini-essay on, say, “the heartbreaking simplicity of ordinary things” (“maru mori”), and can risk ending up offering the kind of kitsch uplift that ought to be embroidered on cushions: “Perhaps we should try keeping our eyes open while we pray, and look for the meaning hidden in the things right in front of us.” But then, as a fusion of the genres of mindfulness and wellbeing with the browsable vocabulary book, it might just be a work of commercial genius.

I dunno, I might be willing to plunk down my money for a nicely bound book that would take my mind off all the hideousness of the moment. Which brings me to the foolish thing, something I had heard in the background of various “online spaces” but upon which I had never taken the trouble to click:

Demiromantic is a romantic orientation on the aromantic spectrum defined as someone who does not experience romantic attraction until they have formed a deep emotional connection with someone. This connection may be sexual, platonic, or another form/combination of forms, depending on the demiromantic individual. Forming an emotional bond with someone does not mean that one is automatically attracted to said individual, as it just means there’s now a possibility for one to feel attraction.

This is kind of “orientation” is to be distinguished from the demisexual one:

Demisexuality is a sexual orientation in which someone feels sexual attraction only to people with whom they have an emotional bond. Most demisexuals feel sexual attraction rarely compared to the general population, and some have little to no interest in sexual activity.

Each of these is represented by a different color line on the flag of sexual orientation, as well as a long list of articles that come right up when you type in a search. What is missing, however, is any sideways glance at the unquestioned assumptions about the human person underlying this supposedly kaleidoscopic but really rather dull and depressing, approach to sexual attraction. Those assumptions are 1. a “sexual identity” is necessary in order to orient oneself in time and space and 2. that said sexual identity can be compassed chiefly in oneself, that sex is fundamentally self-oriented, rather than the thing that drives you towards another person.

This strikes me as a great tragedy. There are so many common gifts that God gives his creatures to drive them out of themselves towards a rich and beautiful salvation–language, attraction, children, work, worship. And yet, because of sin, we are determined to make each of those things about ourselves, to turn them around and frogmarch them back to the innerm dark, murky, selfish person so that they no longer refract any light or beauty. Ah, well, I had better go stare at the blowing snow. Have whatever sort of day you prefer.

Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

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