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The Other Side of Everything

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Dean Whitbread 2013

Dean Whitbread 2020

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Written on May 18, 2010, and categorized as Flip side, Living.
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An old girlfriend wrote to me. She told me how good everything was in her life – meditation, art, music and shiatsu – as she sailed around the world on a friend’s yacht. She was ok, everything was great, but her heart was tired.

She went on, in an email which ran to three paragraphs, to say that she’d had a violent incident which had “twisted her up” physically and damaged her knee. She was in the Caribbean and had been chasing someone’s “almighty cock”. She had forgotten how evil men can be, she said, she’d spent such a long time with angels.

Fair enough. But why write me this intimate tale, of all of the ex-boyfriends? You couldn’t really say we’ve had much communication in the last seven, eight years. Perhaps it’s because I didn’t let her off lightly when she summarily ditched me after three months. She did it with drama and a measure of spite, which I forgave, eventually, but did not forget, because it was a valuable, if painful lesson.

I wrote back:

“Men are no different than women, neither angels nor beasts. They are just like you and I, confused, needy and sometimes brutal, as well as charming, creative and stimulating.

Until you deal with your fear and hatred of men, you will always carry a tendency to become their victim.

Your negative expectations in your inner world create your outer world. This story is more about that than sex… although it was almost certainly your early experiences with male sexuality which grew your negatives as they grew your positives.

You can run – to the other side of the world, into books, stories, belief systems, legends, yoga, music, art, passion, reflection, into as many consciousness states as you can reach – but ultimately you cannot hide.”

Of course, I wrote more than that. I hope my reply wasn’t too blunt, but that it had enough impact to shove her back on her path, and snap her out of being foolish.

Still, there’s often a reason why people are drawn to one another, even briefly, beyond the physical. We’re similar, my friend and I; for years I treated women like goddesses – at least, those that I fell in love with – to be shocked and horrified later by their human failings. Thankfully that is a pattern which I worked hard to recognise and leave behind. I think that my old friend knows this about us both, and that’s why she emailed me, of all people.

It seems that her complex internal relationship with the masculine that played out with me is still playing out, years later. She revels in love, kindess, sweetness, but refuses to acknowledge animal passions, lust, pride, glory and greed as part of the same humanity. She challenges with and is challenged by her sexual power, even as she exalts in it. She destroys because she fears destruction, destroying herself in small or larger ways in the process.

It is a difficult circle to break.


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