I don’t think we’re talking transference OR projection here, I think we’re talking awareness. Growing awareness, set off, perhaps, by my daughters getting to the boyfriend stage.
Which was in fact a stage I never got to.
Bear with me, I’m working this through: isn’t that what telling your story is about?
I had this kind of epistolary, brief fling with one of my daughter’s boyfriends. At the time it seemed harmless, exciting, not weird at all; there was no real contact, really no reality at all. Just a few letters. What did I write? Anyway, looking back (this is what 6, 7 years ago), I truly hope I didn’t mess him up any more than he already was.
The other major factors I recall were books. Firstly, Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus which I decided to give another go and this time it made perfect, crystal clear, cold crystal-clear sense to me, though not, I fear, in the way intended. For me it was resounding proof that we women will never TRULY connect with men, relate to them, understand them; nor they us.
Which, funnily, was a liberating factor.
Then I started reading DH Lawrence. I believe I kept Lady Chatterley’s Lover till last for some reason. I received further proof, particularly in Sons and Lovers.
Words can simply not express how I felt reading Lady Chatterley’s Lover. Again, not for the obvious reasons. My wonder was enhanced by the discovery that he had written three versions. I devoured them, and in each found a little bit of myself, a little bit of my story. It felt like I was constructing myself out of tiny glistening blocks of Lego full of promise. The eyes of the woman I made were wide open in astonishment, amazement, hope. In what gloomy, windowless dungeon had I been withering all these years?
As I desperately, joyfully, painfully clawed my way up the treacherous slope towards the light I looked around at the misery, the drudgery, the dullness, the LACK I’d been through.
Fault? No, no fault. That, too, I struggled with. How could I have been so stupid, why had I married him, why had I stayed with him, how had I put up with his continual scorn and abasement and destruction of me and my daughters’ happiness ?
It is because we are who we are and we go through what we go through and that is our path and when something happens to make us open our eyes and maybe give us the strength the determination to pull through to straighten our backs it is wonderful, but it is not easy, there are constant setbacks constant traps constant questions questions questions in our heads but that is our path, we are on our path, advancing, advancing.
And then my lover arrived.
My cup overflowed.
And yet, and yet.
My lover gave me what had been missing all these years. No. My lover allowed me to take what had been missing all these years. And which I considered, still consider, was my due. Very much. So, no remorse no guilt no pangs of conscience whatsoever.
And the more the yawning chasms of lack of absence of ache of yearning were filled, the more I understood.
I understood that Marvin Gaye was right. A feeling of healing, a feeling of wellness, a feeling of rightness a feeling of completeness, quiet fulfilment.
I understood that thanks can be directed not only at the good things or people that happen, but at the bad.
And I understood, yet again, that there is little going for sparkling long-term relationships, that it is seriously questionable whether they are worth the effort, and that religion/society/habit’s model of family life needs big-time amendments.
One can only arrive at that point on the path when one gets there.