Monday, December 13, 2010

Emotional illiterates

music: Arcade Fire - We Used To Wait

Scenes From A Marriage (Ingmar Bergman, 1973)
I turned and looked at the photo of my class at school, taken when I was 10. I seemed to detect something that had eluded me previously. To my surprise, I must admit, I don't know who I am. Not at all... I've always done as I was told. As far as I can remember, I've been obedient, well-adjusted, almost meek. I did assert myself once or twice as a girl, but mother punished all such lapses from convention with exemplary severity. My entire upbringing was aimed at making me agreeable. I was ugly and graceless. A fact I was constantly reminded of. But if I kept my thoughts to myself and was ingratiating, my behaviour yielded rewards. The real deception began at puberty. My every thought revolved around sex. But this I never told my parents, or anyone at all, for that matter. Being deceitful and secretive became second nature to me. My father wanted me to become a lawyer like himself. I said I wanted to be an actress, or do something else within the theatrical world, but they laughed at me. Since then I go on pretending. A sham in my relations to others. To men. The same sham - a desperate attempt to please. I've never considered what I want. Just: 'What does he want me to think?' It's not unselfishness, as I used to believe, but sheer cowardice. It stems from being ignorant of who I am. Our mistake was in not breaking free of our families and creating something worthwhile on our own terms.

*****
You and I were born with silver spoons in our mouths. We've squandered our resources, leaving us poor, bitter, and angry. However trite, it's the truth: we're emotional illiterates. We've been taught about anatomy and African farming methods. We've learned mathematical formulas by heart. We haven't been taught a thing about the mind. We're ignorant about what makes people tick.

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