Thursday, February 15, 2007

Wounds Made Visible

There are two types of bad relationships; okay, there are lots of variations on a theme because truth be told, there are never two of anything, but humor me here -- both like being a dog in a yard. One dog is chained to something, and he can see the chain. He goes as far as he can, sometimes he strains against the chain, he tries to free himself. He can't, but that doesn't stop the impulse. The other is the invisible fence, the one that shocks you when you get too close to it. You can run around all you want, except when you get to the fence that you can't see and receive a jolt of electricity, the illusion of freedom. Most of us freak out when we see the first one, the arresting pictures of domestic abuse victims, especially the one from the latest edition of Our Bodies, Ourselves where you can see the tire tracks from where a woman's boyfriend ran over her with a truck. I admit to looking at the pictures from all the editions with an eerie regularity -- they have an authentic horrible quality that one seldom sees anymore in the service of good, the vivid depictions of botched abortions, stds, the wonderful and cruel business of labor, the wounds of women made visible.
As for the invisible fence, I've never had an actual dog, of course. But I've been in and witnessed those relationships as well. You can't take a picture of a yelling match or a mean comment or a silence so deep that it cuts the soul. When I was a child, I grew up around a bunch of electric fences made of barbwire to keep animals in their place. The animals didn't fear being cut so much as being shocked. My friends and I would take long weeds and see if the current would carry to us. It did, and we'd startle with the fear and then laugh. We'd have contests to see how much pain we could endure. We'd hold onto the fence and hold onto each other and scream in pain, let go, and laugh again until we got bored and did something else. We were preparing for our future.
Michelle's Spell of the Day
"I'm always looking outside, trying to look inside. Trying to say something that's true. But maybe nothing is true. Except what's out there. And what's out there is always changing." Robert Frank
Cocktail Hour
Drinking short story collection suggestion: The Brutal Language of Love Alicia Erian
Benedictions and Maledictions
Happy Thursday! Hope everyone who had a snow day enjoyed it! And Valentine's Day is over -- hope everyone survived and got lots of beautiful presents and cards. And love, yeah, that too.
53 Days until The Sopranos airs!


Barbara Wyre said...

I've always been a terrible fence-sitter.

Anna Nicole Smith said...

The great thing about J. Howard was that there were no wounds made visible. He left no bite marks of any kind, ever. All he left was his money.

Nicholas Cage said...

I'm a prickly pear.

Wikiweirdia said...

The title of the Unibomber's doctoral dissertation at the University of Michigan was "Boundary Functions."

Sigmund Freud said...

The pscyhological wounds Kate Winslet's character suffers in "Holy Smoke" were caused by her father.

R said...

The invisible fence kind of shock can be the most damaging, at least in my experience, the illusion of freedom, a very cruel joke we play on ourselves.

luma said...

Mi, it seems that some people need this surround or invisible chain. Unsafe people who if support in the will of the other. People who do not have auto esteem. The true love does not bring suffering. Very cold there?

Playdoh said...

The true love is of the underwater Jacques Cousteau world.

the walking man said...

Relationships between people are harder than the relationship with the dog and his invisible barrier, and sometimes more difficult than the dog with a chain.

At least the dog on the chain learns the limit quickly while the other has to get the shock godamn near every inch of the property line.

Humans aren't that smart, we always push for more just to see if we can jump the boundry line or pull the chain from its anchor. And when we find that our partner has a problem with something we did, women tend to use their mouth while stupid men tend to use their fists.

Never within the first ten years of a relationship between humans is rational conversation over the bad behavior an option.

Nope yell it out, beat it out, silence it out for days and then divorce the other, the one in your heart you decided you wanted to grow old with and stick with through the good AND the bad times.

Today everyone is allowed a trial marriage it seems. mine lasted two sperm shots and twenty one years of child support for two kids I hardley got to see, now the second one is approaching a quarter century and all of the screaming and yelling and bullshit is over with.

We come and go pretty much as we please because we have faith in each other so there is no longer a need for limits.

If I come home late, my old lady knows i wasn't out anywhere but the places I told her I was going to be and with the people I told her I was going to be with and that's where I was.

Personally I think she secretly likes it when I am gone because she is a non smoker, but I think now that I am sober drunk she likes it when I am there too.

So I procrastinate on shit and she takes it on herself to find out how to fix it herself. I don't let her fuck with the electrical or plumbing though.

The point is early on we tried to leash each other and my stepson the problem with that was there was no leash strong enough, so we opted for friendship and trust and now it is love and every time I look at my old lady she is just a touch more beautiful than the day before.

But that's us, she is an anal retentive and I am a slacker poet/writer and it works well for us because even when are damn near broke for the month we together find a way to make dinner and eat it freely together

the walking man said...

Oh yeah if you really want to re-live your child hood i can show you how to get 50k worth of voltage at a ow amperage from your car that a line of fifteen people holding hands will feel

Shawn Cannery said...

Shocking. Simply shocking.

Laura said...

I've been married for almost 30 years now. For me, the thing that held it all together was we both went into the marriage with the attitude that this was a lifetime commitment not a "trial marriage". Next, we both feel that family is the most important thing in our lives. Not to say that we haven't been through some rough times, but with the intention being "lifetime commitment", we work through our problems together. For the most part, it works. I'm not saying that it's been all moonlight and roses, but if I had it to do all over again, I would.

Dr. Laura Schlesinger said...


paul said...


realbigwings said...

So nice to be daily devastated by you, Michelle. Honestly. Makes up for the small talk and interviews I go on.

~Have you gotten your sale chocolate yet?

Jason said...

Ever have the one where the dog simply stares at the fence from the end of the chain, taunt and stretched to the max, but simply too lazy or too dependent on that sweet, sweet kibble to make that last tug?

What an incredible well framed picture by the way.