Mild Intensity

Just watched the season finale of House, M.D. What a roller coaster ride! Smart and sharp; I’m glad we got that radiant image of Amber (Ms. Dudek) — all in light.

I might even call the episode intense. Heck, what else can you call a show about a doctor so driven to solve puzzles that he will break the rules and fight his own pain to do so? In the penultimate episode, Ms Edelstein looked so fetching in her schoolgirl outfit, but I smiled when Cuddy was then sitting next to House in his dream, wearing her well tailored suit; even in his dreams they know that diagnosing people is better than sex to him.

That’s why we like House, of course. We like it because in that world, intensity and brilliance rules. You can fuck up and fuck up, but as long as you keep trying, you can still win, and even if you lose and learn something, you still win.

People want me to be intense again. After all these years of learning to slow down, to fall off, to go slow, they want me to go intense again, to, in the words said by Sondheim to Company‘s Bobby, want something — want some thing. They know I need to take back my life, to burn brightly.

The problem is that most of them don’t want me to be intense like House. They want me to be nicely, mildly intense. They don’t really want the shit stirred, but if there is anything House knows, stirring the shit is the only way to get to the bottom, below the lies to truth.

Dear Miz Ruby, always so kind — I owe her for the trip to SCC and much more — disconnected from me after one particularly intense email exchange where I told her I had to get through the trip with my parents to Toronto before engaging SCC, and pushing me now would do nothing. I was just too, well, too something for her in that moment, and I regret the loss of that sweet connection.

KInd people want me to rev up, but they want me to do it in appropriate and low impact ways. They want that intense mind and energy and sight, but they want it in a mild and unchallenging manner.

Needless to say, I have no fucking idea how to do that, so I stay cranked down.

Until I watch the season finale of House M.D. and my heart races, craving that intensity that I have felt in the past.

But it’s OK. By tomorrow morning I can be a little bit dead again.

It will be fine.

3 thoughts on “Mild Intensity”

  1. Dammit Callie it won’t be fine!

    At least not for me.

    I want you full flat out driven and bright, I want language lit from within and at its most lustful for something beyond language, I want that edginess you can bring to bear because its at our edges and our boundaries where identities get negotiated and so its important to be reminded – every now and then – just what in hell we are negotiating for: not just the unblemished truth but the uncensored self.

    But I also know that any journey that ventures past the safety of our socially accepted selves comes with a cost.

    In that regard, House’s limp reminds me of Jacob, who after wrestling with the angel likewise leaves limping – a reminder of the price paid when we choose to struggle with the divine, with what burns brightest within us.

    Struggles like these mark us for good and for life. They inflict a cost.

    But for all that would we forgo the wrestling? Would we dim the fires of our being?

  2. Kind people want me to rev up, but they want me to do it in appropriate and low impact ways… I have no fucking idea how to do that, so I stay cranked down… By tomorrow morning I can be a little bit dead again.

    excuse me? did you just reduce your own choices to “other people can’t handle me”?

    so what happens if you stay dead? do people disconnect from you less? or do they just not connect to you at all, because you’re not really there?

    it’s astonishing that the strongest known advocate – in writing, at least – of fully realized self would say something like this.

    you keep saying you’re too hip for the room. so clear the damned room.

  3. What do I want for my friend Callan?

    Yes, I want to see her powerful, but more I want to see her joyous, and i suspect that power for her may be a path to joy.

    But thinking about this, I realize something else.

    I want her to feel supported and recognized for the sacrifices she makes for her parents.

    Yes, it’s complex, and it often seems to me that they don’t deserve what she gives them, but it’s a choice that she has made and a purpose to which she has given much of her life and soul, and while I very much want to see her free, and joyous, I want to honor and love her for who she is now, not just what she might be.

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