Saturday, December 28, 2002

Diary: Addictions vs. Fetishes

The author of The Artist’s Way talks about letting all your thoughts flow freely.  Suppressing thoughts is anathema.  It further adds that artists should pursue luxuries.  Artists should not deny themselves the things they enjoy.  On the other hand, it also mentions destructive habits – mostly addictions – as something to be avoided.  She cites watching TV, hanging out with leeching friends, and anything that gets in the way of creative impulses. 

This leads me to wonder about addictions.  Many artists use substances or behaviour to fuel their creativity.  They come to depend on their addictions for their creative output.  Cameron would look at it the other way, and say that the withdrawal pangs inhibit creativity that would otherwise flow as freely as at any other time.
The whole process seems geared towards removing inhibitions, to discover the true self, and allow it to thrive.
But what about fetishes?  Are they addictions or expressions of self?

On one hand, a fetish is very much like an addiction: it is an urgent physical need that requires fulfillment.  It is an affliction that can get in the way of clear thinking, and distract the artist from his duties.  It can possess him to the point where it is all he can think about.  On the other hand, it is an expression of the deepest, most secret inner desires.  What is a fetish but the fulfillment of repressed, hidden tastes?  Is it not therefore a clear manifestation of the inner child?

I remember the moment I came to terms with my own fetish, which I had been fighting unsuccessfully since childhood.  I must have been almost twenty.  I had spent the last several months trying desperately to purge myself of what I considered my unfortunate and deplorable habit.  I had disposed of all the objects of my fetish.  While it felt at the time like I was taking charge of an addiction, and working towards conquering it, I had become desperate to fulfill my fantasies again.  I had just barely started trying to write, to unblock myself.  The computer I used was in the family room, where everyone watched television.  I tried to concentrate, but realized that there was something I needed to release. 

My mother had recently returned from a trip to somewhere sunny.  She had had to buy a new bathing suit there to replace the ones that I had stolen to fulfill my fetish.  She left it hanging in the laundry room for a few days, where it tempted me like a carrot on a stick.  I glared at it every time I passed by the laundry room, eager to steal away with it, but resisting with every ounce of my willpower.  How I tortured myself! 

I found myself slogging away at the computer, trying hopelessly to describe the general despair that I felt in those days, trying to make some sense of it in some creative, poetic way.  I had no idea what was bothering me so much, so I tried my hand at writing somethinganything – to clear my head.  Only a sheet of drywall separated me from the object of my desire.  I couldn’t think of anything else.  I realized that I was completely alone: everyone else had gone to bed.  I could easily sneak into the laundry room, snag the bathing suit, and scurry off to my bedroom where I could enjoy it in private.  Again, I found myself fighting my intense desire to wear women’s clothing.  Something had to break.

So I did.  I had made up my mind.  Possessed by desire, I couldn’t contain the words anymore.  At first I let myself write it as a dare, just to see how it would feel.  It wasn’t even a sentence of its own: I finished an abortive sentence about my own poor state of mind with the words: “because I love to wear women’s clothes.”  I read it back to myself and immediately deleted it, looking over my shoulder and peeking out the door to reassure myself that no one was around.  It was exhilarating.  I tried it again, this time in its own sentence: “I love wearing girls’ swimsuits.”  I left it there for a while longer, blushing with excitement. 

I had discovered what was blocking my creativity.  I found a story to write, and I couldn’t stop myself.  I wrote about how I had been tortured with this affliction since I was very young, and how I had tried so many times to stop myself from acting out my fantasies of dressing up in girls’ clothes, but always returned.  No matter what I did, I could never stop fantasizing about being turned into a girl by wearing sexy bathing suits and lingerie.  I frequently stole things from my mother or my friend’s sister to satisfy my cravings.  I always experimented with great trepidation, both frightened and eager to take my fantasy to the next level.  I started when I was five years old.  Every time I pleasured myself over my fantasy – particularly when I enacted it with real clothes – I felt the deepest shame, and vowed to never do it again.  My story told of all the incidents I could think of when something significant happened in the development of my fantasy.  This would be the most significant moment of all.

As I wrote, I recognized, accepted, and celebrated my fantasies.  I could no longer deny my feminine impulses.  From that moment on, I promised myself that I would never feel shame again about my dirty little secret.  I would not admit it to anyone but myself; but I swore to run off to my room with that pink and purple flowery one-piece swimsuit, make myself as feminine as possible with it, and feel not a whit of shame about it.  I swore that I would wear it again and again, as often as I saw fit, because it felt so incredibly good.  There would no longer be any point in berating myself over something that is an intrinsic part of me.  Instead, I would congratulate myself for having discovered something so intensely fun.  Over the last ten years, I have added hundreds of pages of transsexual fantasy to that same document

Now, the problem: admitting this to myself was a giant step in becoming comfortable with myself.  However, every time I write, it degenerates into a masturbatory fantasy that I never reread or edit.  It serves to send me to bed with some distinct fantasy in mind, and that’s all.  It’s an addiction that I have immense trouble overcoming, and that seems to get in the way of my more serious literary ambitions.

Now that I write this, I see the answer (or at least I think I do): That’s what I should be writing about.  I shouldn't be ashamed of my masturbatory fantasies.  I should develop them instead of relegating them to some notion that they’re not good enough.  There are plenty of places to submit them to.  I know that I can write better than many of the hacks who submit stories to fantasy sites.  So this is where my muse is leading me.

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