I was thinking about borders as I was falling asleep the other night. More specifically, I was working through the idea of borders as relationships. Borders carry the connotation of division, but here I’m thinking of them of the space where two things meet and touch. Borders are by definition peripheral, and thus don’t consume a lot of our attention, since most of the time we are focusing on ourselves instead of the delimitations of ourselves. Even when we are thinking about another person, we tend to be thinking very firmly from our centre, and only abstractly conceptualize the other. But the borders, the place where one meets the other, are where interactions with others are really taking place. Our actions at the border, of how we push and pull and exchange, are what constitute connection. They are where one’s rights end and the other’s begin, and vice versa–and this negotiation is often contentious.
More importantly, when we want to be transparent and present with the other, we must come out from our self-absorbed centre and approach the border, putting aside the commotions our personal concerns for a moment, to give our attention and energy to the person on the other side. The other, too, must approach for dialogue to occur.
In addition, borders are difficult to establish. As time passes, borders are created. Any relationship that takes place over time is about this: we venture out into uncharted territory, discovering the winding loops in which two people carve their selves out into space and time. It’s a big wilderness that takes careful figuring out, where both can get hurt but also grow.
I’m walking myself through this because I’m having trouble doing a lot of these things, and I could use the reminder.
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In other news, I’m studying for my calculus exam on Sunday and it’s hard. The concepts themselves I understand but my algebra is weak because I make a lot of small careless mistakes, like turning pi over six into pi over two when integrating or miscalculating fractions. It makes me realize that I’m good at abstract concepts but not so good with the technical application when it comes to minutiae. I used to be really sharp with details but I’m finding that I’m less keen as time goes on.
These are trig values. I should have had them memorized a long time ago, and it’s embarrassing that I haven’t (not to mention identities). It’s sad because I’m kind of scared of trigonometric functions but find them really beautiful. It’s one of those things whose grace I can’t enjoy because I haven’t mastered them and I’m worried about all the stuff I haven’t committed to memory.