Excerpts in Unordered Time from a Healing Female Line
“Our first experience of fear is to be seperate from the mother body, the source of all life and happiness” - C.G.Jung
In this culture our second experience of fear is to be trapped by our mother/ parents in the house, the unit of capitalist exploitation which extracts profit from the lives and life-force of women and children. Animals in captivity often have problems breeding and displaying healthy, parenting behaviours with their offspring.
I am in my mother's house. I know the doors are locked. They will be, because it is night outside. They are always locked to the night. The night is, for her, dangerous. Dangerous for women, dangerous for children. Full of strangers, bad people, criminals, fear. Her fear.
I am required to be a part of the house by my mother. If she catches me trying to break away she will give me fear. Pour it into me from her mouth, from her eyes, her words, the ways in which she holds her body until I am bound by this fear also. For her peace of mind she needs to know that I am here, inside this house. Then everything that she cares about is locked up inside, safe, because she does not want to feel that fear. To get caught up in imagining the worst things which could happen away in the outside world. Things she has been told. Fears she has been given, from the man in the corner shop, from the girl at work, from her family, from television, from newspapers, from others, fear from her mother and her mother before that and how far back? I am locked in, by more than keys.
I am afraid, I am afraid of my mother's fear, but beside that I have my own, underlying tension. It makes me nervous to be trapped. Unable to escape. That is my fear, the fear of imprisonment. They fight within me, the fear of the guard versus the fear of the prison.
I learned to walk quietly around the house, so that I could listen. To check that the house remained silent I learned every squeak in every floorboard and every creak in every door until I could traverse the house as silently as a ghost without even thinking of it. It became habit, in order to bear everything. I would not even make the sound of breathing. Sometimes when I met people around the house, and spoke to them they would jump, with, “Oh! You scared me.” Strange I thought, they could be afraid of me? When there were much more scary things in the house.
I would not always stay locked in. At night when everyone was asleep, I could creep ever so quietly downstairs, avoiding the one, that creaky step. I could quietly unlock the back door, slowly moving the keys in the locks, not a creak, not a clatter and exit, ever so carefully, slowly shutting and locking it behind me. AND BREATHE. Then I was FREE! Outside in the world which was ALIVE! Everything sparkling in the streetlight, moonlight, starlight night and rustling in the wind, wafting tantalising scents of plants and earth and tarmac to me. The sound of my footsteps clear and crisp on the streets.
It is like playing Tetris to a point in a circle repeatedly around you. The game you learn to play from your mother, the flow of objects in space. Processing, preserving, purchasing, discarding. Working, scrubbing again and again and again. To survive. What would the earth come to look like around me if I could get to it? Down through the layer of concrete I have been caged upon and play that game there, planting and weeding. Letting things live or die.
The house becomes an extension of your body as you teach your child the game. Something that must be cared for, continued. You build the computer uterus, the cotton wool world of childhood, laced with television dreams. The place in which to hide from outside eyes the shit and the blood and the sweat and the tears of real life under the bright, clean hygenic carpets and work-tops. Women's work. Until one day you give birth for a second time. They leave the house conditioned to go and make another unit, to feed the rich, to continue the factory farmed human breeding program.
I ask myself. Shall I let it live or shall I let it die? This my creation?
“Got comfort, a pool and all the things that people come to Spain for during the summer. I'm sure you'll feel better about your home once you've had a trip away for a while. Sounds to me like you're going stir-crazy. I can understand that. I get VERY stir-crazy here,” says Mother.
The underlying fear that if you don't tow the line you will be attacked. A surface calm exists, hiding the emotions of a disturbed childlike being. I remember my dreams when I was a girl in her care that she was trying to kill me. The evil mother, the one which you hardly ever saw, suppressed as it was behind the mask of idyllic motherhood... But occasionally a crack would appear in that controlled exterior allowing out the years of rage in random unheralded violence. Crying out that the world is selfish, selfish.
The repeating patterns of abuse. Mother tells me about how horrible her mother and older sister were to her.
“They used to make things up about me, then punish me for them by not speaking to me. You know she didn't mention me in her will, or you two. I don't care about the money. She's having a dig at me from beyond the grave. I try to tell myself I don't care, but it still hurts. She didn't come to my wedding, none of my family did.”
“That's interesting,” I say, “you and my older sister have played out the same thing with me for a year when my child was young and I don't know why.”
“I don't remember,” says Mother.
How deep do you want to dig? How far back do you want to go? How much do you think you could handle to know? Picture albums by a railway line are sometimes not always picked up. Then the patterns just repeat as people go on unknowing and unknown.
Mother says, “It's like when I was young there was no security, my mother and father fought, my mother and sister ganged up on me. It was like the house had a personality and it was my anchor, my security and ever since I've needed that in my life. It was my comfort, my significant other.” Prison.
Learned helplessness is where you put a dog in a cage and give it [sic] electrical shocks if it goes on one side. It learns not to. Then you shock it if it goes on the other side which it learns and then you shock it randomly no matter what it does. In the end it just gives up and lies down there. Even when you open the cage and it could walk free.
I'd been up LIVING, in the night. Dancing and dancing, in a squat in another town. Train home in the morning light. I was happy to put music on and play Tetris in a circle around the house. Allowing my mind to wander as my body moved through the space. Letting the ego step back. While passing through the attic I thought to go and do something (I don't remember what now, it must have been something as interesting as tidying paper clips) and felt myself repress that drive, NO, a constriction in my trunk associated with the decision to not do the thing I wanted. I stopped still, thinking, “That's interesting, I wonder how it would look, that repressive construct, if I enlarge upon it through my body and allow it to flow onto my face.” I did so, and turned to look into the mirror to see what it was, and I was terrified for there was the face that used to haunt my nightmares, the child killer. The face of my mother SCARING me. Taught helplessness.
When I think of the violence in my childhood I feel powerless.
The house, my mother's body. My body, my mother's body, her mother's, mother's mother's, makes more compost. Life striving after life striving after life, while trapped in this machine perpetuates the loneliness.