Two authors teach me that feeling jealousy, envy and passion is not a sin

Let those who have never been caught up in the paradoxical guilt of feeling throw the first stone. Let the first stone be thrown, especially by the woman who has never been overwhelmed by an emotion, at the same time as by the feeling of inadequacy for being overwhelmed by it — one catalyzing the other.

With me, it has happened many times. I already felt like the worst person in the world for realizing myself jealous, envy, in love. Because I wrote messages typical of a passionate woman and they were not returned, I already felt not only unworthy of love, but a serious candidate for the firing squad, as if I were an execrable creature, with a serious manufacturing defect.

It was with encouragement, then, that I read Ilaria Gaspari in her “The secret life of emotions” saying that it also took “a long time to understand that being emotional does not mean being unstable or unbalanced: just being alive, open and permeable to the experience of the world.”

“For many women, being seen as emotional and therefore unstable is a continual spoliation of authority, at work, in politics, in life”, notes the Italian philosopher and writer who, in her book, published in Brazil by Âyiné publishing house with Translated by Letícia Mei, examines anger, anxiety, compassion, and other emotions through the history of philosophical thought, literature, and, of course, experience itself.

Reading at the same time pleasurable and dense, “The secret life of emotions” traverses a terrain until recently mostly occupied by men, creators of the philosophical and theoretical apparatus about themselves, but also about women.

But this is not a book to be read only by women, on the contrary; the intelligence that shines in Gaspari’s writing does not slip into reductionism. “To know emotions without being dominated by them, not to succumb to them or repress them, but to live them, we should first of all educate ourselves to their language” — and this, after all, is universal.

It’s not that women didn’t think about their emotions and write about them; maybe it was just a matter of recognition. As one of the most notable examples, we have the French writer Annie Ernaux and her “Simple Passion”, which won a new edition in Brazil by Fósforo, translated by Marília Garcia. Ernaux’s book deals with an obsessive passion experienced by the author and, at the time of its release in France, it was received with ironic criticism, which would probably have been saved if she had already been awarded the Nobel Prize.

Ernaux opens up the mechanisms of passion in the best possible way: by delving into his own. She exposes her vulnerability and shame without self-pity to reach the opposite of that: the strength and potency of writing and passion itself.

Oh, and what a pleasure to read. I read it as if I were smiling, as if I recognized myself, as if, in her words, I saw myself avenged for the unacceptable fragility that plagued me the times I fell in love. “An interval of time delimited by two car noises, your Renault 25 braking and then starting, in which I was certain that I had never experienced anything more important in my life, nor had children, nor passed exams, nor Traveling far and wide, nothing mattered more than that, being in bed with this man in the middle of the afternoon.” A legitimization, through writing, of the fragility that does not belong to women: it belongs to passion itself.

A passion that Annie Ernaux does not want to explain, as this would perhaps lead her to consider it a mistake or a disorder for which she would have to justify herself: “I just want to show what she is.” And, showing it, he concludes that falling in love is one of the greatest luxuries that can exist in a person’s life: “Asking whether or not he ‘deserved’ all of this makes no sense. As strange as if it had happened in another woman’s life, it doesn’t alter the fact that, thanks to him, I got closer to the limit that separates me from the other, to the point of sometimes imagining that I would reach the other side.”

Even though no literature needs objectives, Gaspari and Ernaux end up making a fundamental invitation: that of facing one’s emotions, one’s affective nudity and one’s own desire as true sources.

And what authentic emotion does not seem, in itself, an excess? Perhaps the moments in which we are unable to contain or delimit ourselves will be precisely, afterwards, the memorable moments: those that distinguish us, those that may, who knows, compose the story of our lives.

#authors #teach #feeling #jealousy #envy #passion #sin

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