Intermittently in life I’ve found myself interrupted by a crush – you know those silly emotions usually attached to a tweenager running amok on the fumes of angst and raging hormones. One happened recently and unexpectedly that on one hand humored me for all its schoolgirl silliness, and on the other, made me feel a little embarrassed – I mean someone in their 40s should be long past falling victim to this sort of thing.
As the crush lingered, I began pondering it, wondering what it said about me, and maybe more importantly, what it was trying to TELL me. My a-ha moment was that in all seriousness, regardless of age, a crush stirs up valid emotions and by its very definition is directly related to a person’s Saudade.
Crush /krəSH/ noun; informal
a brief but intense infatuation for someone, especially someone unattainable or inappropriate.
The current situation is of the common celebrity variety and experience says that when I look back, I’ll wonder what it was I saw in this person. I hope the one thing that’s unique in this moment is that I’m mature enough (right, I know what you’re thinking) to look at it objectively so I can seek out what it stirs in me and incorporate those things in my present and very happy life. Seems fair, right?
I did some digging knowing that plenty of psychological chatter would exist on the subject. The good news for me is that crushes DO happen at all ages. Shew! I also had a theory about the nature of crushes that was addressed in nearly every article I came across. That is, that the person with the crush, i.e., the “crusheur”, is projecting their own ideas and values onto the other person who, on the surface, has certain qualities or attributes aligning with the crusheur’s desires. I’ll be honest and say all of my life (and anyone that knows me knows this to be true), I’ve never been able to resist a dark-haired British guy, usually in his 20s, and always a brooding character – but still dry and incredibly witty. I could give you a list of them as long the River Thames – and they’ve looked and sounded the same regardless if I was the age of 5, 15, 25 or 45 when I crushed. I tend to fall prey to musicians, especially the ones with talent and sincerity. Their energy when they perform is a direct electrical current to that sensitive center of my torso – I think where most of us feel passion. And pain.
My pondering on crushes takes this theory further by considering the concept of our “shadow self”, conceived by the master of projections, Carl Jung. Our shadow aspect, as Jung called it, refers to an unconscious aspect of the personality which the conscious ego does not identify in itself. Jung went on to say that each human embodies both male and female ego, and that whatever dominant ego inhabits the conscious aspect, it is the opposite ego that inhabits the unconscious aspect. My conscious aspect is easily female but I readily identify with, and recognize my male shadow self. It goes back to my tomboy ways, my guy’s girl reputation, my mischievous spirit, and my love of things like surfer dudes and their lifestyle, and of course, anyone who starts to look like, sound and behave like Jim Morrison or the young Mick Jagger. My theory is that I’m attracted to that creature I projected because it’s something my shadow self identifies with or wants to be. That crushing pain in my chest is my shadow side clawing its way out and desperate to be expressed.
If Mr. Shadow could have a physical persona, I’m just going to say it, he would grin, sing, walk and talk exactly like Harry Styles. When I watch how he physically expresses music, it resonates deeply with how I feel music myself.
One other interesting dynamic about all of this fun psychobabble is the rule of projections. That is, identifying it makes it go away. I believe this is generally true and can be used to deal with much of life’s difficult situations. However, my hope in this case is that identifying mine will help me honor it and give it a voice. That it becomes a richer part of who I am and why I’ll keep showing up at Glastonbury, front row, leaning on the stage, and grinning like a fool at my latest obsession.