Tuesday, August 11, 2009

In Any Other World (you could tell the difference) (or: An exercise in precarity) (Or: the Confessional Speaks)

It is amazing how exhausting getting 3 vials of blood drawn can be. And then, under the high-stress circumstances of waiting for test results, to answer questions about ones sexual proclivities and then defend those answers against charges of some subterranean self-loathing. And all with a head-ache that would have been so simply alleviated with a cigarette.

The good news, of course, is knowing where one stands with ones health. Knowing is half the battle.

Earlier this summer I declared my intention to go see "G.I. Joe" with a boyfriend, a boy I could share the silly joys of watching a summer blockbuster with, but who would also appreciate my childhood obsession with staging intricate G.I. Joe battle scenes. J. isn't at all interested in watching this movie. That's fine, I suppose.

The "counselor" who debriefs you after your blood is drawn at Howard Brown, who asks you questions while you wait for your results, this man got under my skin.

"You're an intellectual you said," he says to me, "and so this is where you find your validation. But where do you go for your emotional validation, how do you let yourself feel exposed and cared for?" This in the service of prying into the psychological motivations behind my occasional interest in bare-backing. "I think it's rare for you not to be the smartest guy in the room," he continues, "but you don't feel safe when you are emotionally vulnerable. Instead, you confuse physical vulnerability--bare-backing--with emotional vulnerability."

This guy, who boasted his two MAs in psychology, he got under my skin. "You're trying to charm me," he interrupts when I start speaking of the few times I bare-backed. "Most guys would find what you're saying very seductive, especially the way you say it--you're trying to seduce me: very witty, ironic, too hip to really invest. I think you're trying to destroy yourself on some level."

I boast of my defiant will-to-power. I survived a bottle of Klonopin and a pint of Jack, I tell him: I'm very good at second-guessing, and then denying, my own death-drive. Even if on an unconscious level.

"So you'll let someone else do what you don't have the strength or courage to do yourself?"

I was ready to murder him. I was so confused. I'm still confused. He wanted things to be so fucking simple: these practices will kill you, therefore they betray some pathological self-loathing, some unconscious death-drive. Is it that simple? He wants me to see a therapist. I told him my Old Man is an analyst, that we are very close. I told him about this space, my blog, where I can see myself at a distance, like a character in a novel: so I can read the person who writes these posts, as if I were someone else.

It's been ages since I've been subjected to such prying questions. It's been ages since I've been in a position where I have to answer for myself. It was wholly unsettling. Especially since I have the uncanny suspicion that this guy might have been getting at something.

-The life of the mind is too complicated to trace discrete causality (Heraclitus).
-He may have been flirting with me: this was a means of sexual seduction (Foucaultdian power dynamics/Freudian transference).
-I was physically weak from getting blood drawn: I usually faint (London, NY).
-I was nervous about the result of the test, therefore susceptible to particular lines of criticism, especially pertaining to health and sexual practice.
-Admitting that there are unresolved psychical issues in one domain may be, itself, a means of escaping other more veiled (or not so veiled) unresolved issues that are also weighing on my mind (school, J., ect.): the fetishization of an interpretation: acquiescing to an ideological interpretation so as to avoid confrontation with other anxiety-inducing psychic phenomenon.
-The last few days I've been the spectator to J.'s negotiating the bullshit with his roommate, a position that has been very frustrating for me, which has left me rather powerless to effect any actual change in the situation, to fix it, to make him feel OK. Further, I've also been the target of J.'s frustration simply by virtue of my being-there with him and him knowing that I will not blow-up at him: I've been, to a certain extent, his punching-bag, allowing him to vent his anger onto me without indulging him. Still, I've been getting beaten-up a bit, even though I know he doesn't mean any harm to me.
-The person with whom I might have been exposed to the bug is someone I shouldn't have been sleeping with in the first place. There is a certain degree of guilt over the potentially infecting act independent of whether or not it got me sick.
-J. turned to his other friends this afternoon after I left and by the time he showed up this evening I had the chance to watch him eat and then say good-bye.
-It is possible that, aside from the fucked-up roommate, the person who could have stolen J.'s money is a boy I introduced into his world, which would make me feel responsible second-hand for the bullshit he's having to deal with now.

I told J. that I fell in love with the Writer because, in no small measure, he was the first man to ever be intimate with me. He could have fucked me, abused me, who the hell knows, but I would have let him... But he didn't. Every once in a while, when we were out, he would stop himself and look at me with a distinct intensity that was wholly disarming. And then, occasionally, he would run his hands through my hair. It was a touch designed to make me feel good, without any demand attached to it. I said somewhere--maybe here--or to someone--maybe the German--that without the Writer I would have floated away into the isolated world of my own thoughts, of texts, ideas, arguments, lecture notes: an intangible world of my own design.

The intimacy a professor feels with his students is erotic, certainly, but a forbidden eroticism, one which must constantly be sublimated into intellectual pursuits. It is totally cerebral. The body, if it appears, must be transmuted into a mere means of communication: I gesture, I invite, but never to an embrace: to an aporia. In the midst of this I was out fucking anonymous men. My body was alive, even if momentarily in the fevered grasps of these men's crude hands on my neck, shoulders, hips. Yes: touch me, manipulate me, bend me, penetrate me: let me know that this thing that is all I am, that this thing is not dying slowly of atrophy. Bring me to the very edge, I suppose: make me fear death, a real death, literal, and not some metaphor for the slow leakage of vital energy. The Writer did this, but without malice. With intimacy, I suppose.

He was able to do this, I think, because he knew well enough that I was desperately hungry for the therapy he could offer. And, at the same time, he was willing to demand of me the same receptivity he extended: he never shied from a topic, never denied an interpretation (even if he didn't outright agree with it), and never allowed me to rest comfortable on my laurels.

One of the pitfalls of insisting, for myself at least, that I pretend that there is no past that gets between J. and I is that the past that is there is displaced, ignored, deferred to another time and place. The profound need I have to be reassured, to be held and protected, and the terrible doubts I harbor that this need is too much to ask--all this, too, is deferred, displaced, ignored. The Writer made no pretense about being damaged goods: we could move forward from there, I suppose, and I figure we did: we were both, at the time, what the other needed, without judgment.

It's funny, but I don't like his boyfriend because the way he hurt him was so cheap, too easy, too easily reconciled. There was no skill to it: it relied on the lowest common denominator--jealousy--and thereby reduced their intimacy to that level. All of this is fantasy. hahaha.

I want a boyfriend who will be able to skin me alive, like in Murakami's "The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle": slowly slicing my body bloody and raw, steeled to my screams, relishing the precision of his cuts, how clean they are, how translucent and in-tact the results of his flaying are: look: we could sew all this together again and here would be the shell of this person, the surface, the apparent truth of who he was.
And still, will keep his knife sheathed.

I told J. about Spencer. Again, another parallel to this afternoons ordeal. rape:syphoning::introspection:confession... He cried, I wrote this, and I got angry. That he could hurt my boyfriend, too. haha. That fucker is stronger than I thought, still too powerful, still to influential. To want to murder again, only this time not for myself, but for J. There isn't a pit deep enough to bury him in. There isn't a knife sharp enough to cut him up with. He lives in my chest, nestled there, like a Christmas tree ornament: wrapped in newspaper lest he break open and spill all through-out me, his shards cutting me open again and again and again. Maybe I want to kill him in me. Not me, but him. And he lives inside me, the fucker, like a prince, safe and sound, protected by my own recriminations, my own doubts.

My father called me "the prince." As slur. Like nigger or faggot. A reference to Freud: "His majesty, the baby." A charge against my mother as much as me. I am listening to Rufus Wainwright's "The Rebel Prince". "Where is my master the rebel prince? Who will shut all of these windows? It's these windows all around me, it's these windows who are telling me to rid my mind of all its preciousness." Rape as the literalization of introjection: a forced identification.

J. has been distant. I said to my Momma, he's here with me but his thoughts are on this nonsense--I'm little more than a temporary distraction. The German and I spoke about this concerning J. himself: is he nothing more than a distraction, a blissful foray into an intimacy that is destined to wane once the demands of the life I want are made of me once again? Is there a place for him in my life beyond this summer, beyond this time when I can be carefree? Will he have the patience to listen to me go on about my school work? Will we find time for one another in the midst of our course schedules? Am I just deluding myself about the possibility of this being something I can actually hold onto, a dream that I will wake to the next morning?

Deeds cannot dream what dreams can do.
-e.e. cummings

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