At my static website I have posted two new articles regarding cultural mythology. The first, Western Cultural Mythology seeks to untangle how we got here in regards to some of our sexual mythology. The frame of reference continues my basic contention Western Christianity is a corruption from the New Testament model. The second, A Biblical Approach to Game is longer and more specific regarding how Christians should re-examine feminism and how it perverts our approach to marriage and human sexual relations. Then I offer some basic guidelines on working past those myths and building from a better foundation.
Tom showed Lana how to place clothing into the tiny washing machine, which made very little noise doing its work.
Then, using his own brush, he carefully detangled her hair. It was almost white, and bore a slight natural wave. He mentally added to the list of things to buy some ingredients to make a natural hair treatment. He told her look in the mirror, turning a bit to see. “When it dries, it should be nice and full.”
Then he explained a little about interacting with people. “If more people paid more attention to their own voices and visions, the world would be a much better place. But they don’t. You have not been able to ignore them. Instead, the voices and visions have caused you to ignore the people around you.”
She seemed more relaxed than before. He sat her down at the table again, and told her to keep her knees together, then showed her how to cross her legs at the ankle and pull them back to one side. “It’s not always the most comfortable, but if you aren’t wearing pants, you really need to sit that way — always.”
He pulled out a small radio. “Do you know how to sing?” She shook her head no. “It sometimes helps to make the voices quiet, and the visions not so blinding.” He turned on the radio, then dialed it around a bit until he found something he recognized, old pop music. He began singing in his best voice to the songs, and encouraged her to try making some of the same sounds.
It was almost a whisper at first, but soon enough a very breathy mezzo soprano came leaking out of her mouth. For now, the mouth shaping would have to wait. Just getting her to hear and copy music was much more important. He wanted her to become conscious of the sound of her own voice.
“I’m going to take my shower now. I hope you’ll keep trying to sing while I’m doing that. I’ll try to keep up, as well.”
The bathroom was just a walled enclosure, open at the top. He could hear her stopping now and then, but she didn’t actually quit. He sang snatches of songs he recognized and kept hearing her less and less breathy voice bouncing off the ceiling. He came out wearing athletic shorts and another t-shirt. She was still trying, but it sounded like her voice was tiring. He turned off the radio and she fell silent. But she was looking at him, with a fairly normal, if blank expression.
He then taught her about eye contact. She seemed to absorb everything quickly. He explained how it was fine to be aloof when there was no need to interact with people. She would simply have to learn by example, watching how to interact with others. “It’s not exactly the same for women and men,” he warned her. Then he explained how she would have to learn to strike a balance, neither staring nor avoiding eye contact with someone to whom she was talking. She should look at them, then look away at something else briefly. He called her attention to how he had been doing that.
In the process, he realized how utterly critical it was he had taken that theater class in high school. What everyone took for granted as natural behavior, down to the smallest detail, was studied and mimicked with a purpose in acting, to make the behavior both exaggerated and still seem as natural as possible. He played a game with his hands, directing her to look at him, then wherever he pointed, as he was talking.
At one point, she yawned. It was both a very good sign, and a signal to stop the lesson.
“Are you ready to lay down and sleep now?”
She nodded. He led her up the stairs. “I usually sleep on this side,” pointing to his left. “Will that be a problem for you?” She shook her head.
Pulling back the cover, he invited her to lay down. She simply crouched a bit, threw one leg on the bed and stabbed it under the cover, lowering herself and sliding sideways. He looked away and decided not to comment on the exposure. Covering her up, he let her find her own place. “I’ll get in bed in a little while, but I have something to do first.”
He stepped quietly down the stairs and removed her clothes from the laundry machine. Folding them neatly, he lay them across the foot-board of the bed at her feet. Stock still, frozen like a statue on her back, she seemed from below already asleep.
He sat down at the table and prayed, meditating over the voices in his own head. He pulled his Bible down from the shelf above the table and read for a bit. Then he closed his eyes and mediated some more.
Finally, he turned off the single light mounted in the apex of the ceiling. All that was left was the faint glow from the appliances, with their continuity lights showing they were connected to power. He silently climbed the steps and lay down carefully in the bed. She never moved, and he turned on his side, facing away from her.
When the first rays of sun shining through the window woke him, making a bright pattern high on the wall, he waited before moving. He realized she was in a fetal position against his back, with the fingers of one hand wrapped in the fabric of his t-shirt.
When he stirred, she went rigid, rolling over on her back, eyes wide open staring straight up. He sat up and turned toward her just a bit. Reaching out his hand, he held it palm up several inches above her torso. “It’s okay to touch some people, people who care about you. Touching is entirely normal, but most humans don’t do it very well. So we have lots of crazy rules, but underneath them all, it’s okay to make friends and touch some people in places that aren’t private.”
She glanced at him, then pulled a hand out from under the cover and placed her fingers in his palm. “Friend.” The word was almost alien to her. It was then he noticed her hair was more beautiful than he first expected. Letting go of her, he turned and got out of bed. Without looking at her, he pulled out some clothes and went to get dressed in the bathroom.
After he came out, he sat on a chair and began putting on socks and shoes. She took the cue to grab her clean clothes and changed in the bathroom. When she came out, he was making coffee and had breakfast started. She held up his green t-shirt with a question in her eyes. “Just toss it on the foot of the bed. I normally wear the same bed clothing two or three times before washing them.” She could see his shorts there already, so walked past the little stove and tossed the shirt. Apparently throwing objects in this fashion was a new skill for her, though it landed well enough.
She stood by him in front of the hot plate where meat was sizzling in a skillet. He had her repeat the name of everything he could think of, then explained cooking time and temperature for the things he was preparing. A random passing thought about biscuits made him remember something.
“Just now, a voice in my head reminded me how much I missed having American style biscuits.”
She looked at him with her head to one side. “Your lips didn’t move.”
“It’s not necessary. In fact, it bothers people when you do that. I don’t have to let all the voices use my lips, just the ones I use for communicating to others, or for singing, for when I’m alone and talking to myself or to God.”
She stared at him for awhile, then remembered to look away. Apparently she was testing the idea of not letting the voices have her lips. When she looked back, he finally cracked a smile. “Did that hurt?”
One corner of her mouth twitched, she paused, then, “No.”
Over breakfast he explained smiling. “Most people smile even when they aren’t trying to communicate. It’s a natural response of the body to something which makes you happy, or seems funny, humorous. On the other hand, I’m sure you’ve seen plenty of fake smiles, when people weren’t feeling happy, and were trying to disengage from you, or trying to get you to do something.”
She was still practicing eye contact, but obviously heard him. “It happens when I go to new places. After a few days, they quit smiling and starting yelling or saying ugly words.”
He started, “They don’t understand you…”
“You do,” she shot back.
“I’m working at it, Lana. My problems weren’t as big as yours, but I had problems. Different problems.”
“Your voices lied to you.” She took a bite of food.
She was right. “Do none of yours lie?”
She chewed for a few seconds, then swallowed. “Sometimes. But they argue.”
“That’s normal, good even. The voices can each live in their own little apartment, but you have to find one you can trust to play referee, to be your real voice. It will be the one which decides what and how much is released outside to the world. Then you can find out which of the others to trust, and the referee lets them speak internally. Somewhere among the voices, one of them has to be you, Lana.”
She froze for a moment, staring at the far edge of the table, then took another bite.
He continued, “Most people pay no attention to all of this. They never hear more than one or two voices. The rest are buried deep inside the dark space of the mind, and people often have no idea what goes on in there. It makes the world a crazy place, but we have to keep trying to help them.”
She smiled, and a spurt of breath was just barely audible as her stomach visibly tightened just a fraction. “There,” he pointed out. “You almost laughed.”
“You said the world was crazy.” Then she half snorted again, before the smile could fade.
He blurted out, “You have such a beautiful face when you smile.” Then he realized blushing was something he would not be able to teach.