Monday, December 21, 2009


Doing the dishes is a place where I get a lot of ideas. I spend a fair amount of time doing dishes (but not nearly enough). My husband tells me that he hasn't read too many blogs like mine. There is spell checking here and complete sentences and thoughts. That's because it takes me a long time to write these posts. I think about them for a few days before I commit to writing and publishing. Mostly because I want to work through the entire thought before I put it down and also because I am sensitive to criticism. Today I want to write about obsession, transference and projection and presence/charisma.

I think at many times in my life I have been guilty of all of these things. Sometimes at the same time! And I am writing about this in hopes that somewhere out there is someone who does the same thing. Someone who feels the same way so I am not alone in what Freud perceives to be psychosis! (I know, f@#k Freud!)

Obesssion:: "a persistent disturbing preoccupation with an often unreasonable idea or feeling." Wow. I don't think my obsessions are unreasonable. I mean I could really marry Will Smith, right? But that is not one of my obsessions, any longer. It is often around an idea and sometimes a person. Once after a rather unfortunate and painful breakup in college my friend Anna remarked that I said that person's name more than I said the word "the." She was obviously tired of hearing me talk about that person and that situation. I immediately stopped. I didn't stop thinking about the situation or the person, and I didn't stop mulling over the "what ifs" in my head. But I did stop talking about it out loud. I am not sure when that obsession ended, it took awhile. But it did end. In the meantime I learned some really valuable lessons about being in a relationship and communicating with people. I learned a lot about how I processed and expressed intimacy. And in the end it felt as though the "obsession" was good for me, it helped me work through some internal issues. But at the same time it was my WORST semester in college. I blew off my responsibilities and rarely went to class, relying instead on my charisma to get me through the semester.

Obsession can also be a great avoidance measure. Right now I am coming to the end of a rather time-consuming and expensive obsession - the work of Anna Deavere Smith. I could probably say that the obsession extends to her as well. I have read everything I can about her. Watched several videos and seen her play "Let Me Down Easy" three times. In the process of this unearthing I have learned so much about me and how I make art and what moves me. I have found my inspiration again. But at the same time I have avoided finishing job applications and have used this obsession to block other rather important tasks, like grieving the illness of a friend. I tell myself that I AM grieving because this person shares my almost twenty-year love of Anna. Or is that an excuse?

Transference and Projection: They are pretty much the same thing. You take your feelings and transfer them to someone else or project them onto someone else. I have been thinking about all the people I transfer my feelings to. My children, my husband, past romances - especially those that ended badly, professors, teachers, friends, therapists (wow, that's a post in itself!). I am never quite sure that things I am experiencing, with regards to other people, are actually how I feel about them or if it's just my issue. One of my many Mamas told me that if I had a problem with someone I should check myself first. So I tend to do a thorough excavation of my feelings when I first meet someone. And I am usually pretty good at telling in the first seconds of meeting someone whether or not we will get along. And as I have gotten older I tend to trust that feeling more and move on if I feel that this relationship is not going to yield any healthy fruit. The people who have gotten entire documentaries projected onto their person are few - but they exist. And I appreciate their being there for me to play out the movie of my life. I don't necessarily think that that's a bad or negative thing. It's just a thing.

And the last greedy shark swimming around my undisciplined mind is Presence, something I call charisma. That thing that draws your eye to a person. That thing that makes you want to get to know them, get to love them. I don't think there is universal presence. Bill Clinton has so much presence but I know a few Republicans who would disagree. So I want to posit that presence, charisma is subjective. It is another thing that comes through our eye and excites and fascinates us. The people we think have presence are also the people we find attractive - are drawn to. And I am trying to unravel how that happens too. What is it in me that finds distinguished professor-types charismatic? Or that draws me to motorcycles and people with tattoos. Is it that that is what I want to be? Or is it that that person is what I want to have?

I know that most of this can be perceived as psycho-babble and some of you stopped reading at Will Smith, but I am really trying to make sense of these issues because I think they are going to unlock the central theme to this piece of theatre I am working on. I wrote about it earlier in my post on intimacy. How do we get close to someone? And why is it that we want to be close to a certain someone? Anna Deavere Smith writes in Letters to a Young Artist, that presence is feeling that that person (the object of your gaze) is right next to you because you long to have them there. Long to have them there. So I am trying to get to the root of the longing, the root of the craving. Ground zero of our passions. What do you think?

Photo:Freud's Couch - Wikipedia


Alma Villacorta said...

It's very evasive, isn't it Keisha? I have been longing for the same person since I met him over ten years ago. Though he is gay, I am convinced that I was or am meant to have a family with only him. I have never told him how I feel and I am longer in touch with him due to the unfortunate mistake of burning a bridge with a good friend of his. It's tragic and though I am still single with no kids, I know that he was and always will be the only one for me. So I am resigned at my tender age of 38, that true love has already passed me by and I am fine. But it's desire, and that inescapable feeling of being drawn to that special someone that I live for. I will settle for nothing less. Desire.

Nanda Mama said...

Alma - today being Winter Solstice makes it a perfect day for another of my favorite quotes. From the "Charge of the Goddess" by Doreen Valiente. The Great Goddess says to the child invoking her: "For behold,
I have been with thee from the beginning;
and I am that which is attained
at the end of desire." She tells us that that for which we long for we will never find outside of ourselves. Also reminds me of my favorite line from Angels in America - in the Prologue of Millenium Approaches: "In you that journey is."
I think love, which is infinite, is still out there and within for you.

lorna said...

the longing is your mind's innermost eye's view of itself, projected. that which you have been/are/will again be yet outside of yourself, which is odd. i'm right there with you, thinking in similar patterns and actually about similar things. trying to enjoy it and overcome my reliance on mental process over physical sensation at the same time. one love.

Nanda Mama said...

Thank you Lorna. I love what you said. Our innermost eye projected. YES! That makes so much sense. I am not quite there as far as overcoming my reliance on the mental process. For me it seems that once I get to the bottom of that I will be free to live in the physical sensation. But I don't know. It is something to try.
Peace beautiful girl.