i have several small things simmering in the background of my mind.
- On: Looking in the mirror and seeing my mother’s face
Last week, i was about to put some blush on and glanced up in the mirror, my face an inch or two from my reflection. i don’t know if it was the way the light was diffused and illuminated my face just right or what. i can’t even say what i saw that was different, only that i saw something familiar there, something of my mother’s face. i know because i had spent many hours of my childhood with a photograph of her at fifteen or sixteen strip searching my face, looking for any hint or sign that i might turn into something beautiful. So, imagine my consternation that when i saw the undefined something that reminded me of her, i felt repelled a bit. Confused. i wondered if my face could have changed in the last couple of years and remembered the first time i fell in lust, came home to my mother leaving the object of lust behind, and heard her surprised remark that my face has changed in a couple of months. She had noted, with some approval, that one half of my face more closely resembled her own. i remember being somewhat dumbfounded because she had spent 21 years looking at my face and had never told me she saw anything of her own self there, peeking out. i thought it was the falling in lust that made my cheekbones higher, changed me in some obscure manner.
i’m not strip searching myself to find her anymore.
Not for years now. To suddenly see her made me feel something that i don’t really have a word for. It wasn’t a happy emotion. And though i try the other feeling words on for size, they don’t fit right. There is just this sense of my stomach falling, the lurch you feel on a rollercoaster on the way up.
i have taken to just putting on lip gloss and avoiding it, the mirror, the possibility that i might see her there. i realize that it is silly and my sullen resentment about clearly having skipping over the objectively stunning vision of her in her youth to have arrived someplace else won’t change anything. i was thinking back to her thirty-fifth birthday, standing with sunlight dancing on her olive skin, thinking she took my breath away.
i let my belly fill with air, inhale carefully, and push it out through my mouth. If there was a way to rid myself of any memory of her, i would. Nothing good comes, not really. There isn’t even a morsel of me that feels any longing for her, which is so very strange.
On Sunday, Sir Raven and i watched the Liberace movie, and i played Devil’s Advocate on a person having full facial surgery on the whim of another. i pointed out that it is extreme, yes, but not so very different from breast augmentation or a nose job to please another. i also pointed out that if you love someone, it wouldn’t be a bad thing to look in the mirror and see their reflection staring back at you. i did not point out the glimpse of my mother, or what it feels like to see a person staring back that you do not love anymore.
- Life as a Science Project…
One thing that is very interesting to me is the conversation Sir Raven and i had about the blog whereupon we ended up talking about How. Much. Angst. i felt before i decided to dial down my emotions on the topic of S/m. What she said, when she noted my obvious angst, was “I wonder how much longer she can wait?” Weeks rolled on and she just investigated it. Took note. Treated me like a science project. Watched my process.
The way i have deadened my emotions on the topic are not what she may have wanted. It wasn’t her intent. She says it may have been different had i not written about it, that doing so made it somehow separate from me and us. Like she was outside of the process, watching.
For me, of course, the act of writing is a lot like being totally nude in a room full of people i can’t see. It is supremely private and open, at the same time. If i take the time and effort to write about something, it has great meaning for me, particularly if i am devoting energy to exposing a thing that makes me feel unhappy emotions. i don’t– i can’t–write to look at it from the outside. It is more about my insides than anything else i do, except S/m.
i thought that was very interesting, that we come at writing from an opposite place. i write in one sitting, sometimes choosing words with great deliberation. i don’t edit later. i let it enter the world as it is, as i am. If i’m going to get nude, literally or on the page, i might tease my top off. But, more likely, i will just be bold with it. In a this is me manner. It is a matter of humor, to me, that i will expose myself. It is a matter of something near humor, to me, that Sir Raven can observe me from a distance this way. i wonder if it has occurred to her just how Sadistic it is to be fully and consciously aware that i was dangling by my fingernails in need. She knew it, understood what it was, that it was not about “do me, DO ME” but about something else entirely. Something emotional beyond words. Something pressing and unyielding and exhaustion.
i wonder if she realizes how masochistic it was of me to keep pointing this out, well aware that it was likely to not change anything at all. Like cutting myself with dull razor blades willing the blood out.
It occurs to me that it must be emotionally masochistic to feel good about her being able and willing to stand back and do nothing at all, just to see what would happen. What happened was that i quite literally turned myself inside out for her.
It is the singular way i have had to do it. Slowly, painfully, agonizingly aware. Like the frigid falls that i went to as a child. It was so cold it made you unable to hold your tears, your bladder. Your teeth would chatter, you would go numb, you would lack control. i would keep walking out further, the strange sensation of blasting heat on your head in stark contrast to the cold wet. Finally, as your body would adjust a bit, the pain would stop and you’d feel something like relief.
You never heard the sun say, “hey, i was suffering your cold limbs and aching toes too.”
But that is what Sir Raven said, that i wasn’t dealing with the need alone. It is not as if she was getting her needs met elsewhere. Realistically, i imagine that she wouldn’t get the same core needs met with someone else, just as i could not. i could do S/m with another person, in theory, but it would be more for fun and relaxation. i’m not even sure i would want to.
i think there might be something sacred in the waiting. It’s an offering of sorts, just like anything else.
In the meantime, i am content and relieved to not be full of angst, wondering, mentally lashing myself. It has become something far more simple to just notice and dismiss.
i have noticed that, along with this business of letting go of uncomfortable things, the tapes that started playing from the social security stupidness are less persistent.
- Roll Tape
This tape, the crazy tape, is not my favorite by far. i’d rather listen to the ugly tape.
i rather think that it would be readily obvious to a sane person if i was crazy. i think i’d know if that was the case. We were warned, early, that future doctors who study mental illness will strip search themselves for a while. There were years, several of them in my youth, that i believed i was crazy. It did me damage, that whole thing, mostly because i learned to not trust my own perceptions as valid. That was how i earned the crazy tape. By trusting myself. To get rid of that tape means that i am trusting myself fully and deeply. Considering how i earned the crazy tape to begin with, by spilling secrets when i thought they couldn’t hurt anyone anymore, it can be a messy thing to trust myself.
The thing is, simply, that i trust her. i trust that she is capable and smart and would clearly see if i was crazy. What is healing and freeing is i suspect she wouldn’t really care. She gave me a chance, even though i disclosed the history of abuse, the history of PTSD. She is not affected much by either on a daily basis.
The thing is, simply, that i trust myself. i trust that i am capable and smart and could see it if i was struggling. It would be here, on the page. What i consider is that my brain was bathed in 33 years of stress hormones and people who were only too happy to open wounds to salty air, cause new scars, and watch with dispassionate glee. Not living in that makes it only too clear that much of the pain of being me was deliberately invoked from the outside. i know because i am largely happy, peaceful, and content now.
i’m thinking i deserve to at least edit the crazy tape, if not outright destroy it in the light. It is a strange, sobering thought, that it wasn’t me. i didn’t author that particular tape. i didn’t deserve it.
It’s not factual. It’s not needed. It has almost nothing to do with me or my life now.
All i needed was a chance.
She believes in me enough to have offered that chance.
i believed in myself enough to take it.
It is so much more than enough.