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guns, pork ribs, and all things boundaries.

I touched a gun for the first time two weeks ago. I learned to take it apart, turn the safety on and off, and load bullets that shatter on impact. The gun was in my house and I didn't even know this for the first forty minutes or so.

Yesterday, I saw a rifle scope for the first time. It was paired with an automatic beast. This time, I couldn't bring myself to touch. I couldn't believe that this thing was just sitting in someone's closet. All I could think about was the terrifying damage this thing could cause.

A year ago, guns? No way.

I also tried pork ribs for the first time on Sunday. They had been marinated for twenty-four hours and slow-cooked for six. It was divine. My dad once had a pig farm. I followed him to a slaughterhouse and the human-like cries stayed with me throughout my teenage years. I could never eat anything pig. But during the COVID lockdown, I tried bacon, and now, I have found ribs.

I have been thinking a lot about boundaries. I recently accused S of having hard boundaries. I then had a conversation with M about the weight of expectations we place on the people we love and most times, the unshifting nature of these expectations. How a boundary become a trap, a cage, a ruinous prison, a sore wound.

My favorite image from my New York trip. I titled it "An Open Invitation." It invites me to come sit, and assures me I can leave whenever I want. It is my new framework for thinking about boundaries.

I used to believe in unconditional love. A love that gave and gave and never expected in return. Christianity, which I'm familiar with, boasts of the unconditional nature of a loving God who gave his only son as a sacrifice to save you and me. But, of course, there is a caveat: that whoever believes in him shall not perish. Your love and devotion and belief, in return, saves you from eternal damnation. I now know that unconditional love is an unhealthy setup. You are left hollowed-out, with nothing.

There is a different conversation to be had about value systems, and having a baseline to return to, to test against. This is not that conversation.

I now want to go to a shooting range, and tomorrow I can decide to become vegan. This conversation is about never saying never, about remaining open to new and strange joy, and developing alternate frameworks to understand the world.

Buy me a book! Thanks and amen.

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