8.17.2004

A Short Psychohistory of My Ass

I'll come up with a Milosz poem as soon as I can dig through my books at home. It seems so long ago that I used to read loads of poetry.

In fact, lately I worry that I have regressed and become stupid.

You know what I'm talkin bout. If you've been tuning in to these pages with regularity, surely you have noticed an unhealthy obsession with food, animals, and shoes. Where o where are the lists of books-2-read of my youth? Have they been supplanted by a fixation on the lists of flavors of Tasti D-lite?

Part of me thinks this is overcompensation for an overserious adolescence. Living in a world of ideas with which I had no real experience, I diatribed over the Duchess of Malfi and Dostoyevsky. But how long can you pull that off while wearing shit brown chipmunk shoes?

Such aggressive disregard for taste only got worse when I graduated and got a job. Neurotically insisting on wearing pantyhose even in the summer, at a job where my colleagues couldn't care less, I sweltered and went through cans and cans of Static Guard. Becoming immersed in Shakespeare and Bukowski at the same time triggered a psychic catastrophe that brought me an even worse curse on the overly intellectual: Psychotherapy.

Perhaps psychotherapy has been my true downfall. It's a mosh pit of the mind in which dreams, thoughts, urges, and actions come together as their own big, humming reality––a veritable playpen for egobrainiacs. Somewhere along the line, wrestling with the beasties, I stopped reading so much. I also started dressing a little sexier and graduated to pilgrim shoes.

But I wonder if, as a result of tapping into my unconscious urges, the frivolometer has gone in to the red. Perhaps there is a tradeoff to feeling more free, more honest, and more sharp and daring. Maybe you lose your mind a little. I can't stuff myself back into the shell of my old self, much like I can't stuff my ass into most of my dresses (but do anyway), and the result is a kind of teetering 3-martini embarrassment.

Maybe it isn't psychoanalysis to blame -- it's rock 'n roll.

And we're out of time.

4 comments:

dr. ophelia said...

go woman! you rock. i love this blog.

Erica said...

Thanks, Dr. O. Are you a psychologist?

Dan said...

When you figure out whether psychoanalysis or rock 'n' roll changed your personality, be sure to let your readers know. Coz one is much cheaper than the other.

I also went through a personality shift in my early to mid-twenties, away from personality traits that I associate more with my family, and toward personality traits that distinguish me from them. Maybe that's the profile of good little boys/girls with a covert rebellious streak. Neither therapy nor rock had entered my life at that point.

Erica said...

In fact, I think it was both psychoanalysis and music. But they didn't so much precipitate a downfall, really, as spring me on bail.

Analysis disentangled me from many self-imposed restraints and psychic booby traps -- feeling scared, threatened, angry all the time -- and neutralized much of the overcompensating competitiveness, snarkiness, and perfectionism. Music provided a new place for my energy to flow and cultivated a more brave and less judgmental self.

I'm impressed that you made your own clever getaway without Freud *or* rock 'n roll.