So, there was the christ in christine email, with the stiff body part, which I closed and told myself I didn’t have to respond to ever, or in any particular way. And there was me trying to sort through what was his, what was mine, and what to do about any of it.
I realize in retrospect that I was so busy (during lunch) trying to receive his story at face value, trying to restrain my own jaded cynicism about his freshly broken-open heart, to meet him where he was, to not re-interpret his experience through my own paradigms (because it drives me nuts when people do that to me), that I’d stopped listening to my own, whatever you want to call it – my source, my intuition, my body. I was just listening to him, and shutting myself up.
But my body/source/intuition, of course, was still present, in spite of my mind not listening, and all I accomplished was to garble the messages. The cynicism of the moment was not my normal stance. Months later I consider it an unconscious reaction to a raft of mixed messages, forced through lessor channels of perception and response. The contempt I was trying to repress was what my mind was left to work with, once I denied my natural impulse to close my erotic energy body, and withdraw it’s implicit support for the fantasy that my sustained openness was encouraging him to get sucked into. My judgment became distorted when I stopped allowing my body’s wisdom to determine my degree of openness. If I’d just responded to my body fully in the first place, I’d probably have stopped that fantasy before it started. And if I hadn’t judged and repressed my own cynicism, I could have allowed myself to notice and be curious about where it was coming from, and then spoken honestly and calmly about my observations. I could have been present like a sacred whore, instead of a victim. That’s the difference between an erotically-embodied presence and the purely transcendent kind. But this insight into my contempt came later.
In the days after the follow-up email, snippets of the exchange would come back to me, accompanied by angry analysis, and I just let them float around. I talked through them with my husband. I examined how they connected to the way men treat whores (or other ‘available’ or sexualized women), how they reflected the civilized relationship of the mind to the heart, of spirit to body, why they pissed me off so much. I became clearer about some of what was bothering me:
First there’s betraying a woman he’s promised fidelity to: (go back to Terminology if this doesn’t make sense to you)
- He talked to me about his marital problems, he let drop that they hadn’t had sex in what for him was a very long time, he told me she didn’t understand him & had too much baggage. All that might (small chance, but not zero) have been ok if we’d known each other longer and built up some trust, AND if he’d talked about his marital problems from the angle of what he needed to do to improve things (as opposed to how she was failing to keep up with his spiritual growth), AND if he were looking for the advice of a respected old wise woman, AND if he weren’t also making goo-goo eyes at me, AND if he never mentioned the boner my presence supposedly caused. But packaged as it was, that combination is precisely my idea of gateway behavior to infidelity on his part. To me, he was already deep in wife-betrayal territory – and I felt enraged at just getting sucked into witnessing it.
- But even aside from all the above, simply knowing his wife wouldn’t be ok with any of it, and going ahead anyway – I call that betrayal. I don’t care if it’s sexual, energetic/erotic, emotional, or spiritual/divine – it’s betrayal. His wife is the person he vowed to merge with, and I never asked for any of that. Fixating on me, while talking about being unhappy with her – that is so far from acceptable in my own ethical framework. I felt puked on by being part of it. I wished I’d called him on it as it was happening. I felt like a sucker. I’m pissed at myself for participating in it.
Then there’s the Whore projection (the corollary of wife-betrayal)
- He was saying nicey nice things while treating me like a whore – and not a sacred whore, either. He was projecting his sexual/emotional/connection yearnings, his shame at those, his efforts to game the marriage system, onto me. This is exactly the shit I do not want to carry. Surface them, ok (someone’s gotta do it, and I still believe I can). Carry, no.
- Patriarchy split the feminine into the madonna and whore. Men’s confusion and frustration around women is what makes prostitution necessary. Civilization suppresses men’s ability to gain the understanding and skills they need to be a full and satisfying partner to a whole, live, woman. Men either can’t win a woman’s love in the first place, or else they act like oafs around their woman’s hearts and sexuality (physically, emotionally, spiritually) and slowly their intimacy and sex life fades away. Then, the chicken-shit ones, rather than face the mess they’ve been a big part of creating, they turn their yearnings, energy, emotions, attention elsewhere. They fixate on a new woman. As long as they keep running from their messes, all they succeed at is causing a whole lot of pain. I’ve seen this again and again. I have, bodily, absorbed the wounded, twisted energy this cowardice creates. I am still, 30 years later, releasing that energy. I try to avoid re-traumatizing my body with the vibrations of such messes as much as I can. Why would he assume I’d be complimented by that?
Then there is that whole sneaky business.
- In addition to betraying of his wife (which would be the same no matter who I was), he tells me she really wouldn’t be ok with it, if she knew I had been a whore. What the fuck was that?!? That was sharing his sense of titillation, of illicitness, with me, and projecting his own disapproval onto his wife. Separating me, in his mind and out-loud, from his own acceptable world. It didn’t hurt as he said it, nor did it later, not only because I didn’t care about him, but because I have lived with this shit for so long that my heart is toughened to bozos like that. What if he’d said to a friend – ‘I can’t introduce you to my wife because you’re too gay?’ How fucking loving is that? If I were gay, he’d know better, but whores are a category all their own. It would have hurt, if he’d meant anything to me at all – but just his saying it precluded that possibility. Who wants to be someone’s secret friend, because who you are is unacceptable to your friend’s significant others? Not me.
- Aside from the wife, just the embarrassment in general. Don’t try to suck me into your secrets. I’ve lived way too much of my life with this sort of shame about the erotic and the illicit hovering around me. I am scrupulous about it (I always have been – I was once a whore, but I was never a liar). If I’m too embarrassing for you, that’s ok – but you will not personally matter to me, you will never be a close part of my life. Your shame will not be my problem (but then, how is it I got back into this place, I wonder?).
And to top it all off, there’s the interpretation/assumption business:
- He said his wife wouldn’t understand – more likely, she would understand perfectly well, she would know he was full of shit. He was busy telling himself how chaste & spiritual it all was, but his wife would have known better. And so did I. I was just slow to separate his surface proclamations from the undercurrents – something I’m normally quick and adept at. But we’d entered the goo zone, and I seem to have a weird blind spot in there.
- He didn’t even ask if I wanted to be one with him, he flat out assumed that his desire must be my desire. He expressed his wishes as though the only unknowns were how to make them happen, not whether I shared them. He loved me, that’s all there was to it. What other reality could there be?
- He assumed he knew what my eye contact meant, he assumed there could be only one meaning. I can’t begin to tell you how feeble-minded that strikes me.
- He assumed I shared his belief in the rightness of moving the energy from the second chakra to the heart chakra, that transcending the body was a worthy goal, that willing ‘pure love’ is preferable to whatever is actually present (as if love has to be willed, and what’s present can be ignored). He kept washing over me with his spiritual beliefs, which, no offense to everyone who shares them – are not mine. Not because I find them alien or strange, but because I’ve been there, and I find them wanting. There are whole realms of existence that I’ve been trying to understand, which those beliefs utterly deny (or shit on) – sorry. I’m just not into the god thing. And I can’t begin to tell you how sick I am of people dumping their glistening god-thingies onto me.
- And last, why would I want to be treated like his Great Mother? People just suckle and suckle that Great Mother dry, and think that worshipful goo-goo eyes gazing up at her makes it all ok. That only works, briefly, if she chose to create or adopt that particular suckler, and only if she has her own adequate sources of nourishment. Even the great mother wants her kids to grow up some day, and become able to support her in her old age. And the great mother was never my archetype.
My mind keeps poking through our discussion, and the further it pokes, the more appalled I am at myself. No, it’s not that he has committed overt violations of anything, he wasn’t even mildly offensive. Another woman, or even me in another time, might take it all as a compliment. But that woman he thought he saw is not me, and that mess he’s trying to create is not something I want any part of.
There were all kinds of places where I should have turned it around, and somehow I let them all slip past me.