anger · fear · growth · recovery · sex · sexuality · the middle way · vulnerability

Discovering The Third Thing




A or B, Molly? Your life depends on it. Is it black or
white, Molly? Your life depends on it. Is Dad coming home right now, your life
depends on it. Is he in a temper-FIGURE IT OUT-your life depends on it. Is Mom
crying? Is she still alive-LISTEN HARD-your life
depends on it. Is it black or is it white, Molly, YOUR LIFE DEPENDS ON IT.
A woman I met once and have never seen or sought out again asked me, What if there’s a “third thing?”
Much of what I hear is about how we break things into black
and white, but that life is not that way. There is an indoctrination, as above
italicized, that makes us learn and perceive that life is and must be black and
white as a way of survival. And in adulthood, that must be unlearned.
What folks have suggested as remedy to this, however, is
“life is gray,” shades of grey (no allusion intended). That it’s somewhere in
the middle.
Years ago, I decided that “grey” didn’t work for me in this
metaphor, too bland; that instead, “not black and white” could be interpreted as “in
color.” Life isn’t “black and white;” it’s in color.
But, this woman told me something else entirely. That it’s
something I haven’t even conceived of before.
We were not talking about life. We were talking about sex.
I was telling her how I’ve vacillated in my life between the
icons I have named Betty Crocker and The Vixen. How I swing the pendulum of
myself from one to the other; bored by the first, burned by the second.
I was emailing with a friend yesterday about how some of situations I find myself in at the moment are reminiscent of something that happened in my early twenties,
a situation I got myself in as a result of swinging from Betty Crocker to the
Vixen, to disastrous results. She pointed out a few places where things are different now, that I’m
sober, older, and it was just plain different.
But there is a rubber band that pulls this circumstance
back to then, a sense memory that lashes out, OH! UH-UH we’ve done this, lady!
Remember!! Remember the outcome, the consequences, the disaster! Warning,
She tells me it’s not the same. I remind myself of the year;
I look around myself at who and where I am. And it’s very freaking hard to
separate the past from the present.
Which brings us back to the trust I’ve been working on. To
trust that I am different, that I am safe, that I can allow myself to
experience life in a different way today. That I am able to be the third thing.
It only occurred to me today that perhaps the person I’m
becoming as I sort all this out is the
third thing, neither the puritanical Betty Crocker (who avoids all human
contact in search of the unicorn idea of a risk-less relationship), nor The
Vixen (who overrides all hesitance toward prurient wantonness).
I had my first initial phone call yesterday with a woman who
works somatically with trauma. We’re scheduled to meet next Wednesday, the one
day I have off rehearsal during “tech week.” As helpful and warm and not really “getting into anything” as our
conversation went, my body closed up tighter than an asshole over a flame. And, this is why I want to see her! (duh.)
I used the words “ingress” and “egress” a lot in my morning
pages today, the allowance of things to enter and to exit. Currently, I allow some of
myself out, but I refuse anything entry. Or, if I allow entry of someone or some
emotion, then I refuse them anything in return.
The two-way mirror of my skin. One side can look in, the
other cannot look out.
The third thing, here, would be a window, instead. (Don’t
even suggest something without a pane; I might deck you.)

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