(a meandering, serpentine thought process...)
What's getting more difficult as I become more self-aware is dealing with the ability to turn off and turn on my charms. This is making me nervous, self-critical and gunshy. What got me into this whole mess was my very open smile -- the icebreaker that everyone loves. I smile, and you just feel good about yourself. I smile, and it becomes a beautiful day. I smile, and suddenly I'm the approachable girl, the friendly sweet lady who everyone can talk to. I smile, and it's open season for flirting.
But really, this is just me. My naturally open candor of kindness. It used to be that I could treat everyone this way, for it was an innocent thing. Despite my welcoming smile, men respected the assumed limits that though I am approachable, I am afterall, another man's wife. And it wasn't just their assumptions. I assumed the boundary as well. This is a social courtesy, right? So with assumptions in place, there is a freedom involved that allows for a virtual dismantling of those boundaries with no cares. Because we are innocent, guileless and truly can do no harm.
Now that I have embraced my sins however, I find that I am perpetually questioning my own motives. Because I now realize that I can and do have motives that can be hidden, that can be revealed, that can be played with. This newly discovered personality trait is one that creates an undercurrent of ambivalence, one that feels somewhat manipulative. I am now aware that when I smile, it arouses a feeling in a man that perhaps, maybe? And with this knowledge, I feel a responsibility to deal with this interpersonal intimacy. I must reflect on my actions and I must tailor them specific to my desires and how they relate to the individual with whom I am interacting.
True compassion is derived from this loss of innocence.
That cliched remark about bliss has deeper definition than the shallow reflection on ignorance. Bliss can easily be identified with the type of joy that reverberates deep into your being, so deep that it touches on that buried germ so long forgotten but in itself still remembers innocence. Compassion can only surface upon awareness of suffering -- the fact that suffering exists, no matter its victim. Some may become aware of it through direct experience, whereas others may perceive it externally, via another's traumas. It is through these experiences that an aware person comprehends the extent of pain and thus can escalate that understanding to a level that incorporates and embraces others.
Where an Innocent's actions may or may not have an effect on another being, it is the Innocent's unawareness that acts as a barrier, halting true intimacy with that other person. Thus, the loss of innocence leads to deeper awareness, which in turn creates intimacy, thereby leading to a greater sense of responsibility. Follow? Not so sure I'm following myself...
The point is, now that I'm aware of my wily ways, I sinuously situate sexual desire, provocative gestures and seductive side-glances into moments of otherwise harmless flirtations... and sometimes these sultry habits pop out when I don't expect them -- sometimes when I don't want them. And by limiting these behaviors (in an effort to control them), I am painfully aware of my loss of innocence. I am aware of my effect on others, and I am forced to contain it when necessary. So sometimes I don't smile, even though I may be bursting inside with the desire to. Whereas before I decided to stray, I doubted (if not in a state of denial) that my actions could possibly evoke such feelings in others, and so had the freedom to flirt however I wished. This state is no more.
Herein lies the irony that plagues us who choose to live in these dark shadows, chasing the momentary sparks of Bursting Life. That which brings this immense sense of freedom comes at such a cost. We are in fact slaves to our habits, slaves to our addictions. In that, we are not free at all.