A month in

Dear A–

I’m thinking about you in academia. Thinking about your body. I imagine R is a good companion, helping you eat warm food and find pleasure and shake off some of those many many hours.

The weather here has turned. I am eating soup. This past weekend Zelda and I went into the woods together. The place we went is called the Lewis River in the guidebook, and on the signs that advertise excavation or lumber or bass boats for sale. Being out – stepping out – from the dark protection of big trees to stand with bright, sharp, pale green grasses at the water’s edge, I do not think “Lewis.” This rippling body: mother, vessel, innocent, everything – I do not call her “Lewis” in my mind.

As I’ve taught my daughter to ask when we come to a new place on the map: does this name come from those who were harmed to claim it, or from those who did the harm? Is it a name that claims by memorializing that which could not – by design – survive the claim?

Z and I said, “hello river. thank you river. look how clear and quiet you are.” We drank from her (filtered, yes! we are fragile little beings), made our soup and hot cocoa from her body.

Last week, Clara and I were playing in the garden. She collected leaves and crunched them; I turned the earth to distribute gleanings from the rabbit hutch. She brought me some treasure, to show me – and I had to apologize. “I’m sorry I don’t know the prayers to teach you so you can properly thank mama earth for all she gives us.” She patted my hand. “You have that book of prayers, mama. You can use some of them.”

It took me a moment to figure out she meant the chant book from Great Vow – the Zen Monastery. C and Z have been there a few times; they know the special energy of the place. While Zazen happens on Sundays, one of the warmest women living at the monastery will take the kids tromping around the grounds. Last time we were there they made paintings from berries, leaves, and flowers, smashing them into the paper. The paintings were still in the back of the minivan when it died, actually.

I am planting in my nascent garden again, as water falls from the sky to welcome the newcomers. Here, in the city, as I take them from plastic pots and Clara rubs her hands in their roots to encourage them, I can think, Vine Maple, Nootka Rose, Milkweed. The illusion of their individuality is palatable here. I bow to each. I wonder what it will take for them to trust this place, my clumsy care.

In the woods, though, I feel the pad of life I’m standing on. The giant white chanterelles erupt through what we think of as path overnight, showing “the path” is merely a drape over a body – a luscious body which rolls, gestures, peeks through like a glute through ripped jeans. How do I say: here is this plant, and over here, this one. It isn’t that way at all. Even if I knew better names. Our language fails: it sees separateness, it names delusion.

Moss and lichen embrace all the surfaces. This bit of precious woods where we were is protected by big trees. We leaned at their feet with our backpacks on like woozy children at the end of a party. We saw a beetle with a back like an in-set jewel crawl from the floating frond of a fern to the glistening brown dome of a newly-expressed mushroom. Each little beetle foot made what it touched freshly visible to us. We oohed and awed.

I’m writing mostly to share this.

As we were leaving, the next morning – heading back to “Washington” and then “Vancouver” and then, finally, “Portland” (these flat, solid ideas, like the pavement that comes with them) – we drove, suddenly, toward a bright spot in the woods. Zelda in the passenger seat perked up, in that way of a life-form drawn to light. It was a clear cut. We gasped, then moderated our shock. I mean, of course. On both sides of the road, vast, rippling, glowing green gave way to a field of bloody lumps of red and brown and the many small, upright white mesh tubes they use to cover the stunned baby cedars and firs they push into the ground after they drag the whole forest away.

I’m othering. Should I replace ‘we’ for ‘they’?

The thought that came, as I put the car in park in the middle of the empty road, was Charnel Ground. 

I have heard this for many years from Tibetan teachers of the Vajrayana tradition: go to the Charnel Grounds. In Tibet, where the ground is frozen so much of the year (or was), they bring the dead out to a place and leave them there – in ceremony, I am sure – for the scavengers. Unlike everyone else, the monks go while still alive – literally, figuratively – to come closer to impermanence, to learn to tolerate their own aversion, to be with the whole of what is here.

A friend who is lost to me now once told me about her friend’s doctoral thesis in philosophy, which had at its center – I think – the argument that the only really ethical response to climate change is mourning.

In that charnel ground (not unlike a hospital nursery full of bawling babies in plastic boxes) I thought of this thesis. The potency of grief as a true connection – not only to what is not here, but to the shocking sensation of what is.

I write this to myself, but thinking of you helps me write it. I wonder what you may have grieved, or maybe you are grieving now. I warm to the tenderness that sustains mourning. The willingness to feel. I consider myself a beginner in this sort of willingness; my ancestors in their fear, their grasping, tell me: Everything is Fine, Keep Moving. Maybe that is why grief feels like a doorway to me, a mystic portal: whiteness is a monster made of projecting all loss onto other bodies. What if all loss happens right here, in my pelvis? I’ll need all the love there, too.

Grief as magic. Grief as transformation. Grief as reciprocity.

The leaves are so bright before they fall.

D

Eulogy

2019-07-03 08.48.57Wevan is dead.

When we got it (they? her?), Clara’s language was such that she called it We-vaan. The name stuck.

The last place I drove in Wevan was the farmer’s market on Saturday with H and my mom. A good last trip, though we had no indications of trouble. The next day the battery seemed dead, but (we found after two tows) actually the engine was somehow seized. Permanently seized. It is a mystery to everyone how we got here, but here is clear: while following traffic laws, our family does not fully fit in one car that is a small truck. There has been a death. We are noticeably – if not noticeably emotionally – bereft. Today I’ll arrange to donate the van to @pearmentor. 

I’m writing about this because I’m curious about what this car meant to me; what cars mean to us, generally. I’m curious about how such a large loss – indicating such a significant privilege – seems to count as so little. I’m curious about my deep and lasting ambivalence around car culture and how that expresses itself in my body considering the many years I have spent in cars in the course of my lifetime. I’m especially interested in the shimmering, just-for-a-breath possibility of being in right relationship. 

Right relationship does not depend on purity. It is not a measure of worthiness. It is not stagnant or formulaic. But I still believe it is possible. In any given moment I am a part of the unfolding. If I can hold a boundary, keep my commitments, honor potency, and recognize my smallness in place and time, letting connection and destruction both exist without needing to choose sides… If I can resource myself without stealing, and nurture without resentment – both kinds of suffering made of the illusion of separation… These sensations are guides toward a living reciprocity. Where better to lean into it than in the relationships I navigate every day? Here is my phone, my child, my car. Here is my bed, my morning coffee, my daily breath.

I write these words perched in a moment of freedom, in this space without. Here, I ask for rides, take the bus to the train, initiate fewer plans. Yes, our lives are pretty fucking stable that I am making this big of a deal out of a seized engine. Yes, we will buy another car, stepping deeper into debt to do it. What car we will buy next will be determined by our particular calculus of camping, kids, commute, Oregon-to-Idaho across the Blues, maximum out-of-pocket, minimum-gas-mileage, how-long-will-it-last factors. Identity bits will sneak in there too, ones I maybe can’t see, even still. The kids just want windows in the back that open, which means it won’t be a minivan.

For years I drove Wevan without ever loving it, though I loved where we went and who went, even when I was so sick of the process of loading, unloading, and cleaning up after two or four or six bouncy, distracted, laughing and bickering little bodies. The songs they made up from what they saw out the windows; the rising energetic pitch in the car as resilience waned; the squishy, slumped forms when they finally gave in. Long talks in person or phone; podcast cry-moments; just-the-right-song with just-the-right-sky moments. When I got a freeway commute last year, I started by feeling excited for this precious alone-time. Quickly, excitement turned to resignation: I join the drugged masses each day as, in some kind of solidarity, we parade, secured in our convenience machines, sucking on the straw of the black snake to more easily funnel our own sap into the engine of destruction. 

Talking about a first date she went on recently, a friend cringingly mentioned how the guy, who she had fun with, picked her up in a sports car, flashy, with after-market adjustments. She didn’t want to be judgmental but … Like someone taking you to church, right on the first date? I suggested. She said yes, it was finding out about one of his Gods – and wondering if that religion is compatible with her own. 

I didn’t pick out the van. I let Jeff decide what would make the most sense. I’ve never purchased a car without his push, is the full truth, and it was my first time at a used car dealership. I had a baby on my hip, and another holding my hand. I was grossed out and intimidated all at once. Our relationship – already pretty heteronormative – gets exponentially more so in proximity to anything with an engine. 

Last year I was crossing a bridge in Wevan with the kids when I got passed at full speed and volume by a lifted truck on huge tires. In a brief fit of intolerant rage, I said, “Don’t you girls ever spend time with a man like that.” Zelda was on me instantly: “How do you know the person driving that car is a man?” Me: “I just know.” 

A debate ensued that lasted weeks and birthed her Spring Science Fair project. She set up a rating system to quickly register the relative size of a car (1-10, small to large) and then the gender presentation of its driver on a 1-10 (female to male) scale. (She determined that having a beard, a plaid shirt, a large adam’s apple, big hands and a belly all at once was a 10.) Then she collected data while we drove for a week, and plotted it all on a graph to look for trends. Her results? Anyone can drive any car — except: she did not see anyone under a 6 for gender presentation driving a car over a 7 for size. One quadrant of her graph remained blank. 

When we decided to be practical by replacing Wevan’s blown transmission last spring, I vowed to accept this partner-in-driving. To stop fantasizing about a conversion van with a carpeted ceiling. I stuck on the bumper stickers I’d saved and bought a few more. I planned a road trip with my kids, and revelled in the freedom of choosing that night’s camp from the vantage point of the camp we woke up in. At each sweet slick of wilderness, Wevan released our tent, stove, propane tank, and cooler, and each time we said goodbye she took them back in easily. This is what we’ve been doing together since long before this car (we did it all while I was growing up, too) but this summer I really worked to value the flexibility, ease, and low-profile style of my dust-colored mid-aughts seven passenger truckster. With half-dressed girls sleeping between swims and Brandi Carlile crooning her mystic’s lyrics just to me, I swooped smooth like a heavy hawk between canyon walls shaped by the rivers I followed, shedding lead, weed-seeds, and burned carbon as I went. 

The van brought us to my family and my body’s home, winter, summer, spring, fall. It carried us to blueberry fields and beaches, to our favorite camp spots on the Clackamas. We loaded the Wedgewood stove I cook on into Wevan, hugging the seller and swearing we’d take such good care of her baby. In a daily way, Wevan was like a giant rolling purse, full of the material of my to-do list. It was the shortest line between two points. It was a guarantee that I would be able to pick up another kid if need be, or get that dresser someone just dragged out to the curb. It protected me from the exposure of the bus, the physical struggle of a bike. It kept me from needing anyone else. I often waved to my neighbors twice a day from the window of Wevan – in the driveway, and out again. It was the default. 

Given all of this, I notice that I still very much resist the sense that the van – a car – was or is an important relationship in my life. Who writes a eulogy for their 2006 Ford Freestar? Just borrow some money, buy another car, get insurance and plates – move on. But my whole practice is to notice, with open eyes, ideally with patience, what is already here. As my teachers have whispered to me again and again through the years, “What we don’t see controls us.”

If I were the benevolent dictator (some would see this as a malevolent choice, of course) of this current drama on Turtle Island, the first thing I’d do is tax the hell out of oil. Then I’d see what new earth-drug the tycoons turned to, and tax the hell out of that too. I’d use all that money to pay people to grow and find food, and fix up old houses, and to teach and learn these things from each other. I’d also honor the treaties, including recognizing that all National and State parks and all BLM land would be better run by Native governments — but that’s a different eulogy. 

I write this not to invite disagreement on the practical points of my fantasy/plan, but to express my dear wish that all manner of car and truck travel cease being associated in the American mind with convenience, autonomy, and family life. I mean, obviously this would be a rough transition. On par with no more coffee, or no more wine, or no more sugar for the kids. A small apocalypse. 

My life would be just as affected as any other. My ancestors trekked across this land, always West, always hungry, always wanting more. I’ve kept it up. As a kid, I drove with my nuclear family on twice-annual ten-hour pilgrimages to my mother’s family and body-home. Now I do the same with my own children. We bounce like checkers on the board. Without car-life, what would I choose? As I often ask my students: where is the gray area between the white of everything-depends-on-a-car and the black of my power-mad apocalypse? Knowing I live in a time when car-life is both connection and destruction, what choices do I have that I am not seeing? Where am I unwillingly controlled by my own life?

Yesterday I went to the auto-shop to say goodbye. I left in Wevan: a homemade CD cover with my daughter’s face on it; several green plastic army men in yoga postures; leaves and dirt from many precious, precious places; candy wrappers, altoid tins; the sock that – sort-of – keeps the pop-down kid-view mirror from rattling; the jack; some dried fruit that may have once been fresh. I brought away with me: three rolls of exposed film; many collected rocks, most from the headwaters of the Salmon river; jumper cables and an ice scraper; several sticky library books; a Sawyer water-filter stick; various Chinese remedies. 

Next to the van in the back of the locked lot, there was a car I was proud to have my lost-one temporarily interred with. The people who loved this thing were no strangers to complexity. They worshipped and they warned, in one. Among other creative and laborious expressions of Truth in Car Practice, this living vehicle displayed a modified shopping cart glued to the roof, in whose child-seat rode two devilishly painted baby dolls. I don’t know if that car drives still, but with the tires it had, I can’t imagine how. I bowed to both silent hulks as I left, headed back to a friend’s car, borrowed. As I turned the key in the ignition, just for a moment, I felt the life light up within. The locks of my cage doors clicked. I drove away.

2018-10-09 09.01.16-1

An email from last September

24

Hi beauty.

Woke at 4 yesterday bc my alarm was still set for the airport. Didn’t realize til 5. Worked 7 – 6, including traffic. Not as bad as I expected, honestly.
I look around the room at the career teachers who are the leads for Work Samples for their buildings and are about to go back and “calibrate their teams” and the little bell within me doesn’t ring. At school, I look at the kids and it rings once for each, a name rising up, a true hope – not for something in the future, just the breath of possibility.
I am patient with myself as I wonder if I can do this for more than a year, constantly trying to shush them so that I can get them through the hoops. Yesterday I helped a very sincere very silent kid cut his block of emotional, poetic writing up with scissors and shape it physically into an essay. Next I need to make a graphic organizer to remind him of the steps we used (IEP).
Of the 100 students enrolled at Lents, 50 are seniors. What does that even mean?
J is installing at night both yesterday and today.
C feels very solid after her weekend with him.
On Wednesday A will be here.
I missed you while I was gone – trying to be reflected or to reflect these old friends of mine, and needing to let it all float. Your marvelous gravity holds me.
xx

September 4

07

As this new school year begins I am reminded again and again of the relevance of my internal experiences to how I am supporting and honoring the experiences of those around me.

I notice tremors of insufficiency and recognize the spirit of scarcity behind these momentary possessions. Who benefits from my sense of scarcity?

Or, if I am present to these sensations and notice the narratives that I have adapted to justify and substantiate them. Without buying-in to the solidity of shame, defensiveness, desire for proof, construction of a more perfect abstract self that I can measure my current manifestation against. What spirit is here? Vulnerability?

A mystic transubstantiation of scarcity into fundamental sufficiency.

The reach through the curtain of solidity (lolly-pop tree) to tenderness (curved trunk, bent branch, chewed leaf) lands me in presence, actually, where none of us (humans, flowers, ants, words) is an object.

What if every student is a subject? What if this computer is a subject? The water I drink. The coffee grounds through which I pour it. The spirits held in the words that are written here.

Can you feel it? The breathing-ness? The abundance of intelligence?

Yesterday we, the teachers, introduced ourselves to our new student body. Between a quarter and a third of the youth are new to us, to our school; the rest familiar faces, to whom we are familiar. Our new team member won’t join until next week (see, first ever interview panel).

We divided the students into 5 groups and sent the groups room to room to hear from each teacher. I quickly realized that other teachers had prepared their introductions. There were slides, power points, lists of favorites. Oh! Hello. A manifesto, just here, in my chest, of the scarcity spirit: I am not prepared. So: surface the feeling, with as little defensiveness or performativity (oh, my sweet inner white girl, always smiling and self-deprecating, making herself small enough to share the power) as possible. Then, feel for what resources are present.

The Circle is present. Name the value of the circle. Make it personal. Invite without requiring.

Being in relationship is present. Students who know me offer what they know. I say names and allow for pauses, invite them to pass as they need. Everyone finds something to offer. I am easy to talk to, understanding, keep my word, artist, yoga, makes good broth, theatre field trips, outspoken, loving, upbeat and energetic. To each thing I express gratitude, and add words.

When there is a lul or we lose the thread: what resource is here? The word Abolition arises. The resource is truth. The resource is ground. The resource is having others who are doing the work and showing me the way. I call them into the room with this word. My students are quiet to hear about this spirit: Abolition. She takes many forms. She sees dehumanization. She sees what is possible. Healing. I say: hurt people hurt people. Systems that don’t support the most vulnerable harm us all.

Now, I am not the only person here, isolated by scarcity. Instead, I am made present by connecting to resource. I see their faces, instead of my own.

Vulnerable means able to be wounded. I wonder about this. If I am the most powerful person in the room, can I protect myself from wounding and still offer trust?

June 26

27

A dream

At school, M stabs? Or shoots? Madison in the chest. It is like a modernist Shakespeare play – no weapon, no blood. But the intention, all the emotion, the charge of an essential relationship flipped over … to reveal a sudden moment’s impulse that cannot be reversed. It’s all very much school – nothing dreamy. Zach is there, too, in a similarly charged way. Their big boy bodies ricocheting: creating, of a mundane present, a complex future. I can’t recall the plot of the second part, but the dream – and my waking in bed – is infused with irritation and anger with people and systems that don’t see trauma: the interconnectedness of all of us who have attended this event is invisible to them. We are all together and this is just one piece of the dance. We are all hurt, all doing harm. The authorities? Doctors? In the dream want to separate us out from each other – they don’t understand. They think one is victim, the other perp. But this – after years of dancing – was the grand climax: the most intimate they’ve ever been.

June 20

05

took 

a bottle of 

water

Found open and undrank

In a familiar workspace

Call it my classroom

Everyone does

Carried it outside, where a 

Dogwood blooms in a cement sea

The leaves were already radiant 

With rain

emptied the 

water

Over the tremulous branches

A miracle! 

Touched a leaf

love you!

Movement like breath, sun like blood

Bend, bow, turn

The bottle 

threw in the trash

With so much else

One part of me here,

One there

 

June 13

02

Waking from dreams in the garage surrounded by my intimate family to crow calls and those red poppy explosions again. In the dream, I was asking people – a child being forcibly dressed for her dance recital, a man doing grunt work for an extraction company in a destroyed field –

“If women ran the world, if women had been running the world, do you think you’d be doing this right now?”

I tried to speak to my chosen subjects, to help them feel the real possibility … “What would we be doing?” … “Cuddling? Taking care of things? Being in our shared pleasure?”

May 29

0815The careful student says what she knows and not more than that.

She listens for what she seeks to understand

My name is Devon Frances Riley. I identify as a woman; a white, cis, queer mother. Pronouns: she, her. They is fine, too. I have a student who’s been using ‘they’ all year for me, and they’re not wrong. 

I am where dare and Rebecca are, which I repeat here in chorus, a chant: the watershed/ ancestral lands of the Chinook people – Kathlamet, Kalapuya, Clatsop-Nehelem, Multnomah, Clackamas, and more, including the Confederated Tribes of the Grande Ronde. For me that is NE Portland, which has more recently been a homeland for large parts of the African American community of Portland, whose togetherness is being actively displaced and decentralized by ongoing gentrification in which I have participated. 

My ancestors are Irish, Scottish, English. On my father’s side, they are for now mostly forgotten. On my mother’s, the Bible’s record goes back to County Cork. It is my intention this summer to do deeper research through my parents, who have lived on many unceeded lands, including the place of my birth and strongly land-based upbringing, on ancestral lands of the Shoshone Bannock people in what I call Idaho. 

I appreciated so much what Tada said in the first session, naming that they are trying to figure out how to say what I do. Yes. I work and play with words and am always attending to the slippery space where language can both clarify and obscure. I read all of your typed offerings in this living language handed down through colonization – and am grateful. Thank you for sharing. 

I owe a debt of responsibility to the chosen spiritual traditions that have raised me: Westernized Raja and Hatha Yoga and Westernized Zen Buddhism. I hold myself able and capable of contributing to the trajectories of these evolving praxis in a way that includes more. In this I have been privileged to study with angel Kyodo williams and Lama Rod Owens, as well as Michael Stone and Michelle Cassandra Johnson. 

Including more for me has been made possible by practices and teachers from Body Mind Centering, Cranial Sacral Therapy, Alexander technique, Psycho-spiritual parenting (Marion Rose), interpersonal neurobiology, training and embodied engagement with trauma and chronic pain, the work of Judith Blackstone, the HAES model, reading so many stories, being with people (mostly women) who have been interested and willing to share their experiences, and spending years of long, tender days in my garden with my children. 

Currently, I am spending long, tender days with youth in an alternative high school, talking about race, breath, words, and the mystery. 

 

April 16

03a

The private class I taught Saturday (before everything fell apart?) was as concise a transmission of the core points of my work as I can remember…

  1. Most people are as strong as they need to be to be able to do what they want to do. It is accessing and utilizing that strength that is challenging. 
  2. The parts of us that do too much do it because they believe they are saving us from collapse/ obliteration.
  3. Accessing strength or balancing strength is a cycle between encouraging other parts to do more and encouraging over-used parts to do less.
  4. Responding to exhaustion (in over-used areas) by choosing rest/ practicing yield helps facilitate nervous system impulses that facilitate sharing the work
  5. Making small ranges of motion and slowing gestures down help facilitate sharing the work by asking different parts of ourselves to show up 
  6. Considering family patterns can help us perceive internal anatomic and physiologic strategies/ patterns of use and strength (and vice versa)
  7. Exploring movement patterns that help us feel resourced – whether through rest or resilience (ability to move in and down or ability to move out and up) – is a more functional, loving road than exploring movement patterns that are goal oriented
  8. You Have more freedom than you’re using
  9. Freedom means choice, creativity, ability to access resources internally, ability to accept support, ability to ask generative questions/ get curious, ability to move away from center without losing center
  10. Paradigm of hardening and collapse
  11. Paradigm of the nest or tangle: when the spectrum disappears and we can only do it ONE WAY or not at all (hardening/collapse) we have moved out of whole self and into the story of the tangle
  12. The tangle is what protects a moment of wisdom that was too much truth to tolerate
  13. Unwinding the tangle is a nonlinear, stop/go/observe/rest engagement *with the tangle* 
  14. Each of us is sufficient to our own tangles if and when we are accepting of support
  15. Staying present w physical sensation and urge (push, pull, withdraw, collapse, rest, harden, flee, freeze) allows us to be in relationship outside of time/narrative

 

April 15

14Clara is so so sick. Again. She has lost her faith. All she can do is suffer and endure. She doesn’t trust her body, or my love. Last night, in the fevered dark, she repeatedly, insistently, told me that I don’t love her. Not really. “You hate me because of what I do.” I assured her again and again that I heard her, that I am so sorry it feels that way, that I do love her so much and always. “It’s not true.” She would reply. “You don’t love me. You only love my sister. I’ve done a bad thing so you hate me.”

Marion Rose sent a message yesterday about our children translating from the universe for us. I look at Clara, fingers interlaced over her heart, wet cloth on her forehead. She asked to lay “just on my own” because I was behind her, trying to support her. She is so angry and sad. I don’t understand how she is looking at the world, and that is where I tend to go to try to understand messages. Maybe, though, that is one of these ways where I abandon my own perspective – disappear myself – in order to try to receive or interpret messages. If I do it Marion’s way … then what Clara says is to help me understand what I am feeling. (My urge is to capitalize that I, italicize it) Am I stuck in a feeling that the universe doesn’t love me? That my parents/partner/friends don’t love what I am doing or trying to do? I suppose, yes. It is part of what I was sharing with Holly yesterday, that I feel like a burden on the earth, on BIPOC communities, and yet, in my own community, where I belong, I struggle to be seen. I worry that people find me unkind or irritating, abrasive, overly intellectual, constantly political, impossible to relax around, hurtful, judgmental. I don’t know how to share my wants and needs from a place that draws people to me. I feel the race stuff so deeply, so personally. I truly am an abolitionist. But I feel performative – and afraid of being perceived that way – when I try to contact others around intersectionality, truth, reality. 

Clara kept saying, “That’s not true.” And in my exhaustion and undivided presence, I knew that partly what she was saying is that there is no way for me to convince her of my position. As long as she feels what she feels, that is what truth is for her. I couldn’t find a way to fully settle into what she was communicating – I said, “what makes you say that?” Because it was false for me. But how can we connect except to attend to what feels true to the other? Nolan can’t possibly see what I see, not having had any of the experiences I’ve had in the last 12 years that have brought me to this perspective. So then how could it be my job to influence him for the sake of the oppressed in this country who have no shot at shifting his truth to include or respect theirs? 

What is it? That sharing my truth would damage people? Our relationship? That it is too dark? Or, selfish? Is that what I fear? Or do I fear that my perspective comes from a desire to take up

No space

Or

Do

No harm

Are these really different?