in search of capacitancegreenspun.com : LUSENET : Daily Tales : One Thread
In Search of Capacitance
It's early am. I'm not sleeping well tonight, and there's an underbelly to this edge that has me wondering if I've found one of those cul de sacs of hidden motive that has gone unexplored - til now.
A fellow came back into my life yesterday who has been problematic in the past. Dennis is his name. "Danesh", as he's known in Kathmandu. "Trouble". It's a serious and legitimate moniker.
He's an American quasi-ex-patriate who divides his time between here and there. Noble work - runs a foundation that installs solar electrical systems at remote Buddhist monasteries in the mountains south of Everest; good inventor, smart the way I like 'em, generous in a full (but self-serving way); big, strong and handsome; great overall male specimen from an American military family, and both aware and proud of it...
He began to court me in the aftermath of my break-up with my first boyfriend after my divorce - another "John" who talked me out of the mountains I'd fled to post-divorce (another story - holed up north of an Indian Reservation deep in the mountains of Humboldt County, I almost made the break from Eugene and this whole life, but John convinced me to come back to Lane County, live with him, finish with the store, work his farm, yada yada...then when I came back home, he changed his mind. Simple as that.)
Dennis was waiting in the wings.
He's the kind of guy who likes those he sees as powerful women - and then, he's also the kind of guy who likes to find their soft spots, and then he likes to push there. Hard.
Dennis and I went to Nepal and India together. It was one of the most amazing experiences of my life, only in part because it was so emotionally horrible. I certainly did confront demons - in order for something to be deeply horrible, you have to be opened up to it.
The rawness of the experience - for he's an experienced trekker, and so I was trekking - no guides, (we had porters, thank goodness, but the terrain was light, really), or any of the other landmarks of familiarity that tourists often have - opened me even more fully to the interpersonal dynamic that came out in the intimacy between us.
He's rugged, and he speaks the language well, so my experience is even more acutely one of being an 'outsider alone', since there are no other English speakers, coping and keeping up, with minimal comforts. We spent time back in the mountains, visiting various solar installations, doing repairs, etc and the human tapestry I encountered amazed me.
Whether it was meeting Thapkay Lama - who says I reminded him of a woman from an old American Movie - a Buddhist monk who nursed me out of a bout of dysentery and found me one morning at his door, rags in hand, asking for a broom and a bucket of water because I had awakened with a voice in my head intoning "Clean the Gompa (temple)", which I did with the help of a 3 year and 6 year old temple helper crew - a Green Tara temple that hadn't been cleaned in years, and Thapkay was thrilled, certain I was a Green Tara goddess; or whether it was meeting the schoolmaster and his wife at the Hilary School, where we talked of canning and education, apple pie and the internet, or so many others...
I was fascinated by these people (I feel a very deep bond with the Sherpa Nepali), and Dennis was completely obsessed with making certain that I didn't trust myself enough to talk to them. He managed this by criticizing whatever I did or said, since he has a long list of things I need to do in order to become a better person, and he consistently insisted that I be quiet until I learned all of the right things to say, and how to say them, and when.
I hadn't experienced this sort of man-woman power trip in a very long time - not since mother and I were the victims of my step-father's violent streak - and that trip into this foreign place, coupled with his charisma, good looks, and great facility at sweet-talking, kept me off-center and played me like a violin.
Our mountain time culminated in a frightening display where he threatened to hit me in order to bring me "into line", whatever that was, and I picked up my bags and left. Of course, one can't go too far when there isn't a plane for 10 days, and one doesn't speak the language, and the town is only 250 feet long...
In the end, it was a good thing. I'd brought money (against Den's advice); I felt terribly abandoned and betrayed, but after a couple of days I was able to get my bearings and meet lots of people and re-center myself in a "good time" til the plane came around again. Den came back down out of the mountains to catch the plane and we had a working reconciliation. He knew I wasn't a total push-over, and so some boundaries were present, but the dysfunction was far from being repaired.
I still had almost 2 months of trip left with him, and so our pattern of him exploding, and then me evaluating whether or not to give in or withdraw, based on the external circumstances, began to take shape. I started to see similarities in my mother's situation before me - drawn to her husband, tied to him, and discovering after the fact that he was heavily landmined.
Dennis is like an exotic landmined jungle. You wander through lush unexpected places and understandings, but you never know when you're going to step on a mine and have some unarmored part of you blow up.
I managed to stick out the trip with him, and I'm glad I did, for I continued to make lasting connections with people and places that I hold to this day. I knew that I could have gone it alone, but somehow I was compelled to hang in with it. I think this was just about the most dysfunctional relationship I've ever experienced, and it was actually teaching me a lot. I definitely do a lot of things in the world because of what I assume I'll learn.
Den and I officially came apart months later, back in Eugene, after he finally became fully violent with me, and hit me (he's 6'3, 200# - I'm what, 5'1; 100#?). Even then, I didn't flee but tried to understand. What is it with us women? It was a scenario fully out of the textbook for battered women; he's angry for making me hit him; then he's sad about hitting me; then he promises not to do it again but he can't look me in the eye and say it.
I sleep with him - no sex - that night. There's an odd tenderness in the aftermath of violent explosion that's almost intoxicating, and I can see how men and women could get into a very combative cycle. In fact, I can see how the raw intensity of the feeling may be the most reality that they can find in one another, because the love that corresponds to violence at this level of intensity is a very powerful love, and I don't find hardly anyone who can even briefly be the wick for the sort of lamp that real love can light. Violence is the easier of the two, it sometimes seems.
I make distance. Or try to. But I'm pulled back into the relationship, and it sputters for awhile as I struggle with whether or not to make violent behavior the line in the sand that I won't cross. I'm amazed with myself that it's even a question, but I realize that people can make mistakes, and try to make room for that possibility.
And besides, Den's not a bad person. He has great and underappreciated qualities, and I've always been a sucker for the underdog genius. He just has this little glitch in his operating system that means you have to re-boot much too often, and your hard drive is always getting corrupted, and you lose data. And energy. And sleep. Good for learning, but unsustainable.
My emotional retreat caused him to pursue me and, since I loved him - for I did - it was not a cut-and-dried ending for us til I was obviously involved with someone else. The "someone else" was my kind, sweet, gentle-souled Douglas - thank the gods for that bittersweet refuge of eventual disillusionment that was, for awhile, all I needed in the world.
I never knew that people could be so radically different (I still hadn't fully faced all my own Beings Within), with deeply hidden sides that can be painful to encounter. I hadn't experienced the kind of denial that passes as an impoverished forgiveness - the capacity to walk around one day as if the violence from the previous day had never happened - since I was a young girl. I think it was good to experience this as an adult, and to have the big me take it in and put it into a more grown-up and empowered context.
But what happened today makes me question my capacity for that. Den's just come back to town, and he's just got wind of my singularity (news travels fast in a town like this), and he's back in pursuit. Sigh
I feel like I should be able to draw boundaries that work for me, opening me to what I want to be opened to, and clearly demarcating where I don't wish to go. It bothers me that I'm not as strong as I want to be in these soft spots - I'm glad I'm not, because I don't want to be walled off from the world, but it sure can be a formula for disaster.
I don't like this set of contradictions that wells up in me - and yet, wasn't it just last week that I was extolling the self-educational virtues of contradiction? I think, however, the point I was making was that I preferred to be the embodiment of all sides of the contradiction, rather than engage in open warfare with another.
I suppose I gain a semblance of control at the expense of realism in my somewhat artificial internal oppositions - and perhaps that makes me more susceptible to the visceral impact of opposition that I don't control, when it comes along and can make it into my field.
In effect, I'm a sitting duck for someone who really wants to connect. (Woe is me if they're into power tripping the connection, like Den is. He doesn't have to be, but he's got a bad habit of it).
I hold myself loose and receptive as a matter of course, to the extent that this life I now have allows for such a thing, and I can tell I'm building up quite a charge, given my lack of satisfying emotional and physical connection for some time now. I've been feeling quite wonderful, lately - happy, strong, vital, attributed in part to my heartfelt, if minimal, contact with you - and I guess that has a scent to it - pheromones or something.
I wish I wasn't so damned hungry for touch. I feel like I wouldn't be so vulnerable if I didn't need to love and be loved so deeply. I wish I'd managed to be with you a couple of days ago, and sated my hunger for contact with someone that I feel trust for, and that I feel safe with.
Send me some prayers for strength, insight and fortitude, ok?
Overheating, and shopping frantically for a bigger capacitor...
PLUR. Remember PLUR
-- Anonymous, January 04, 2002
...and just to continue with one small thought, I learned last night that the cure for the Danesh is the Dance...
-- Anonymous, January 05, 2002