As I sit in my therapist's office, I find myself wondering where Electra has gone. It is the reflection of self, you see. The way that I call my diary 'Electra's dictionary'.... it encapsulates a million fragments of cells of self. Celves. In regards to 'self' this personification of a Greek heroine is the mirror I use because.... at the center I know I first became lost when I did not know what to call myself. Electra.... or What?
Beth who is What. What? Bastard, or unwanted, discarded child was my very first role. I used to think I should have been aborted. I'm sure this would be appalling to those people who advocate against this sad procedure. But I remember the first time I ever heard of this as a kid and I thought: it would have been better that way than to live unwanted. And so I journeyed through life in search of some place to belong. I guess it was a blind, unspoken yearning to belong to someone.
And here I find I am actually past all that now. So am I still Electra? The heroine who mourned for father....? As I sit there talking and responding to Margery, I hear myself say things that are true but that I cannot imagine that me ever saying …. only six months ago. What has happened? I have outgrown the need for father. And it is because I realize now that this void I tried to fill was always what was holding me back. I have always been stronger than I ever gave myself credit for. I never needed any father. What I longed for, really, was complete acceptance of me. But I can do that for myself, can't I? I don't need anybody to do that for me. I see now that I always changed to be accepted because I wanted to be loved so bad. That was the mistake. Only it was a child's mistake that kept me blind all these years and it came from the harm that occurs from being not wanted. There was no way to see this until I finally stumbled and fell so many times and only now can I shed this old crutch. I never needed anybody and every time I thought I did was when I faltered.
So I think of Bran and …. yes, I still miss him. My heart has not let go of him. The father figure, even as he is the same age as me, it was the brand of his affection that pulled me under his spell. His compassion and feeling and the way that he instinctively gave protection through his method of love. And this was the most dangerous to me. I couldn't help but be mesmerized by this, but it was deadly to my Self.
Suddenly, Margery says,
“What really happened with Bran? You never said....”
I do not know how this woman can read my mind. Even as I told her about my new lover, she watches me now as I tell her about our hike on a snowy, frosty trail. And then she says this! She knows when I think of Bran. My mouth says Zack, but my heart still says Bran.
I look away because I knew this would have to come up. Since I have been back from Amsterdam, I have skirted this issue. Even to myself. But to lie to yourself is stupid, isn't it? Especially at this stage of my life.
“I got scared,” I finally say out loud.
I haven't even written this. I've been running from this.
She smiles at me and raises one eye brow and waits.
So I nod. I search for where to begin and plunge right in.
“I do what I do and have always done when somebody gets too close. I sabotage things....”
And I knew when I did it. It was a moment where I took flight. His telling me that he had to return to Wales, to his life, his family because Clair was ill-- it was like being …. left to the wolves. And the feeling of panic made me so angry. Because I trusted him. And he was turning me away. It was irrational, I know. But it set off some explosion in my mind, like a mental trigger. I had to protect myself before I let him reject me.
Finally, I say,
“I started a fight and I told him he was using this as an excuse. And I believed it! At the time. In that moment, I did really believe it. And I needed to lash out at him. I know I was wrong, but it was a knee jerk reaction. And I told him I never wanted to see him again. And I said a lot of other things that I.... regret.”
No, I have not written about this. I don't know why it's been so hard for me to confront. I know he was doing what he had to do and I reacted childishly. It was like some demon leaped out of me and words just came out of my mouth. And I was that stupid girl that I was each time my father rejected me and I kept going back, always expecting a different outcome. I was angry at myself for being back in that place again after years of avoiding a true attachment to someone because I can't trust closeness. It always ends up …. dumping me on the side of the road. Left for dead, like some little squashed thing; road kill.
Maybe I am safer without closeness. I don't know. I do not know how to let someone in without it compromising the place I built within. Not that I mean to be a coward, but-- I cannot seem to get this right without fucking up. I fear dependency even as I long for it only because I never really had it but I know it is dangerous for me. Why? Because it should have been something I long left behind but instead I learned to be defensive and always awake, staying watch for the first threat of danger. And then I destroy any possibility of …. ever being forgiven. It has always been my way. And it also perpetuates the self-fulfilling prophesy: I do not deserve love, I do not deserve anything good, I do not deserve shelter, just devastation.
As I explain this my therapist nods. She says,
“I thought so. But don't be so hard on yourself.... but maybe you should tell him this.”