Monday, August 27, 2007

Ownership, Control, and Possession- Part I

“I cannot make the changes smoothly, from one relationship to another. Some parts of me tear off like a fragment, fly here and there. I lose vital parts of myself, some part of me stays in that hotel room, a part of me is walking away from this place of haven, a part of me following another as he walks down the street alone, or perhaps not alone: someone may take my place at his side while I am here, that will be my punishment, and someone will take my place here when I leave.”
- A Spy in the House of Love, Anais Nin

Subversion in the House of Love

When I was in college, my boyfriend worked the night shift.

There were nights when I counted the broken paint chips on some stranger’s wall long after the passion waned, my bored eyes darted back and forth between the indentations while he slept, satisfied, next to me. And then, the next morning, I’d fly off of his couch in a frenzy, my back drenched from the summer heat and the smoky stale humid air. I longed to reach my destination so I could start the detoxification process. The fitful restless sleep the night before did nothing to squelch my mounting guilt.

First, I would remove my clothes, carefully depositing them in the hamper, wrapping the soiled fabric in clothes from the bottom of the pile. His cheap cologne saturated it and the new scent would be easily discernable to a suspicious nose. Next, I’d wash myself, soaking in a lavender sea salt bath. Depending on where he left his seed the night before, I thoroughly scrubbed each area of my body clean with a wash cloth. Standing naked in front of a full length mirror, I inspected my neck, arms, breasts, back, and ass for any dubious markings and then applied a generous portion of lotion to all the sensitive parts. And last, but not least, the removal of the spunk-filled taste from my mouth assisted by rigorous brushing, flossing, and rinsing.

“I fake it so real, I am beyond fake.” *

All of my “preparations” for his arrival did nothing to erase the guilt from the night before, I was a cheater, and my careful physical cleansing could not change it. In fact, it actually increased my anxiety at the thought of being “discovered”. What was I hiding from? Why was I lying? Did the relationship mean that little to me? And if not, why was I deliberately deceiving him?

I know my boyfriend was under the impression he was in a monogamous relationship. And, I, for the first time in my life, was entertaining thoughts of forever. Yet, internally, I was a fragmented woman, living a double, if not quadruple life. But still, I felt the pressure to be “the woman he wanted me to be” - monogamous, possessed, and contained. I was his woman. The container was air tight and even though it was safe, I was suffocating because I wasn’t able to truly be myself.

“The Fox Confessor Brings the Flood” **

My ‘true self’ was an adventurous, young twenty-something who needed and craved sexual freedom. And even though I was desperate to protect the relationship and my investment in the relationship at any cost, I had a rebellious, independent, willful streak, which refused to be tamed. I saw other women my age gradually lose themselves in relationships that did not honor, support, or nourish them on a soul level. Tremendous effort and energy were infused into these toxic pairings at the expense of their personhood. Dreams were abandoned or put on hold “indefinitely” each day until there was only a shell remaining. Individuality discarded, these women embodied the exact opposite of what I wanted.

“You’re such an inspiration for the way I would never ever choose to be.” ***

At the time, I didn’t understand why or how I might live differently, but I knew then traditional monogamy was not for me. However, I was at a loss as to how I might explain these startling revelations to my sweet, intelligent, amazing, sexy boyfriend without losing him. Certainly, at the first hint of infidelity he would be out the door sooner than I could get a word out.

“I want to be the girl with the most cake.” *

For two years, I continued to flirt with disaster and sabotage the relationship with my subversive behavior. Eventually, it was an intense relationship with another woman which ultimately killed it. Losing him, even though I’d been fucking around for quite sometime, left me no less devastated than if I had been faithful the entire time. Because what I really desired was his acceptance and absolution. If I could’ve admitted each transgression to him, while he held me and loved me anyway, it would’ve been bliss.

“I begged the moon and the stars above for sacred love.” ****

We can never “own” anyone, regardless of how hard we push ourselves on them. Each person is like a vast universe unto themselves and trying to possess another is a futile attempt to play God. Recognizing there will be parts of our partners we never will have access to, or be able to touch is key. And, hell, even if you could own, control and posses all aspects of your lover, would you want to? Observing and uncovering the mystery of another human being is half the fun.

Jealousy strips us of the opportunity to learn from one another. It clouds our vision, confuses, and yes, it fucking burns. Owning and controlling another is not love and attachment is not love. Allowing our partner the freedom to be and to become is the highest order and the most honest way to love someone.

However, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t fucking burn.

Sally Sunshine may look pretty evolved from where she’s standing right now…but just wait…. Stay tuned for Part II, when I examine my own jealous attempts to control others.

Let the burning commence.

*Lyrics: Doll Parts, Hole

**Lyrics: The Fox Confessor Brings the Flood, Neko Case

***Lyrics: Judith, A Perfect Circle

**** Lyrics: Sacred Love, Sting

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