copyright 2003, by Iscariot
And now the beat inside me
Is a sort of a cold breeze and I’ve
Never any feeling inside
Bring my body
Carry it into another world
I know I live…but like a stone I’m falling downFalling Again – Lacuna Coil
I make no apologies, I am who I am.
It might be that acceptance, that self-belief that troubles others, that causes them to shy away, or call me “harlot” behind my back.
Common thought would have it that I should show some shame for who I am, for what I do; that I am somehow less respectable because I deal with that part of the human psyche that the prim and proper consider somehow wrong. But then, polite society has always feared emotion, unless that emotion has been ruthlessly brought to heel and muzzled.
But then it has always been fear, which has held us back.
Fear of the unknown.
Fear of the different.
But most of all fear of the self, of what lies within.
It just wouldn’t be proper for that righteous Christian woman to lay down her bible for a moment and enjoy the unfettered spirit of who they are, or who they might be, instead they bind themselves, with rules, with lies, with deceptions of who and what they are…..simply because they are afraid.
But he was different, and so for that matter was his friend whom he’d obviously brought along for comic relief.
I’d occasionally seen the friend before. Not him, specifically, but his type. Tired, world-weary and cynical, but still-retaining some vague belief that the world wouldn’t such a bad place if all the scum were quietly rounded up and herded off a cliff. To him I wasn’t scum, to him I was merely incidental. If it hadn’t been my girl that died then my existence was moot. That it was merely brought me into the orbit of his work. I could have been an astronaut or a cowboy and he would have treated me the same.
But the other, he saw me, and that was the beginning.
I remember my mother, a strong woman, a good woman, weighed down by a world that was neither cruel nor harsh, but indifferent; even the strong wilt through lack of attention. My father, however, was not indifferent and at times I think it was only his brutality that kept my mother going; at least the self-hatred he articulated through his violence in some perverse way affirmed my mother’s existence.
My father never touched me.
Not out of hate,
never in anger;
never with love.
I’m not sure what I would have done if he had.
Don’t believe those who say that those of us, who work, for want of a better word - because this is not a job synonymous with industrialised detachment - in the industry, come from a history of abuse; if anything, I was abused more by a system that prided itself in recognising the mediocre and rewarding the homogenous. Square pegs and round holes doesn’t even begin to describe trying to fit into a system where white, middle-class and hetero-sexual were not so much the norm as a pre-requisite.
Society holds that conforming is good, that conforming teaches you how to belong to, and participate in, a community. All I ever saw was conforming teaching people to hate and to use stereotypes instead of thought to determine action. The mind of the madding crowd is neither coherent, nor characterised by a penetrating intelligence, and the pressures generated are more than likely to lead to internal combustion than a startling epiphany. It’s like Rita Mae brown said: ‘The reward for conformity is that everyone likes you except yourself.’
It’s never the loners that I see, nor the outcasts, only those for whom the conformity has become more than they can bear. The greater the responsibility, the greater the likelihood of falling, but the power that comes with reaching the alpha position is an aphrodisiac so intoxicating that removing themselves from it’s leech-like hold is something that cannot be. It’s like Milton’s Satan personified, to reign ma indeed be worth ambition, though in hell, but the hell in which they reign becomes little different than the perceived heaven for which they strive. So they come, singly, in stillness, undercover, masked, seeking solace in a place they openly revile in their conscious orations.
Anyway, pardon my soapbox.
From him there was no condemnation, only curiosity. At first I thought it simply the type of interest one such as himself devoted to a piece of evidence, his need to understand driven more by classificatory urges than any sort of genuine interest.
“What do you do?” he asked.
Not why, what. So few can free themselves from the almost reflexive need to judge, perhaps there is something to be said for clinical detachment.
What do I do? Now there’s the rub.
I’m not about sex. Sex is mechanics.
Don’t misunderstand, I’m not dismissing sex, it, like many things, brings its own rewards, and it can be fun when you’re with someone who needs neither a tutorial or a roadmap to get things moving. But seriously, what do you get from sex other than momentarily pleasure and an ever-expanding laundry bill? Sure, some may argue that it’s an expression of love, of sharing and affection; so are flowers and chocolates.
Yes, I guess I am a cynic, but then sex is used as a weapon it hurts a lot more than a slap in the face with a bunch of flowers.
So no, I’m not about sex.
I’m not about pain either, at least not in the physical sense, that’s what football’s for. Yes, my staff do utilise various accoutrements, which could be considered as pain inducing, but that’s not the point, if you want to get beaten up, go to a bar, in the long run it’s cheaper and probably more effective. Please note, there is a huge difference between receiving a “beating” and being “beaten”: for a start there’s no safety word in a fight: except maybe, ‘Police’.
He asked me that. “Why do you hurt people?”
“But they scream and the beg and they cry, surely that is pain.”
“That is their pain, not ours. In some cases that is why they are here.”
“But isn’t pain a private thing?”
“Only if you know how to express it. Many people don’t, and it gnaws at them until they simply can’t cope. Put it this way, it’s either me, or Jerry Springer, take your pick.”
The distant look in his eyes spoke volumes.
There is a large gap between what is said and reality. Merely having the words is never enough; emotion is too raw for mere words. Theory, for that is all that words are gives people the opportunity to hide; and hiding is what people do best.
“Isn’t that what you do with the evidence? Stop people hiding?”
“But those people have done something wrong.”
“There are some duties we owe even to those who have wronged us. There is, after all, a limit to retribution and punishment.”
“Indeed. Tell me, who are we, especially in a place such as this, to determine what is right or wrong within someone’s mind? You search for those who transgress the laws of society, but there are other laws, and it is those transgressions, real or imagined, which brings people here.”
Punishment is a misunderstood concept; how can you punish someone who comes to you of their own volition? Certainly, in their own minds some of these people deserve punishment. What we provide is catharsis, not a judgement; we don’t have that right.
The problem with punishment is that it is based on assumption, the assumption that you are serving the greater good by treating a person in a certain way because of their actions. Within society, it is believed that by punishing transgressors you provide some form of closure for their victims, a release, if you will. The problem is of course, that what is considered just by some, only makes things worse for others. We punish by discretion, the discretion of the client, for whom else can truly choose what is mete for them.
The humorous, wrinkled one understands this.
My parents never did.
It is harder to decide what was worse, the violent explosions or the inevitable silence that followed. The lack of sound was a disturbing thing; its unnaturalness only emphasized the uncertainty of what it presaged: an uneasy peace or an opportunity for the combatants to catch their breath. For my parents, it was generally the latter, and like trench-warfare combatants, nothing was learnt from the surcease of battle; silence was simply a signal to reload.
I, too, learned to fight; but it was in the silence left by my parents that I gained my education. In some ways silence and shadow became my confidantes and my lovers, coiling themselves intimately around me as I watched and learned, watching as others paraded their lives with the arrogant abandon that comes from caring nothing for consequences as they revel in their assumed immortality.
We think we’re bulletproof, indestructible; we know we’re not.
I think maybe he realises that I don’t claim to be bulletproof, I claim only to be myself but when I’m with him the silence becomes worthy of Bogart and Bacall.
Part 1 of 2
copyright 2003, by Iscariot