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Behind the Norm

Nothing interested me less than the idea of fitting into the norm.

Quite the opposite.

I had to escape it.

If anything really prompted me to go into analysis, it was precisely to go in search of the most “singular”.  I put it thus: “I want to be a different woman with the stamp of the original”.

You can imagine then how my body shook when I heard the phrase pronounced by my first University lecturer in psychoanalysis: “the woman does not exist”.

Then I knew: one has to invent it.

What did I want to be cured from?

There was no symptom, no inhibition, no anxiety.

The quest for the feminine was what was most real.

This made me restless, and led me by the nose to keep a watchful eye on one, to snoop on another and yet another… but the identifications were not enough….

Something I did know was that I did not want to fit into any norm, and I displayed a certain irreverence that I borrowed from Tatum O’Neal in “Paper moon”.

For my father, the family was incompatible with his passion for theatre.  For my mother, motherhood was the passport to the loss of desire for a man.  Acting without stopping and working at being loved were the ways that my neurosis tried to repair what the parental couple exuded of their suffering and failure to meet up.

And this caused me suffering.

As we are approaching the next Congress I am going to evoke a fragment of my analysis that took place at the 2010 Congress, the last one in which I was an analysand.

In my fantasy of repairing the Other, entertaining him, awakening him, what was at stake was the permanent demand of the Other.

It was the middle of the Paris Congress, close to the lunch break, and I was anticipating a shower of lunch invitations from colleagues.  I removed myself from others, trying to avoid the gaze of others, and invented excuses: “sorry, I have a meeting…”, “I already arranged to have lunch with….”, “someone is waiting for me…”; but then, in the blink of an eye, I found myself alone in the Palais de Congrès, going up and down in the escalator with no one in sight.  No one invited me to any cosy bar, and no one noticed my presence.  I was alone, completely alone, and lost in that gigantic building, wanting to go out, but I couldn’t even find the exit.

That afternoon I had a session so I spoke about that episode, in a state of complete anguish.

From the side of my analyst, I received my own message in an inverted form: “Everybody wants you”. “It is my delusion”, I answer.  “Your little delusion”, he said.


(Translation: Philip Dravers)