Tuesday, 26 June 2007

Proof that I'm not Poultry

Amoir asked... My question: just what is it you're trying to suffocate within?

When I was 16 and 1 month, I got on a plane, with people I did not know, for 36 hours to get to Geneva, Switzerland. I was going to live with a family I had never met, to speak nothing but a language that was not my own, with no parental supervision or rules. I was shit scared. I was excited sure, but mostly I was terrified. No one knew this, because like everything else in my life, I kept it carefully hidden behind a facade that was so damned sure of myself that no one knew when I needed help. But aside from being scared and green and naive, I was mostly looking forward to the adventure. The part of me that stifles the hedonistic had let go of the choke chain a little and let her breathe. The scariness was what made it so exciting, I was going to travel! alone!

Being there was so weird, I was a child, but I was an adult at the same time. Caught in that weird no mans land between, when suddenly all the rigidity of someone else's rules are taken away and you have yet to learn that you have to make your own. On the very first night that I went out with my host "sister", we went to a club (Drinking age in Switzerland is 16) and as we walked in, I had a handful of condoms thrust into my hand from a platform wearing transvestite, a beer into the other, and in the dark swirling mists people were gyrating in a hedonistic orgy of youth. To some of the others that I met on this exchange it was like Christmas time. To me, in my sheltered naivite it was like a scene from Dante's inferno. The chaos and the abandon of it frightened the hell out of me. But at the same time it was incredibly seductive.

All those things on the fringe of polite conversation and those things that are never talked about before children were all on pulsating, rhythmic display there. Sex, drugs, rock and roll. Joie de vivre. I was a virgin who liked Roxette and had never tasted alcohol - and suddenly they were all out on display for me to choose what I wanted like a bloody vending machine. And that beast curled up in the pit of my belly wanted to embrace it but I was petrified. I'm not sure what of... but I suspect, it was taht I might like it too much.

Aside from being felt up in a crowded marketplace by a sleazy old Frenchman who tried to get me into a corner and finally offered to pay me for "favours", I didn't do anythign remotely hedonistic on that trip... I instead explored the countryside by myself, including sneaking over the border into France via a broken fence so that I could go and sit in a tree and dream. It wasn't until I came back that I realised how much fear had held me back. I think I would like to blame youth, I was too young to go on my own, but in truth it was also me. That fear of something. I loved that trip, I loved seeing things and exploring, but as far as personal growth goes, not much happened.

I came back changed though. Veil lifted. Adulthood in front of me and childhood fading in the distance. And completely lost. For the first time in my short life I had no idea what was going on, who I was or where I was going. I ended up majorly depressed, attempted suicide once or twice, took to self harming, got myself an eating disorder and started a tempestuous affair with music and art. I was no longer the good girl, the high achieving gifted one with a starry academic future because I had seen that there is more and I craved it. I needed more.

I got through that final year of school and got my stupidly high OP and was even more lost. I went to College got Eden's forbidden fruit served up on a platter and for the first few months I still couldn't embrace them. I was too afraid to be a different me. Different from Jenny. But Phil was there. Oh hell yes she was there. As Jenny watched the others, Phil was yearning, wanting to be a part of it all. Part of all of it. Wanting to be in the middle of the dancefloor. Wanting to know what it was like to feel on that beautiful edge between pure enlightened intoxication and slurring, drooling bore. Wanting to know what it was like to press your body against someone and feel it take over. To know what love is like. To know what it is like to be one voice in a crowd at a rally. To crowdsurf while listening to lyrics that feel like they were torn out of your own soul.

The struggle between J & P was valiant. I knew J. I felt safe with J. But Phil, she spoke of highs that I could not even fathom. And she suckered me in, little by little. Til I got to feel what it was like to touch the sky. And I loved it. By God I loved it. I wanted more and more and more. So I partied, I drank, I danced, I fell into a tempestuous heady hormone spiking relationship and I was so high that I think my eyes were permanently gold*.

But then when outside life intruded, when Nana got sick and died, I realised how empty so much of it was. It was fun, and it induced sensations in me as incredible and ascendant as the most Earth shattering of orgasms, but when it was over, they all rolled over and went to sleep, and when I really needed it most they started snoring.

So I stepped back a bit. And I tamped down Phil. Phil was on the rampage by this time, she wanted to party harder, she wanted me to have sex with abandon just cause the guy was kinda cute and she wanted to know exactly how good those muscles felt tensed above her, she wanted me to be a slave to music and spend every last cent on hard to get indie albums, she wanted me to spend my life in search of the selfish joie that makes the body quiver.

But I wanted more out of life than that. I wanted more than the transient and the ephemeral. I wanted love that isn't tempestuous, but is steadfast and warm to come home to. I wanted to feel like I had ground under at least one of my feet. So I reeled her in, put her back in her box, and started again.

And God I love this new life of mine. I love Jenn. Adore her. For all her foibles and there are many she still feels comfortable to me. I know her, I love her. She's not Jenny, we're never going back to that, but she's not Phil either. Phil left an indelible mark though, a quest for a life less ordinary. An absolute need to push the boundaries. A need to explore and do things that are outside of polite conversation. But that are still within her safety net. When it comes to sex and love and life, I do things that would shock some (and would be positively vanilla to others lol) and try and channel those flashes of discontent into the tangible.

But there are times when the prosaic and the pragmatic tire me. Bore me. Scare me that at 25 I"m tied to a life that is missing out and that has deviated from my vie moins ordinaire. Where I want to go out and smash down all my barriers and do things that will hurt my husband and my children and my family and friends but that will feel briefly amazing like they did when I was Phil. But I curb them because as amazing as being out of control was, my life now is better 98% of the time. I am so happy it is ridiculous. But there is still that beast lurking in my belly.

Hmm, a lot of waffle there, but I don't edit posts so it's going up as is... I hope that's answered the question OK Amoir - can't wait to read your entry ;)

*My eyes are brown/gold/green and change colour according to mood. When I am angry they go almost black, sad they go green, happy they are brown, when I am beyond happy, when I reach joie they go gold.

1 comment:

Amoir said...

Crap. I now have to write one now, don't I?


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