December 28, 2016 (Wednesday)

by Yule Heibel on December 27, 2017

Yesterday, when A. and I were on a long beach-bound walk, I talked a bit about the narcissistic mother problem. He had some interesting insights of his own. When I mentioned that I seemed drawn to friendships with women who could be rather narcissistic themselves – something I had until now always associated with a “birth order” pattern replication, (i.e., as the youngest, I was looking for older, and essentially bossier, sisters), but which I now think about, too, in relation to the narcissistic mother problem – he said that it’s also a matter of being drawn to women (or people) with a strong personal narrative. Not the tame Janes, but the Wagnerian (operatic) heroines who’ve had an interesting time of it. This is quite true, I think. He also noted that he himself wonders why he never understood the appeal of the girl who was the perfect (if you will) vanilla queen, and that instead he was more attracted to the outliers, the unusual ones. It’s because the former have no compelling story. Their narrative is by the book, and the book is boring. The vanilla queens would be the ones who do everything excellently, but safely. They would be the high school cheerleader, the prom queen, the girls who went on those perfect 1-semester or 1-year exchanges to an approved European metropolis where they bonded with their bien pensant, gut bürgerliche PLU host mothers and host families before returning to complete their studies, marry, and pursue innocuous careers in marketing or banking. SETTLED LIVES. Not roller coaster extravagances of ridiculous ups and downs.

Yes, the sort of imaginary life that had me breaking down in tears in the small Austrian city of Klagenfurt, where I was temporarily stranded for a night as I made my way from Venice to Vienna when I was backpacking around Europe at 17, not knowing what in hell I was supposed to do – or where I should do it. Klagenfurt – what an appropriate name (for me, at the time …j’accuse and crossroads rolled into one). It was Klagenfurt’s seeming storybook perfection, so different from anything I knew in my life, that brought me down.

Of course sometimes it all goes wrong, even for the perfect people – and some show real courage and backbone when it does.

Books. Covers. Judging…

There is a sky looming outside my window that looks like a beautiful, angelic version of something you might see in an apocalypse-themed sci-fi horror movie, where city-sized UFOs roll into view, preparing to annihilate everything on the ground to a depth of one mile. Boom. Pulverize. Innocent bits of gold and blue peek out at the UFO’s edges, but the craft itself is a menacing, quasi-metallic slate gray, its underside articulated with ridges no doubt capable of spewing death rays, an articulation as precise as the abdominals of a perfect youth. And there, in the distance, you see the first emanations falling from the ridges. Except it’s distant rain, not death rays.

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