Deconstructing Care


Deconstructing Care

 Christine Ruffolo


Everyone thinks they know how to care.  They know what it looks like, and so, they know how to replicate it.  What they care about is their reality, their axis of being.  It is both their benchmark and their goal.  A stagnancy by which to improve upon means doing more and trying harder, and yet so very rarely, a change.  How few consider it might look different, and how fewer still recognize that the way they care might not at all seem like care to another.

When we look for the same markers and behaviors we inevitably come up lacking.  The truth is, we’re all looking for peculiar and particular things.

It’s like movement.  This ______________ matters to me and so I choose to invest in it.  I will spend the time and energy to get it because there is a thrilling feeling of accomplishment on the other side.  We assume what is worthy and valuable and look for those things to engage in.  In doing so, we miss everything else.

Needs get confused with wants, and wants get funneled into things we think we can get.  We’re not masochists, are we?


The expectations are what kill us. 

It maims and distorts.


Unlike love that exists over there, care is right here.  It is sitting with.  It grants freedom without any demands or I told-you-sos.  It waits, and lingers, and doesn’t have to do a thing.  And because it doesn’t have to do a thing, it doesn’t expect things to be done for it.  No proof is required.  When done deftly, one does not notice they are being cared for; only when that care has been removed does the pang of loss proclaim itself.

For many, care is believed to be something noble and sacrificial.  It subtracts from ourselves.  It costs and is elusive, and that is why it is so valuable and revered.  Stories and movies reflect this.  It hurts to love someone.  It hurts to receive love from someone, because people (and their affection for us) aren’t a guarantee.

Fearing love is a very real thing.  It parallels why it’s so difficult to adore our bodies as is.  We wish to care for a better one (and a better way of being).  Since care is a limited resource, we want to use it well.  We’ll give it a purpose.  We’ll twist it to become what we always hoped we would.  It’s ten pounds and a muscle up away…  which is why it keeps eluding us.

When considered outside of a commodity, care can be renewing.  It isn’t spent or lost but shared excess.  The flow is natural and effortless; there is no scarcity in its abundance.  It does not rescue or save or fix, nor does it wish to reach the masses.  It is not an outreach ministry, looking for conversions.  It does not beg or wish, and because it knows how to be it knows how to let you be.

Care shares space as much as it gives space.  The what, how, and when does not need the impetus of why.  It is the why.  It goes to, experiences as, and is an extension of the self trying to fully understand.  It recognizes everything as worthy because it is a part of, and everything as still worthy when alienated and estranged from.  It is far beyond patient and kind, far deeper than condition or transaction — it does and does not, in resonance with a shared authenticity.

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