Sunday, September 5, 2010

that intimacy

Hole No. 2 by Emily Eveleth

how does the question go when you ask it of yourself? what if i am not who i think i am? what if, without my knowing it, i am another? somebody dark? and bad? followed by the crushing understanding that, because you were creepy enough to even think these thoughts, you are already dark. and bad. i didn’t want to ask. i didn’t want to think about it. but you can’t undo a thought that happened inside your head. it already happened. and you are already damned. completely. utterly. in your head. in your gut. in your heart.

a moment: i am standing in front of a sheet of glass with a sheet of silver paper on its back. and i am afraid. of who? of the person that is not a person. of the human that is not human. such malheur… that i do not recognize myself. you do not recognize me, either. you can see the obliviousness in my face that is not a face that is looking at you from across the sheet of glass with a sheet of silver paper on its back so for me there is no plunging inside and trying to find an alternate reality because even if i crash the glass once i hit that silver paper i am stuck. and i. am. damned.

we become friends. through this glass window with a sheet of silver paper on its back. for days, we look at each other. size one another up. from different angles. perspectives. with the usual trepidation. and venom. and angst. you invite me over. i invite you over. a simple hand gesture. no words necessary. we know each other too well.

a memory: there was a day. i was walking around. looked to the side. over my shoulder. and someone looked back. but i didn’t stop. i kept walking, and – oh! – who was that? who was that looking at me with as much curiosity as only i have for myself? and that was when i realized it was me. it lasted a split moment… this obliviousness to myself… this lack of recognition. i had to think before i understood. before i realized. and i said to myself, i shouldn’t be looking at myself. and you said, because that is how you become dark.

you try to disengage yourself. from the image. from the darkness that lies inside it… behind it… beyond it. the silver paper is only silver on the side facing you. but it is black on the other side… where you don’t look. it’s like a scary dream where the walls are fluid and the floors are hilly and there are no holes or vents anywhere and you want to breathe but can’t and you want to scream but your lips are sewn together and you try to decipher but there is a coating of glue over your eyes and there is a shadow that you cannot see and a voice that you cannot hear and both of them are in your gut and are screaming run! and you know that that would be futile because there. are. no. outs.

you see yourself. and you don’t know. that you know. it’s you.

i make a game of it. i stand to the side of the glass window. you stand to the side. i stretch out my hand. you stretch out your hand. i steal a glance from the front… then check the back. you ditto. what am i looking for? stop fucking with me. but i must look. there is nothing there. only the black back of the silver paper. i pull myself away. i forget this thing. or try to forget it. dismiss it as folly. and imagination. but it is quite the game, isn’t it? a very clever game… like a twisted arithmetic… and it is not to be dismissed. why don’t you play it, then? i say. you have a glass window, too. meet with your glass window. but these meetings are sudden encounters… where something happens… something you had not counted on. you see something. something you know you can’t unsee. you can’t undo a thought that happened inside your head, remember? no. you can’t. it is there. and if you tell yourself it isn’t, you have already started to lie.

i lie. and i am good at it. you don’t catch on. and you won’t. because just as realization is beginning to paint your eyes, my eyes trick with a look that will make you change your mind… SNAP! just like that. i play the innocent so well. don’t you know me, by now?

i remember everything. that is why i am bad. no. not because i remember. but because i pretend to forget. i tell myself i don’t believe what my eyes are telling me. but i live with the memory of what my eyes saw on the other side. what i saw when i said that there was nothing there. the memory: it crashes into me like a train… and smears bits of me everywhere… like stains.

but i forget one thing: that i lied. if you tell the same lie enough times, even you start to believe it.

i keep forgetting to shut the fuck up. i keep forgetting to swallow my words. but even when i think silently, i think with my lips open. and the words slip out… from inside my gut… and disappear in the air… but not before they have tainted me… stained me… and you… forever.

i don’t dare move. i don’t dare. if i move… i will thrash and kick and scream… like a crazed animal… like an infant who has been wronged but can’t express that anguish. if i thrash… i might come closer. and, then… you will come closer, too. we will be together in a unique way… a way that only you and i can be together. but. you know. there is no coming back from that intimacy.


  1. I've heard that a key stage to achieving inner peace is, learning to love ourselves. I wonder how many of us realise that the relationships we have with ourselves, are the most intimate of all relationships? And, with intimacy, comes vulnerability.

    A thought provoking piece, Nevine.

  2. A very powerful and profound piece, Nevine. I agree with Martin H, our most intimate relationships are with ourselves. I think we all have very dark and disturbing thoughts, that we suppress or conceal, and sometimes these thoughts manage to boil over...But what is love if not the complete surrender of one's self to another, the opening of the heart and mind, the joining of souls. True intimacy is knowing oneself, and the most intimate of relationships one can have with another is to let that other person know you too, really know you. And then your two bodies become one.

  3. Oh, Nevine, dear Nevine. This resembled the conversations I have with myself. When I dissect the 'me' and find so many things that amaze and petrify me. But inspite of all that, I am what I have for myself - truly and deeply. Sometimes I try to cheat as well :) I just loved this piece, as everything else.

    Thanks for this lovely reflection of ME, dear Nevine.

    Joy always and much love,

  4. dearest sweetest and dark madame sultán!

    there are times, too many, when you let us with anything else to be said, for you've said it all so well.

    but it would be so mean of me to have reached this far and not say i love you and that i accept both your sweet and bitter sides, even better than my own ones...

    this piece helps the self agree with the self itself, intimacy at its best.

    another way of saying 'welcome to the real world, baby...'

    and i still believe our search for the sweetest piece must fight and succeed so as not to get too deep into insanity...

    Hugs my queen!


  5. A very profound and thought-provoking piece, Nevine!!
    Great topic, too! :)

    I have not an intimate "knowledge" of myself yet. I keep digging and searching..although I have a powerful intimacy with myself.
    Each and every one of us has two natures in one body.
    Sometimes I feel I cheat a little my bad self and v.v.
    What I love about you is that you're completely honest.
    Oh, well, you know me..I love the dark side of the moon, too.
    That's realistic and human, isn't it?

    This piece leaves my soul breathless! Your thoughts and feelings stirring the waves of this motionless river...I can feel your breath reading it.

    Big hugs,
    Betty xx


  6. You know..i always talk to me,we fight i feel her,me..poetry helps me,writing too,and one day i did crash that mirror.still only painless bleeding and larger question marks :) i absolutely love this are way too GOOD ya Nivo,that special you touch my soul..KOL SANA WENTY TAIEBA YA2AMARAYA..2id sa33id 3aliki ya 7elwa..Masr btsalem 3aliki w ba3talk bosa w ka7kaia :))

  7. Nevine I don’t think there is much I can say to this post… I understand this completely and find myself sometimes playing the same game. I wonder if one day a hand will reach out of the mirror and touch or grab mine.

    Just because it’s in our mind does not make it any less real…. Right?

    And if you tell the same lie enough it starts to believe you and does that in it self change you?

    In unique way, this intimacy scares me to death….

  8. Oh my dearest sweet delight, you have yet woed me again with this piece and it's remarkably brilliant. That need to self assess ourselves and divulge into the deepness that is us we all have it. Yet how frighteningly scary it makes us feel because it's like watching another person who is exactly like us our own dark reflections sometimes do come out at such times. When I was 14 years old i did it with tilted mirror and did the hand stretch and back and I remember all the superstitions then and watching too many horror movies, i surely thought then that that my reflection would emerge from the mirror and take over me. So i truly know this fears within my own soul.

    But the truth is it's just our own reflections deep inside what we're seeing in that reflection and its not reality as we can not see our souls or read the thoughts of the image in front of us. Thank you darling you took me back to my childhood and love you. And this kind of self assessment helps us love and appreciate ourselves more :)

    One thing i was very sick had a little surgery but didn't tell you because i just didn't want to bug your sweet mind. That's why i was missing for a while. Warmest hugs and kiss.

    Wild Rose~

  9. Martin – You’re so right about the inner peace, and also about that relationship with ourselves. There is no one closer to us than we are. Nobody knows us like we know ourselves. And I like what you said about the vulnerability, as well. Even when we’re intimate with ourselves, we are entirely vulnerable, absolutely!

    Sam – It’s very true that we all have dark thoughts. I really think, too, that when we tell ourselves we don’t, we’re not only pretending to others, but lying to ourselves. That’s always the saddest part… when we try to lie to ourselves, and then, we eventually believe the lie. But the truth of it doesn’t exist, and others can see through it. We confuse ourselves like that. Thank you for your thoughts, Sam.

  10. Susan – “But inspite of all that, I am what I have for myself – truly and deeply.” And you have that just right. We are always the ones most harsh on ourselves, most kind to ourselves, most conniving to ourselves, and most honest, too. And hey, we all try to cheat. It keeps life interesting, I suppose. Joy and love back, dear Susan.

    Dulce – I may be dark, but the Sweetest is you, by all means. :-) And our search for peace… ah! is endless. I guess we have to be a bit of both good and bad to be balanced. Nobody is all good all the time, are they? That would be too perfect… and too boring, too! Life is a lot more interesting than being about perfection, and I guess we keep it interesting and exciting in our own ways. Big love and hugs back to you, Sweetest!

  11. Betty – I love that you said you’re intimate with yourself, but that you don’t have an intimate knowledge of yourself. You described just about everyone’s plight, I think. We’re all always searching and not finding, it seems. And sometimes, when we search, we do discover, and uncover. And we are afraid at what we learn about who we are. And you know me… I do love the darkness, too. I’ve always believed that it’s in the darkness that we uncover who we really are. So glad you liked this piece, Betty. Huge hugs back, dear friend!

    Abeer – The true physical expression of anger/darkness/fear or any other negative emotion always leaves us with more question marks. I think one of the things we question most, at that point, is “Why did I do this? And what have I achieved by doing it?” Thanks so much for your thoughts, Abeer, and 3id sa3id 3aleky inty kaman. And thanks millions for the ka7kaia; you can’t imagine how much I miss ka7k! ;-)

  12. Sir Thomas – This intimacy scares anyone to death, probably. That’s why we’re so afraid of it, don’t you think? It’s such a challenging thing to get to know oneself. And sometimes we tell ourselves we really want to do it, but once we start with the process, we unnerve ourselves with the truths we never really wanted to learn.

    Wild Rose – First off, so sorry to learn you were not feeling well. I wish you had told me so I would have sent warm thoughts your way. But, as it is, I’m sending the warm and healing thoughts now, and hoping you get them and truly feel better. Fingers crossed your surgery went well, too. And… your experience when you were 14… that must have been truly frightening. We are so impressionable and suggestible when we are that age. I can only imagine your fear. And yes, self-assessment eventually leads to understanding and self-love. It’s just such an arduous process, no? ;-) Big hugs and kisses, dear Wild Rose. Get well soon, my dear!

  13. Nevine- ' the more you know about yourself, the more you know that you don't know'

    the pix are lovely, though!

  14. Its like a game of hide and seek... once I know it, the next moment I don't... like something, revelation is coming, and then when it is just about to emerge, it vanishes.
    Nice one.

    Blasphemous Aesthete

  15. I don't linger in the mirror for very long, I do know that person I see, maybe I know him too well.

    Once I had a cat who never got used to seeing his own reflection in a mirror. He woul sneak up on himself and then try to find "the other cat" behind the mirror. He spen far too much time at the mirror to be considered normal. Eventually, he seemed to accept that there was another cat in the house. Cats!

  16. Oh, you totally described something that puzzled me no end as a child! I kept very still so .you. would make the first move! And every time it almost, almost happened!
    What would I give to have the chance to sit in front of the real Nevine now and spend an evening sipping red wine and red memories.... of the time we were not together but that we both remember so well!

  17. Brilliant!

    I love how you explore the idea of identity and understanding ourselves while at the same time there is a fear of understand ourselves because in our identity there is something menacing, something we don't want to own up to.

    The way you didn't use capital letters - particuarly with the word 'i' - because to capitalise 'i' would be to understand it and become it and that was the great fear.

    I love the imagery of trying to use to a mirror to connect with ourselves but all the character sees is the reflection of his own random acts and there's no understanding it because the fear is in understanding.

    Great work.


  18. Everyone's comments are always so thoughtful, I feel that I can barely do justice to your post. However, I am rarely comfortable with myself, except at the oddest time. I doubt that I ever will be. I cannot face the dark heart of my soul without wincing and don't relish realising that.

  19. Smita - You got that absolutely right!

    Blasphemous - Thank you for the compliment. And yes, hide and seek is an excellent analogy.

    Pat - You're wise not to linger in front of the mirror. Oh, the things we see when we care to look. But I have always been a bit of a masochist, like that. I look, and keep looking... And I don't quit! Maybe I should become more like your cat. Cats are so blissful, sometimes. :-)

  20. Adriana - You must believe me when I tell you I would LOVE to sit with you and drink red wine and yes... reminisce... about that time. Imagine the memories that we would conjure, between the two of us. Adriana, it is such a delight, always, to read your comments. In a strange kind of way, I feel like we know each other from another life... or another place... or another time. Maybe, one day, we will make that meeting of ours over red wine happen!

    Jai - And I love that you are ever the critical and careful reader, and that you share your thoughts so generously. You understood entirely what I was trying to say, and I really appreciate that.

    Mme. DeFarge - I think we all wince a bit over facing that "dark heart" of the soul that you describe so eloquently. I also think we're ever curious about ourselves, and so, even when we are afraid, we still have that mad desire to dig deeper... and excavate. And believe me, your comments are so very appreciated... in every way.

  21. It is amazing what you accomplish with a piece of glass with silver backing in terms of exploring identity and duality. Once again you have chosen the proper medium in the use of punctuation and lack of capitalization. Truly phenomenal. I always know I am going to be carried to surprising places when I read your posts, which is why I wait until I have time to savor them before I comment. You did not disapoint.

  22. Everything which could be said about this piece, and even more...has been stated here.

    Only my experience can I share. And you Nevine, are now a part of that experience of mine. Because you have picked me up, and swept me along with you in your post here.

    Nothing personal (well?--grin!) but I find that this elusive knowledge of myself--even my intimacies, are better understood by me (if indeed I wish to be so understanding!) when I can and DO share with a dear, trusting friend, or even a lover. That is when at first, there is little risk, having what? to lose?

    IOW, I cannot "know" me by myself...I need another. OK? (Speaking for myself...)

    Did that make sense? I'm reading it again, and think I'd better just go to bed, and come back tomorrow!!!!

    Hugs to you, Queen Nevine, and (Shhhhhh! Psssst...(whispering): you are sweet also....

  23. Wishing you a beautiful rest of the week my sweet delight and also wanted to tell you that hope knew my last post was about two lovers and not between mother and child but loved your thoughts as always, hope that is what you meant, sweetest hugs beautiful xo

    Wild Rose~

  24. Wonderful piece of writing. I think identity is always in flux. As I approach my 50s I realise that I've been many different people and that I'm changing once again. There is in any thinking person a constant dissonance between who we'd like to think we are and who we secretly fear we are. We remember our disdeeds and errors, they haunt us and chide us with that knowledge. It's knowledge hard won and only goes to prove that shame can be a great teacher.

  25. as always, your words are mesmerizing - your thought processes even more so - and, as another "as always" your words strike so close to my own soul to my own "me" - as if we are the same - and perhaps we are - not just you and i - but each and every one of us - we are the same - and here, you have taken us to the multiples of our individual "selves" - sweeping us along on your journey of self-discovery - beautifully done, nevine!

  26. Judy - You can wait as long as you wish to come by because your comments are always so filled with valuable information, not to mention the kindness of your words. Thank you, as always, for making me smile.

    Adriana - What an honor you have bestowed on me, you sweet lady. Thank you for sharing your email address. I will write you!

    Steveroni - How wonderful to see you! I miss you so terribly, you know. And I understand how you can need another to get to know yourself. Sometimes, we need to see how others see us in order to understand ourselves better, and I get that entirely. See? You always give me another dimension from which to look, Steve. I do get it! I do understand! :-)

  27. Wild Rose - You know, as I was reading, I sort of guessed as much. But then your words were so convincing, I doubted myself and said, "No, this is about her and a child." ;-) Sweet hugs back, Wild Rose.

    Steppenwolf - Your description of identity and trying to find oneself is perfectly made. I especially liked how you mentioned how we like to envision ourselves vs. how we fear we truly are. I think we also fear how the world perceives us, and that comes hand in hand with how we imagine we would like to be. Either way, identity is ever evolving, true. And as I prepare to enter my 40s, I find myself trying to define who I am... once more. Steppenwolf, it is wonderful to see you here. And I do look forward to our continuing visits. Thank you for the thoughtful and thought-provoking comment.

    Jenean - In so many ways, we all are the same. I think we all have similar hopes... fears... dreams. I just imagine these things manifest in different realities for us, and they shape our hopes, fears, and dreams to come. So wonderful and delightful to see you, Jenean. I know you have been busy.

  28. This is probably one of your most intriguing and thought-provoking posts. In particular this passage:

    "a memory: there was a day. i was walking around. looked to the side. over my shoulder. and someone looked back. but i didn’t stop. i kept walking, and – oh! – who was that? who was that looking at me with as much curiosity as only i have for myself? and that was when i realized it was me. it lasted a split moment… this obliviousness to myself… this lack of recognition. i had to think before i understood. before i realized. and i said to myself, i shouldn’t be looking at myself. and you said, because that is how you become dark."

    I know where you're coming from. I've been there myself. Sometimes you feel comfortable with that other you, sometimes you don't. What to do? Decisions, decisions.

    Greetings from London.

  29. Cuban - Thanks for the "intriguing." We've all been there, too. And that other self is usually the one we're so afraid to face, so our comfort levels with the Other are not always highest. ;-) Good to see you back!!!

  30. my dear lady - just dropping by to say hello and that i hope your day is holding you gently - gypsy

  31. Jenean - So nice of you to stop in and visit. My day... ah! It's Friday! And that is all that matters, no? :-) Thank you so much for swinging by...

  32. We walk on the edges and precipices of the self to look into the faces of our dark self, it is not without risks.... and, without risks we can't undo ourselves.

    Our fears summons us to take up the flight not to flee but to vanquish.

    The price of heaven is to kiss our follies....and we shall discard them to move beyond, beyond heavens to encounter ourselves.
    Wonderful piece Nevine!

  33. My biggest desire, always, is to encounter my true self... though it is also my biggest fear. I never know how I will react, if I will like that self or not. But I think true beauty lies in who we really are, and not who we try to be. Thank you so much, COL, for your visit.


Your thoughts are deeply appreciated.