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Sophie awoke with a start. For a moment, she didn’t fully recognize where she was and she took a few moments to orient herself; her mouth felt cotton-ball dry and she automatically reached for her water bottle. The bus was quiet and the countryside was rolling by the window, perfect greenery everywhere. Aleisha was still sound asleep. As the bus drove on, Sophie began to notice her surroundings. One farmer’s field looked like another and while Sophie thought that it would take some time to adjust to being in France, her whole psyche seemed to have instantaneously harmonized to the fact that she’d landed in a completely different world. The all-stone farmhouses with window boxes overflowing with flowers portrayed an idyllic countryside, the way she’d always imagined it might be. Somehow, her body-mind recognized it all, the shift inside her was imperceptible, and virtually seamless. Was this truly another world away? Yes, things had a greater feeling of permanence and stone houses were not all that common in her Maritime village where wood clapboard or shingles were more predominant near the ocean, but her mind had already done away with this intellectual comparison in architectural materials. Those kinds of facts didn’t impress her. France just felt like something she’d always known deep inside herself. ‘Where was this knowledge stored?’ she wondered.
Already in her imagination, Sophie felt that she’d inculcated France under her skin, into her bones and her psyche. As she sipped at her water, she overheard Julie announce quietly in English that they were about 20 minutes away from Dijon where they were going to be stopping for lunch. Sophie was relieved as the food on the plane had been pathetically tasteless and she had been too excited to get that over-processed white bread and skinny ham sandwich in plastic wrap down her gullet, thinking it might have come back up on her as she’d already felt slightly queasy with fear and excitement. Now, however, she was famished and ready to find some comfort food, something like bacon and eggs or a hot turkey sandwich although she did find herself wondering what would be offered on a French lunch menu. As she sat back and mused about her body’s needs she suddenly had a very profound memory, unrelated to anything she’d thought of prior, and she waited patiently as it began crystallizing in her mind. She had the definite feeling that she was getting a big “Aha!” moment delivered to her and she loved when this happened. She had these kinds of revelatory thoughts periodically that came like gifts, seemingly from nowhere but were always inextricably linked to something that she was puzzled over, and needed the answer to.
This little miraculous epiphany was about the feeling that she’d had when Peter was in the throes of assaulting her in the bathroom at the party the week before. She’d despised feeling like prey and being attacked that way, and was curious that her mind seemed to be taking her back there. It was irksome even to be thinking of it now. However, in a very strange way, it felt somehow familiar to her. What was it about that event that haunted her? Sophie just let the question hang in her mind for a time. The next image that came to her was at the airport when her mom was neurotically trying to warn her about all the potential dangers of carrying her passport in places other than on her body. ‘Oh my God, that’s it! I’m pre-programmed to be in constant fear of attack!’ Sophie realized that this was somehow very significant as she observed this new feeling bubble up from her belly to be appraised by her mind; it was precisely the same impulse from two different people. Both of them were using body language and words in the same way. Both Peter and her mom were postured in the mode of attack. Could this mean that she was naturally polarized as their prey? Perhaps all of those teen novels about vampires and werewolves somehow also illustrated the same dynamic, a universal victimhood to extreme aggressors. She knew that in nature, there was always an aggressor and there was always prey. If you lived in the middle ground, you never made it onto TV. Was that some kind of law or something?
Sophie took another sip of her water to help her process and she continued to ruminate on all that she was percolating up into her consciousness. Could it be possible that by some kind of fluke or mishap of her character she was postured in some kind of ‘victim’ mode? She thought about this and felt her eyes squinting into the tinted windows as her body tried to draw the images to the surface for her to wrestle with more clearly. There was some key element here that she needed to discern. Were her parents overprotective, perhaps to the point of hysterics, because of some perceived weakness that they attributed to her character structure? Were they actually overcompensating for their own fears and weaknesses with their neurosis? Had it always been this way? How had she ended up playing the victim to them? As she went back into her memory, she could not recall a time when she was left to sort things out for herself in order to triumph over her situation. Her parents took up all the space when it came to problem solving, even before a problem could be properly ascertained. It was like they were terrified, even paranoid, about anything that wasn’t in a nice, neat, controllable package. There wasn’t a moment that she was allowed to oscillate with an unanswered question. How was she ever going to become a fully functioning adult if she could never experience the tension or climax of having solved her own problems? The potential to know was always short-circuited. It was either attack or be attacked. Hanging in the gray-zone, not knowing for even a moment, was not acceptable. Wasn’t love and sex all about not knowing, or even caring, about the depressive past or anxiety-provoking future? A girl could go completely crazy, neurotic or psychotic under this limited intellectual construct.
If she was never allowed to expand with the knowledge of self-directing herself through the graceful unfolding of her own problems, allowing for the expansion of her own consciousness through the feeling, how in God’s sweet name was she going to be able to plumb the depths of her own psyche? Certainly, life was full of these rhythms everywhere. What about the polarity of night and day, or the radial, spherical humps of a perfect seashell, or the growth of a tree? It didn’t grow off into infinity — some force contained and bridled it naturally. Why wasn’t she wired the same? Why wasn’t she afforded the opportunity to learn her own radial edges and the capacity for bridling and containing the forces within her? In her own thinking she never knew the capacity for the process of climax, or even orgasm, as it was always cut short by her parents’ desire to apply some stupid quick fix. They thwarted life. That was it! They could not hold the charge of allowing spontaneity out of a deeper resonance? In that moment, she realized that she pitied them. ‘What was their sex-life like if they couldn’t hold the charge or tension of not knowing the outcome? Their little organisms were weak, scared and fragile,’ Sophie realized. Their control-freakish natures just cut off any oscillation of tension before they even got a chance to fully examine the truth of any matter. As a result, Sophie allowed herself to feel the extent of her own damage. What did it mean to be a germinal product of this neurotic insanity?!
As she plummeted through her emotions, Sophie smiled at this thought and although totally impractical, she realized that on the tide of it came a fount of anger, actually wait a second … no, rage. Sophie felt completely incensed that her parents had had her. All they did, really, was try to fuck her up from the moment she was conceived. Suddenly, she hated both of them so completely and thoroughly for their indiscretion. Actually no, for a lifetime of indiscretions: fear, terror, attacks, OCD behavior, neuroses, and psychoses. Sophie allowed herself to feel the full breadth of her anger. It was a violent thick reddish-black ball at the pit of her stomach. No, deeper than that; it was sitting right above her sex organs. Her next thought was, ‘You fucking assholes. You two-bit losers. I hate you both more than you can ever imagine and I abhor beyond the skin of my ancestors the fucking loser matrix that made you automatons of terror the way you are!’ Sophie allowed herself to take a mental breath before seeing if there was more content to be exhumed from the thick black ball. It was yielding, ‘Yes, there it is. The nasty truth is that I was attacked as prey by Peter because I have been prey all of my stupid life by terrified parents who, through their false authority, gave the illusion that they were in charge by marginalizing me and my feelings,’ she thought.
Sophie spurned these hateful musings as they gushed forth. She watched them slip by her mind on their way out past her organs, out to the level of her skin. Then, in her imagination, she popped them past this permeable organ, beyond her body, out into the ether where they could no longer harm her. Prior, Sophie’s reaction to these thoughts would be to somehow protect her parents from them. Isn’t that what they wanted? Isn’t that why she’d de-valued her own feelings, keeping them harbored from the storm of their own repressed disaster? No, not this time. While she recognized this as one of the hardest places she’d ever been, she trusted that she had to allow her intuitive self to finally reign supreme. For once, she was going to allow for the full breadth of her feeling to complete its thrust and lust to be known, fully. Somehow she knew that in order to be self-governing and a fully realized sexual being, she had to dump this hate, anger, rage and resentment in the way of knowing her true self. It felt so delicious to ride the tide of pure hate and feel it leave her body. She yearned to be the appropriately aged teenager she was, to let go of the little smattering of adult within her, that had always protected her parents, allowing herself just to be her own essential self and unfold herself naturally. They’d actually turned her into a more mature parent than they were combined and she deeply resented them for it. She could barely contain her own self as the images outside the bus window completely blurred and then cleared as her tears overflowed the precipice of her lower lids. ‘God almighty, why would I be born to the two biggest losers ever imaginable? They’re an OCD nightmare! These people are mentally retarded with compulsive disorders all over the freakin’ place and for some retarded impulse they were allowed to have me!’ The reddish black orb in her belly had now turned a dull grey and was collapsing into a flat oval disk.
Sophie felt her whole body vibrating with the expiring torrent of anger still gushing to the surface and then she noticed something else come up like an undercurrent from below: the feeling of just how hilarious this all was. ‘Oh my God, I’ve spent my whole life being duped by the sorriest two people on the planet, and I’ve allowed myself to be crucified in their web of self-destruction. I couldn’t see it before, but their subconscious desire to keep me marginalized through criticism, wholly unrealized as a healthy, creative sexual being, has kept me victimized in a ridiculous disposition like some reluctant martyr. I’m no fucking Mother Theresa! The buck stops here. I’m so done with that! I mean really done.’ With these epiphanies, Sophie sensed another sensation streaming throughout her body. The gray disk was now completely devoid of colour and any definable shape. It was starting to glow blue around the edges … and it was pulsating. It was actually pulsating. It felt clear, spacious and divine down there. Her gut was undergoing a massive spring cleaning. She was feeling pleasurable sensations all over her body, from her core and pulsating out to her skin. The blue and while energy was bathing her in streamings of light and oxygen that had never been sucked to these depths, and the darkness of hate and anger was being plumbed by air and light. What a glorious feeling! Like butterflies or fairy fingers running across the inside of her belly, her legs, her head and her arms, all from this epicentre. It was truly divine, like when she and Naomi used to play with each other’s hair. The tickling feeling was delicious and Sophie was excited to have arrived in this place. The rage completely ebbed away and now what she was feeling was uninhibited pleasurable streamings from her core. Strange that, but wholly welcome. Her next thought was, ‘I’m going to delight in allowing myself to make really juicy, sweet mistakes! I actually give myself permission to be fallible! Ha! I love this. No more need to be cut-off from my life, victimized and seemingly perfect. It’s all been a masquerade of suppression!’ She felt like Ebenezer Scrooge when he ordered the turkey from the delightful little boy in the street below his window. She was being given a second chance by accepting authentic herself despite her negative karma.
Sophie reached down in her knapsack for her phone just as the bus was navigating the cobbled streets of Dijon. She texted Naomi, “What was in those remedies your mom gave me? Was there stuff for anger and to help resolve my lack of inner value?” Sophie smiled as she continued to feel her whole body soften. She was admittedly drop-dead tired, but there was also an entirely new sensation emanating from her bones. There was a feeling of contentment, satisfaction. Yes, there was trust now, but also a deep abiding faith that she’d never known prior. She felt giddy with her new ownership! She knew to her very core that her very soul’s nature and all of its permutations as a spiritual being encased in flesh were now her intrinsic responsibility. Hallelujah! She was now somehow initiated into a different league, a consciously creative human being whose destinal track was entirely of her own making in conjunction with the Divine. The karma with her parents was now kaput, shut down, and eliminated. She really didn’t need that to colour or limit her experience as a whole creative, but self-governing, young woman anymore. And this included the former tax on her sex. Sophie was going to feel intuitively into this territory and fully realize her whole self with a lover-boy who matched her burgeoning wisdom-soaked self.
Sophie’s phone vibrated, and she looked at the text back from Naomi, “Yes! Do you want to know what the main rx was?” Sophie smiled as this was typical Naomi, only giving over the minimum content at the time that Sophie was aching to know the fullness of the answer. She wrote back, “Yes, for Christ’s sake!” As the bus was pulling to a halt, sleeping bodies were starting to stir, and she heard murmurings like, “Where are we?” and “Are we in Dijon mustard?” Sophie’s phone buzzed again, “Well it was something also given to the Christ Soph. Are you ready?” Sophie gritted her teeth, laughed and shook her head with mock frustration. By this time, Aleisha was groggily watching her antics, “What’s up Soph? Are we here yet?” “Yup, Aleisha, we’re in Dijon for lunch.” Aleisha started to grab for her bag, pulling out a brush for her already perfectly straight hair and both girls began to stand in order to make their exit from the bus. As Sophie moved stiffly down the aisle waddling much like a duckling, her face emerged to sunlight streaming from the most incredibly periwinkle-blue sky. The first thing she thought was, ‘Ha, this is how my belly feels. This feels like my guts turned inside out!’ Just then her cell phone chimed. As Sophie walked over to the group she read Naomi’s words back, “Well there were remedies for shock, anger, fear, guilt and grief all with strange Latin names, but the one that sticks out is Aurum Metallicum.” Sophie waited, but nothing else came, she wrote back, “What the heck is Aurum Met.?” As the group started to funnel up the street into the most beautiful shop-lined avenue to her first French cafe, her phone vibrated again, “Mom says it’s gold, Soph. The same gift as was given to the baby Jesus! For realizing your full potential and value minus any victimization.” Sophie filled her sun-soaked belly with this new knowledge, ‘Gold!’ This somehow made perfect sense. As she realized the implication of being given the same metal as the baby Jesus, it all became clear to her now. From lead to gold. She was a modern day Alchemist!