Saturday, October 30, 2010

O, My Son

So this morning I'm getting dressed, putting on underwear, slathering salve on sticky icky sections of my anatomy (see below), when my son bops into my bedroom to grab the laundry basket. I am caught with my fingers just leaving my you-know and I, to cover my embarrassment, hop out of my room, 95% naked, the bare backs of my knees draped with downed panties, the rest of my generous flesh flopping about in a frog dance. I make it to the bathroom. Whew! He is 15. There are so many ways for a son to misinterpret a mother's nakedness, actions, attitudes, beliefs. One can never know what damage is being done to his delicate (or brutal) psyche. One would have to be ignorant or arrogant or both to think that one has any kind of control over any of that. It would also be disingenuous to believe it simple or overdetermined. (What am I talking about here? You tell me.)
Meanwhile, bless his overgrown gangly body still harboring a little-boy heart, he asks me, " What is it? Are you afraid of me or something?" He seems to believe my frog dance of embarrassment a gesture of fear. That I fear him. O, my son, I do not. I only fear for you.
I am, briefly, speechless.
"No. No, I'm not afraid of you." But do I have any business instilling in you a body self-consciousness that has done me no favors? Embarrassment about one's own icky sticky bodily functions and urges? If you do not have them now, is it my job to break you in? Will you also suffer, as I have, in being the only unself-conscious animal in the room, otherwise full of vicious punishing beasts? People who have had their animal reality beaten or shamed out of them to the point where they can not trust their own simple desires? People who no longer know what they feel, how they feel, are forever separated from the words for their own feelings? No, not my job.
"Not afraid. Never afraid." O, my son.

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