My mother, my other, who is too close for comfort.
I itch, scratch and fumble as the warm heat from her body seeps into mine. What is it that I am repelling myself from? Desperate not to mirror, I can feel myself recoil, set to dance away. But I keep returning to a familiar discomfort. Kristeva’s separating of the self from the mother, a necessary reaction in order to establish self – we break away and yet we are always haunted by the eternal threat of being reabsorbed.
‘ The abject confronts us [….] with our earliest attempts to release the hold of maternal entity even before existing outside of her [….] It is a violent, clumsy breaking away, with the constant risk of falling back under the sway of a power as securing as it is stifling.’
There is something about mothers. A simultaneous warmth and unknown threat that emanates. Her comforting embrace, a desire to return to that place of surrender, where soft words are swallowed as you suckle at her breast. That same small breast that later is withdrawn, forever more encased within its own netted embrace (until another is born – is this from whence jealousy sprang?).
Father – daughter – mother. A desire to be like father, with an ecstatic fear of the impending decent into motherhood – to become reabsorbed back into my mother, to become her. Perhaps that is what it all boils rather blandly down to, a fear of becoming my mother. There has always existed a fear, right from childhood of being too much like her. I feel almost like a caricature of her, stuck in mimesis, and when she is near it is as if her proximity obliterates any feelings of sexual desire within me, and I numb myself to your phallic invasion.
Footnote: 1. Julia Kristeva, Powers of Horror, p. 13
Image credit: In beauty we find oblivion, 2014, Lo Liddell, (collage)