First you find the ends, then you find the center went one of my first rope lessons. This has proven of infinite utility.
I had the epiphany – the sort of clear, sharp epiphany I thought was left behind with teenage years – that for most of my life, I’ve sought sorts of self-destruction. This has been constant, reflexive and very deeply ingrained. They’ve been gentle, relatively safe forms like daydream and orgasm and the reflexive annihilation of thoughts and impulses. Sometimes the form has been: going away inside. At times it was a reversible alternative to suicide. Often it was a coping mechanism for the intense emotions and ideas I had no way to pursue.
Then December brought a stunningly beautiful cold spell and successful month at work, and every remaining self-destructive impulse flipped to generative. I hadn’t known how consistently I nixed myself, stopped my thoughts, held my hands down until I let these things flow. Propriety and morality kicked in and kept me from crossing inappropriate lines. I was whole and at peace. How incredible is that? Growing-up keeps surprising me with a wealth of joys that only come from experience and knowledge. No one ever tells you that – or ever told me that – when you are young. But so it is and I am happy.
Perhaps this creativity was an end, or perhaps it is the center between annihilation and feral joy. I don’t know and do not have to know yet. But there are other ends and other centers.
I found my end of the spectrum of sexual whim in San Francisco, playing with lovers who caught my eye. More precisely, I found and fetishized an extreme state of transience. I loved the glint of your eyes and the already-fading marks of suspension hemp, and didn’t care what came to-morrow. It was beautiful and I do not judge or regret it. For so many years I had experienced sexuality at the other end of the spectrum – as a victim, or a girl acquiescing to a relationship without nearly the self-awareness and confidence to seek her desires out. (This of course simplifies everything, and I experienced many moments in-between all along the way with good men/women.) But – having known both ends, I can see a center of what I want; a matrix of steady connection, always in flux, holding transient joys.
I’ve punched my fist numb in spun-up desire and held my palms to the earth grounding acknowledged want, and now I can look at my hands and see all the capability of restraint and love and labour. And I know my strength.
I’ve been the hurt girl in voluminous skirts, delicate in every way and calling for help with every non-verbal cue. I’ve been the tough boy in jeans moving through the factory. And now I can synthesize the whole damn woman, use my strengths and work through the challenges; come to the table zen and honest with something to offer and plenty of mistakes to make.
I’ve no real point except that I’ve inhabited a lot of ends, oscillated and fucked up and pondered and feel a great deal more whole and balanced; ready to get things done.