This is a letter to my creativity coach Sara( Sara’s Fb page)
Before our coaching call, I always give her a headsup.
Have I ever started a letter with:
“Dear Sara, I fucked up?”
Because if I haven’t, then I would like to open with that now.
And it’s not because I was “on the wrong track” or anything like it. More that the right track brought things I did not expect and wasn’t ready for.
But good news first!
My hunch to FULLY go with the Basic Instinct/ Catherine Tramell vibe of things, was right and is very fulfilling. I know I m on the right path/ was on the right path during our last call when you exclaimed:
“You’re sitting just like her! You see?”
Fully leaning back, arms dangling loosely on the sides. I see it, Sara!
I ve been sitting like that a lot.
And I ve extracted my notes on consent play from a notebook I had been keeping, with the intention of writing (manually) a book. But I m going to type my consent play notes out, and put a new perspective on it.
Write a new ending, or perhaps a new introductory chapter.
Where I conclude that I can’t write a book on consent play, because that is not what I have with my lover. Or had maybe, because I haven’t seen him in months.
What we have is so special, not so much because of the power play or consent play during sex;
It is in the complexity of our play when we’re not in bed.
Exactly the way the relationship between former-undercover-agent-turned-detective Nick Curran (Michael Douglas) and million dollar writer with a double major in psychology and English lit, Catherine Tramell (Sharon Stone), is way more about how they interact outside of bed, than about the way they behave between the sheets.
And there’s so much nuance to their performance. So much complexity.
The major mind-fuck of Basic Instinct (1992) is that there are two coexisting story lines, both with a different killer. Like the drawing of the young girl and the old woman: They’re both there.
One doesn’t exclude the other.
Yet the director Paul Verhoeven insists the movie ultimately portrays Catherine as the killer. That for him it is totally clear who did it.
And all the critics echoed his perspective, without further investigating it, but 27 years later I rewatched this movie a couple of times and I see three things.
1. God, Michael Douglas is hot.
Every time he has seen Catherine, he walks taller, he’s totally self-assured and absolutely irresistible. And he plays his cards with her well, too.
He likes talking with her, because she plays him at his level.
But it’s especially his tooth pick chewing smirk, after he has spent the night at her place and now meets his friend Gus again, that is absolutely golden.
“You fucked her!” Gus exclaims. “Goddamn dumb sonofabitch… You fucked her! Goddamn, you are one dumb sonofabitch –”
Well, he’s not of course.
A dumb son of a bitch I mean.
He’s very smart to have recognized that she’s the only one who can give him the thrill he had working undercover, combined with being the fuck of the century.
As is his explicit appreciation of their encounter.
Which brings me to Catherine.
The second thing I saw this time around:
2. Catherine’s so kind and sweet
Go watch that movie in 2019 and tell me you’re not taken by her sassy remarks, her broad honest smile and her intense sorrow when her best friend is killed.
Sure, she’s ruthless with the five cops who try to interrogate her. She makes them uncomfortable to the bone. But she does it by lighting a cigarette, not wearing underwear, and correcting them when they ask her why she needs a white scarf to tie people up, if she liked men to use their hands.
Catherine: “That’s not what I said.”
Catherine: “No. I said I liked Johnny, to use his hands.”
She outsmarts all of them. Which brings me to the last thing I saw.
3. She’s too smart to be the killer
Paul Verhoeven said she did it. All the critics said she did it. Every page or blog dedicated to Basic Instinct will say she did it. But she didn’t do it.
It wouldn’t make sense.
Why would someone who likes to play games, and likes to manipulate people, get her hands dirty with something as blunt and ugly as killing people when they’re harmless?
There is no fun.
And I think this interpretation of Basic Instinct is made possible because Sharon Stone herself, gave the role its intellectual baggage. Back in the 90s, she was the first one I heard of, who came out as highly intelligent and a member of Mensa.
I think what happened is that although she stuck to the script, you could feel the depth and intelligence of her. The intelligence of Catherine Tramell became so real, that although the script had intended her to be the killer:
It doesn’t make any sense anymore.
In a way, they hired an actress that was too smart for their own good. To this day Paul Verhoeven and everybody else might say she did it.
When I tell you: Every Mensa member will see that movie, and know that she didn’t.
And if only, IF ONLY, I had spent two weeks doing nothing else than analyzing Basic Instinct: But I didn’t.
I went on a different path as well.
And I will like “management-summary” you through it, although that’s technically not a verb, but here’s what happened:
I am still convinced that my meltdown, and current problems are related to what others would call, and what “science” calls:
This means that I have no interest in an entire layer of communication, which the majority of the world’s population requires in order to be able to interact with you, and that I wear a mask interacting with them. A mask which I switch, depending on who I have in front of me.
Now I had already determined that agreeable, cooperative Lauren, would be replaced by the Catherine Tramell mask, for one-offs, and all short and medium sized interactions with the exclusion of friends and family and people I wanted to be nice to.
Not just to save me the energy of bending over backwards, but also because my ice queen mask was a much better representation of what people tend to feel in my presence.
A white coat and platinum blond hair, would be a better mirror of the discomfort they felt, than my “normal person” mask.
In an ideal world I would go for koala imitations and third person Elmo language, but I think this would be even more confusing. And only fellow “autistics” would be able to appreciate having communication take place on a whole different plane of reality.
So Catherine Tramell would just have to do.
But this fine tuning on my masking strategies, wasn’t going to solve my problems with regard to not being able to work, and my suicidal thoughts and possible other mental health issues.
And in my search for answers, I was sucked deeper into the diagnoses. Every day there was a deeper understanding, that I qualify, perhaps even over-qualify, on the criteria for autism as they have been defined in the latest DSM in 2011. Before that, I would have Asperger’s. Which in common tongue no longer qualified as a psychiatric condition, but as pleasantly mad and interesting.
For 25 years Asperger’s had a special position within the realm of mental disorders, and so did the patients who had it.
But ever since Asperger’s has been dropped, and only autism remains, everybody newly diagnosed should say (correctly): “I am autistic” or “I have autism”. Not “I have Asperger’s”
Now it’s not that I have a problem with calling myself autistic. But the trouble is: Others do.
The stigma surrounding autism is so heavy that the mental burden that comes with it, is for me, a sensitive undiagnosed Aspie, who knows she’s an Aspie because she loves to go out and have fun with other Aspies, is just too much.
Especially after two years on an erratic slope downhill.
I wrote an indepth piece on the matter, it’s like my “meta” as we geeks call such a thing, on the entire history of Asperger’s from the 30s to current day.
And my declaration of why I can’t keep going on.
Why I have no choice but to cut myself out of the autistic loop.
If you want to read it:
Goodbye to autism. Plus a new way to greet each other.
Now what I did not say there was what I am going to do to get better. And to get the best help. And Hans Asperger the discoverer of Asperger would have approved because 50 years after his research on autism which included feisty little boys who constantly challenged him, and whom he called Little Professors;
Asperger confessed he made a mistake.
That these boys didn’t have autism, they were highly gifted.
EXACTLY where I am going to start.
How do I move from here if I am highly gifted?
I had a conversation with an amazing researcher and therapist, whose singular mission seems to be to save people from getting an autism diagnosis, and getting them to a therapist or coach specialized in highly gifted people instead.
Because I recognize myself in the complex, imaginative, play of the highly gifted Little Professors. And in Hans Asperger’s observation that the only way to tell them to do something was by addressing them like equals, show no personal interest in the result, and separate the message from the messenger.
For example, you could ask:
“What’s on your schedule today?
Not: “I want you to do this and this.”
The moment the boys could sense that Hans was emotionally invested in whether or not they did something, they would start taunting Hans with it.
I fully recognize myself in that dynamic.
You have to intrigue and seduce me.
Like my lover intrigues and seduces me.
And like Michael Douglas intrigues and seduces Catherine.
The parents and school teachers of the Little Professors had not been able to do that. They thought they could get away treating them like normal kids.
They were wrong.
Men have thought they could keep my interest without making an effort to intrigue and seduce me.
That never worked.
And the five cops in the interrogation room thought their presence would intimidate Catherine Tramell. And instead she wiped the floor with them.
A few days ago Sharon Stone received the GQ woman of the year award, and she gave a speech commemorating her life changing moment when she crossed her legs.
It was not an easy to follow speech.
And just like the movie there seemed to be multiple ways to interpret it. But one sentence stood out, because of its simplicity:
“We have every right to be powerful, in whatever form of sexuality we choose to have.”
The times that I wanted to know the “truth” about autism or my mind are over. All the wandering in the dark, thinking about what is wrong with me. Getting lost into the cave searching for the truth. Behind every corner a new one. Just one more and I ll be there.
Just one more.
I will never be there.
And with every corner turned, I lose more energy, I lose myself. I lose.
Two weeks after finding myself in Catherine Tramell pose, video chatting with you on our coaching call, I had managed to entirely fuck it up and lose it all.
The video from Sharon Stone was like a gift from heaven.
It was Friday, a friend sent it to me.
And it felt like a little nudge from heaven:
“Hey Lauren! Put on your white dress, pull your hair up, and go find that man of yours. All this heaviness, it just ain’t you.”
Maybe that’s the ultimate reason I know I will never go down that path of getting an autism diagnosis, ever again. Because although this didn’t bother me the first few months, over the last week I just couldn’t find my sexuality anymore.
I had lost it looking for the truth on autism.
Sharon Stone added something, after telling us we all have our right to our own unique sexuality. And it was the thing that brought it home, just in case you managed to miss it.
“We have every right to be powerful, in whatever form of sexuality we choose to have.”
“And no one is allowed to take that away from you.”
No one, Sara.
An unexamined life is not worth living
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Back to Basics
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7-figure Rock Star Writer part 6: Consent play
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