Tuesday, April 07, 2015

Here's what I think it is.

(1) I was not exposed to any loving relationships at all while I was a kid. (My parents' dislike for each other, and dislike for me, permeated the various houses we lived in up until I was 12, when they divorced.)

(2) Deprived of any positive (or even kindly neutral) emotional interactions with my parents, I turned to books and movies and pop music for some/any kind of sustenance.

(3) Having the dichotomy of witnessing, on the one hand, a real-life almost-always-hate-filled relationship between my parents and, on the other hand, a falsely "pure" love/hate reconstruction in art and literature, I didn't get any sense of the "everyday" flow of energy, of mild irritation, of mild affection, of casual conversations about things. My real life at home was almost always dark, and my fantasy life via art was almost always swinging between extremes of agony and ecstasy.

Thus, chaos feels natural. And an even keel feels strange, dull, lifeless. That, I've since read, is a typical feeling among adults raised in abusive, emotionally or otherwise, households. I've also read from psychiatric (and animal) studies that a child/adolescent exposed to constant stress in formative years develops an ingrained physiological "flight or fight" response.

On a note that I haven't read about before, but that I'm sure is/will be later proven true: The utter lack of human kindness as a youth has led me to later accept any kind crumb thrown my way and latch onto it, despite all of the subsequent rejection. I'm a human, after all: I fall for that initial crumb. Only, most healthy (straight) people expressing interest in another perhaps MEAN it: They want to get to know the other, they want to spend time with them.

I have a different experience. When, for the sake of honesty, I've told some women that I'm gay, they have then inexplicably gone into "seductress" mode with me, claiming to be bisexual, claiming to be unhappy with their current male lover, even going so far as to say they "love" me, etc. When I've responded (as I think anyone would), they have completely backed off, suddenly declaring their utter heterosexuality, their distaste for women, their wonderment on why I was now calling...


I think my "sickness" is that I keep trying to go back to a well that is now dry. I may be a naif in that I don't comprehend why the well is suddenly dry when it was flowing before... I should not be such a purist. (The same thing happens in straight relationships, of course. But a break-up is harder when one of the two is gay --- the straight person faking bisexuality can easily meld back into the 90% straight world, meeting people at grocery stores, etc., but the gay person is suddenly tossed back into the 10% pool wondering what the hell just happened and forced to go back to gay hang-outs to meet potential mates that she's already figured out she doesn't have anything in common with other than the fact she's gay.)

Right-wing Republicans go on about the "gay lifestyle": There's no "lifestyle." If Ginny had wanted me when I was 18 and she was 17, I'd probably have never had a sad club story or sad lover story or sad parent story to tell here. At nearly 50, I would have been bitching about Georgia property taxes and not giving a fuck what my non-caring blood relations and old school-mates were doing back in Texas.

But then that's "fantasy" acting up again.


Erik Bartlam said...

It's funny this should pop up in my reader tonight. I spent most of the day driving and ended up listening to this Podcast by Lea Tau called Strangers (you may know it)...it was the four part series Love Hurts. At first I was like...ehhhhhh. Then I just sorta fell in the grove of it and listened.

She's trying to figure out why she hasn't been able to find anybody in four years of trying. She interviews men that dumped her...talks to dating coaches and a woman who says dating coaches are full of it...then she talks to a man she dumped. All this started when her fiancé dumped her just before their baby was born.

In the end...as with all the NPRish "prestige" thought pieces she didn't have an answer...except, that she needed to stop trying. All these people she interviewed that had found someone to share there life with had stumbled into it.

None of it deals with the peculiar history and issues you're facing but...

One things for sure, you don't need to give yourself to anybody that isn't willing to honestly deal with who they are. That goes for every type relationship. Keep those b****es at arms length.

And, in the meantime, occupy your mind with the upcoming Chistina Ricci Lizzie Borden series.
Or has it already started?

Beth Austin said...

When I was a college kid, I thought NPR was what I should be listening to... Post-college, it started to repulse me, as part of the phoniness and PC-ness I'd formerly bought into... My small-town early life was warped, my college days were warped... Where the fuck was I supposed to turn for some Truth???

As for Christina Ricci as Lizzie Borden... Dear god, I was just days ago watching re-runs of the earlier Ricci/Borden series on Lifetime, and th
e acting was horrible. In the same way I hated the Leonardo DiCaprio version of the sinking of the Titanic, I hated the Ricci version of Lizzie Borden: No soul.

Erik Bartlam said...

I cannot disagree with you on NPR. I used to have a busted antenna and I would get stuck out in the country with nothing but five NPR stations on the radio...Terri Gross, Dank Air was always on. It was brutal...that whispering up-speaking...it was brutal but, it was all worth it to hear her interview with Tarantino. She asked him about high school and he said he hated it. "Did you get beat up a lot", she asked. "No...I was the one beating up other kids. I just thought it was boring." Hahah You could hear her pumpkin spice latte crash to the floor.

I am mightily disappointed to her about Lizzie. I was hoping for campy fun and it sounds like it's just bad.

Beth Austin said...

Sorry for glibly dismissing your initial comment about the NPR person "trying to find love." But I'd read exactly that type of thing dozens of times before. I've had no problem attracting intellectual men with good jobs because I'm smart and relatively attractive, about a 7, and I talk to them about whatever comes naturally. I like these guys, but I'm gay and don't seek them as a mate. I have no idea what this NPR-lady is talking about with her potential dates, but whatever it is is probably
quite stilted and phony. Guys aren't stupid. Even intellectual guys want some sort of basic, non-phony connection.

Erik Bartlam said...

No problem...I didn't take it that way at all. And I'm with you on that stuff. It was only interesting given your situation because I had just listened to it and she was asking some very general questions about whether you could orchestrate or guide the process.

Obviously you have a few more hurdles on your track. Her problem, as it turns out, was she was placing all the restrictions on who she would talk to.

Any while we're on the subject of being NPR-ish (I now continue in a hushed, un-intimidating, up-speaking whisper)...I found poetry reading podcasts on the same trip. Just people reading poems...some of them have a scholarly introduction. I listened to Prufrock and Wasteland yesterday while driving.

See if I can't find Witch Burning today.

Beth Austin said...

In the marketplace they are piling the dry sticks.
A thicket of shadows is a poor coat. I inhabit
The wax image of myself, a doll's body.
Sickness begins here: I am the dartboard for witches.
Only the devil can eat the devil out.
In the month of red leaves I climb to a bed of fire.

It is easy to blame the dark: the mouth of a door,
The cellar's belly. They've blown my sparkler out.
A black-sharded lady keeps me in parrot cage.
What large eyes the dead have!
I am intimate with a hairy spirit.
Smoke wheels from the beak of this empty jar.

If I am a little one, I can do no harm.
If I don't move about, I'll knock nothing over. So I said,
Sitting under a potlid, tiny and inert as a rice grain.
They are turning the burners up, ring after ring.
We are full of starch, my small white fellows. We grow.
It hurts at first. The red tongues will teach the truth.

Mother of beetles, only unclench your hand:
I'll fly through the candle's mouth like a singeless moth.
Give me back my shape. I am ready to construe the days
I coupled with dust in the shadow of a stone.
My ankles brighten. Brightness ascends my thighs.
I am lost, I am lost, in the robes of all this light.

Beth Austin said...

p.s. "Prufrock" was the first poem that I finally "got" only after reading and reading and reading. "Wasteland" was the first poem I ever studied from initial version to Pound's edits -- SO interesting to me how all-over-the-place it started out and how purified it became, in a good way.