To Possess, and to be Possessed

By Sonya Rehman

As of late, one of my dear friends was having ‘man trouble’ (such sweet pain a pair of pants can cause a good, wholesome woman).
We talked endlessly. Myself and her. Dissecting and scrutinizing every word he’d ever uttered to her over the past month – the country could well be taken over by those blubbering Johnnies from the mountains, but when it comes to issues with the opposite sex, nothing matters more than the affairs of the heart! Nothing.
But I reiterate; only for good, wholesome women. Those kittens who know how to ‘play the game’ don’t count. They never do.

For a week, my cell phone was my babe in arms. My little Chiquita. I’d spend hours on it with my soul sister, staying in constant touch – via sms, and sporadic, albeit extended conversations.
But one day, something happened. I sort of snapped. Like an angry, red elastic band stretched too wide, in the foolish hopes to tie up a thick, glossy mane. I snapped.

So, why did I snap? Her ‘obsession’ with him, was slowly yet surely doing me in. So much so that I wanted to stick my head into an oven. Sylvia Plath style.
I absolutely erupted, and one day, I let my dearest, doe-eyed friend have it. Good and proper.
“You may hate me for saying this”, I told her sputtering, “But I’m going to be honest and harsh with you rather than pussy-foot around this entire issue. Let go now and get a grip on yourself.”
What followed was dead silence. And then she hung up on me. For a long while, I simply stared at my babe in ar-oops, I meant, cell phone.
What I actually was doing, was confronting my very own, personal demons. An ugly bugly personal demon of unflinching obsession, and possession.

And so I thought and I thought. I mulled over what had just transpired until I felt a sudden pang of regret.
Grabbing my cell phone, I typed out to her: “I hurt when you hurt. Especially when it’s about a mere pair of pants. You’re a good woman. You didn’t drag me down, but in all honesty, what you’re going through is reminding me of what I went through at one point in my life. And what every woman goes through when her heart aches incessantly. Why are women like us so black and white?”

She responded back almost immediately telling me how much she loved me, and how vital it was to remain black and white. And how it was only the good, wholesome, men – who compartmentalize their lives in the blacks and whites, just as us – who were really worth it at the end of the day.
I could almost picture my friend sighing internally, in quiet relief, as she typed out her message to me. In a way, I think she finally started ‘letting go’ that day. And, so did I.

But my friend, I knew inherently, only let go of the obsession in connection with the person. Her obsession with life, and giving love many chances would run free, consistently.
Deep down, she or I for that matter couldn’t, and perhaps, didn’t want to ever change.

But it still made me ruminate. How does one curb passion and obsession? Or should it be curbed? And I don’t just mean ardor regarding an individual, but also towards life, towards one’s work, dreams, goals…

To possess and be possessed is quite like stepping into a patch of quick-sand. It’s like sinking deep, toe-first into a honey pot, letting the gooey swirls of sugary syrup cloak you completely.
Can one live their life with the conscious subtraction of passion? But would not that be like leading a half-life? A dour life, patchy and humdrum? But then again, how much passion is enough? Should it be balanced out? Defined? And can it be? Should it be left limitless, and frantically feral?

At the base of a passionless disposition lies an immense fear of disappointment. And that very base remains strengthened, and lined in place, with one’s ego.
After all, if you love any one thing, or anyone, and you face an off-hand dismissal, what truly makes one crumble? Is it not the bruised ego and wounded pride, which speaks, then?

I only understand now, that painfully honest people, who live their lives without any fancy guises, without elaborate facades tend to nurse fantastic hopes, fantastic, boundless passions which glitter like miniature pearls in the caskets of their hearts, forever.

And at the end of the day, that is their saving grace…their salvation.

*The title of the article was changed to ‘Magnificent Possession’ once published in TFT. But I’ve kept the original title here, because I liked it better.

The Friday Times


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