20 Jul My 9th Grade Relationship with WRITING
I had a good friend in high school who dated a girl. I think we were in 9th grade. I remember their relationship distinctly because it was the most immature relationship I’ve ever witnessed. They fought everywhere we went, all the time. It was almost funny. I’m sure we made fun of him. But his relationship was like the Israeli/Palestinian conflict — a constant feedback loop of battling the validation of one’s experience. Most of the time I couldn’t believe they were fighting….again. I never understood this relationship until I studied psychology and family dynamics. I also remember being at my friend’s house and his relationship with his mother was basically the same. He would sort of whine and fight with his mom in majorly dramatic ways. It never seemed to go anywhere, other than I guess him getting his way. But it required a lot of tantruming.
I know what you are thinking. What the hell are you talking about? Why are you telling us this story?
Because it has everything to do with my relationship to writing.
I fight with writing like she’s my 9th grade girlfriend and I have no idea how to be in relationship. I whine, bitch and complain. I’m jealous. I want all her attention and none of the work. I don’t understand why she doesn’t put out when I want. I don’t understand why she plays games with my head, leading me on so tantilizingly one moment and then acting distant, leaving me lost and alone.
I hate writing and I love it. It feels impossible to develop a more emotionally mature relationship with writing. I seem to want to continue on in dysfunctional banter with her. I want to stay tangled in conflict. It’s easier. I can somehow get more attention by complaining about my relationship.
Why is writing this way? Is it just a huge battle with oneself? Was my friend’s immature relationship just a huge battle with himself? Was his girlfriend just battling with herself? Are we all just battling with our pasts, looking for ways to break free into new realms, yet too afraid to do so?
No relationship has been more confusing to me than the one I have with writing. I want to make sweet love to her and then I hate her and want to talk about her behind her back. I want to pass notes. I want to triangulate others into my misery and agree with me that she’s no good. But when it comes down to it, I can never let her go.
Writing and I will always be in relationship and no amount of couples therapy will break us apart, no matter how dysfunctional. We have something to learn from each other. I read a quote the other day by Pema Chodron that said: “Nothing ever goes away until it teaches us what we need to know.”
Sometimes I wish writing would leave me alone, but then I don’t know what I’d do without it.