by caligula97236 04/04/10
Lisa's mental journey returned to her first boyfriend Mike and their break-up. As she re-examined her role in the break-up of their relationship she wondered how much she really had loved him. She had always thought that the reason she had broken up with him was because she had changed in Chicago, while he had not. Now Lisa was forced to re-examine herself. She realized that what had changed had not been her, but instead her circumstances. The moment her environment changed and her options opened up, she got bored with Mike and the restrictions the relationship with him placed on her. The only reason she had not been bored with him earlier was because her life did not give her many other romantic options while still in high school. In reality her relationship with Mike had been doomed from the start, although it took her nearly five years to realize that. What he had to offer her was stability, and stability was something that Lisa Campbell could not handle.
Lisa sat up and ran her fingers through her hair. What she had just discovered about herself frightened her. Was she even capable of maintaining a long-term relationship? What if she couldn't, and was condemned to spending her life going from lover to lover, hurting everyone she came in contact with? If that was all she was good for, then did she have any value as a human being at all?
She had to talk to someone. The only person who she could talk to in the entire sorority was her Pledge Mistress. She took a deep breath and nerved herself to go upstairs. She was fully aware that she was risking being disciplined by being out of the pledge room without permission after hours, but she would just have to take that risk. She had to talk.
Lisa nervously slipped into the quiet hallway of the sorority house, hoping to find the Pledge Mistress in the office or the library. She tried the office first, and to her huge relief saw Tracy sitting alone in the room at the computer. Lisa nervously sank to her knees and requested permission to speak.
"You can speak, Pledge, but I hope you have a real good reason being out of your bed at this hour. If you don't, the next thing you'll be doing is bringing me a strap out of the storeroom."
Lisa swallowed and began trying to explain her inner struggles with her relationships. To Tracy's credit, as soon as she realized that Lisa was trying to share something very important about a personal situation, her entire demeanor changed. She put aside her Pledge Mistress façade and began speaking to Lisa in the same manner that a psychologist would use with a patient. She asked Lisa some questions about her high school experiences and her emotional dependence on Mike.
Very haltingly, Lisa continued by confessing everything that she had felt over the past two weeks and her very confused state of mind. She even admitted her fleeting attraction to her listener, expecting a harsh reaction, but instead she just got more questions. Finally Tracy was ready to share some of her opinions.
"Pledge Lisa, let's break your feelings and your situation down person by person. I think we can knock-off myself and Dr. Burnside from the start. The deal with us is that, for you, we are authority figures. You have to bust your ass making us happy, because if you don't, we can make your life miserable. Constantly having to put forth effort to please an authority figure will invariably affect how you feel about that person. You have to make a real effort to please us, and when you do manage to please us it makes your life a lot easier. In other words, our mood affects your life and sense of accomplishment. That's going to affect what you think about us, and it's very easy for that feeling of emotional dependency to get sexual. So that's where you stand with me, and presumably with Dr. Burnside."
"I...uh...I 'spose so, ma'am."
"As for the guys in the fraternity, yes, we will expect you to be open to sexual exploration. But that's part of the pledge program and is more for your own knowledge than anything else. So that leaves four people in your life that you need to be concerned about: Mike, Ken, Kathleen, and Cherine."
"Let's eliminate a bit more. Mike's in California and out of the picture. Cherine's also out of the picture, because you've told me yourself there's no way she'd be interested in you. That leaves just Ken and Kathleen. Kind of simplifies things, doesn't it?"
"Not really ma'am, 'cause my attention's going all over the place. It's like...I want whoever's in front of me. I mean, what happened with Pledge Cherine...I mean..."
"Well, Pledge, you know what? I think your situation is a lot simpler than what you think it is. It's real simple, in fact."
"Let me finish with my thoughts. Your short attention span in your relationships is due to a lack of maturity in your personality. You didn't have a lot of excitement in high school and only one relationship, so you don't know how to balance your needs against those of everyone who's close to you. You're extremely impulsive, and to me that explains what's going on with your personal life and your sexual whims. As for excitement, subconsciously you think you're entitled to it now, because you didn't have it before. The problem with that mentality is that you're not thinking about the consequences of letting your attention and sexual energy jump around so much. Not once did I hear you say 'I'm going to do what I can to overcome this, because if I don't, I'm gonna end up hurting myself and a whole bunch of other people.' Not once did I hear that from you."
"So you're blaming me?"
"No, I'm not. I'm simply stating a fact. I think you've got this idea that you're going to simply indulge yourself, even though you know perfectly well that you can't. You don't have that luxury, because too many other people depend on you right now."
Lisa stared straight ahead, not knowing how to respond. Finally Tracy added:
"A minute ago, I said your situation was simple. I didn't say it was easy. Simple and easy are two totally different things."
"Ma'am. I never wanted all this responsibility. This isn't what I came here for. I just wanted to get some experiences and find out who I am."
"Yes, I remember that from your pledge packet. You came here to have some fun, and to find out who you are and what you want. You're now starting to find that out, and it isn't what you expected. Maybe the answer to your question is starting to get a bit scary, because you're not quite who you thought you were. And as for the responsibility, you're stuck with that. You've got commitments to the sorority and the Economics Department, and more specifically, to Dr. Burnside and your fellow pledges. And you'd better think long and hard before doing anything that's going to hurt Pledge Kathleen or Pledge Ken."
"But, ma'am, Ken's out of my life."
"No, he isn't. You jumped to a conclusion about him, when what I was telling you was to keep an open mind. You're still jumping to conclusions about him, and you'd better knock it off. You don't know what's going to happen with Ken. No one does, not even Ken himself. Now here's something else for you to consider. I know that in your own mind you've used Ken's confusion about his sexuality to justify some of your own behavior. I suppose you think that Ken's even more self-centered than you are, which I admit he is. However, he'll have to work through his own issues with the Triple-A's, just like you have to work through yours with us. You have no business using his problems to justify your own irresponsibility."
A surge of anger and frustration swept over Lisa. Why was she getting all the blame?
"Ma'am, how come you're ripping into me like this, calling me irresponsible? What is it that you want me to do?"
"I'm not ripping into you. I'm simply saying that you have an issue in your life, something that I would consider a weakness of character. You've identified it, and if you don't want to hurt the people who care about you, you're gonna have to deal with it. That's all I'm saying."
Tracy stayed silent for a moment, giving Lisa a moment to think over what she had just said. When Tracy realized that Lisa did not have any more pending questions or comments, she shouted:
"PLEDGE! STAND UP!"
Lisa scrambled to her feet and was dismissed.
Lisa went back downstairs with Tracy's psychoanalysis still ringing in her mind. The Pledge Mistress, in her usual blunt manner, had given Lisa a new perspective about herself. It had not been what she wanted to hear, but if Tracy was right, Lisa's problems grew out of a single weakness in her personality that she could combat, now that she had identified it.
The conversation already had resolved an issue Lisa's life by settling her feelings towards Cherine. The temptation she had felt earlier in the evening had passed. Cherine was off-limits and Lisa was able to accept that.
Lisa's feelings towards Kathleen also were settled, at least for the time being. Lisa felt committed to giving Kathleen a decent relationship, doing what she could to satisfy her needs, and using their time together to help her lover build up her confidence and self respect.
The difficulty facing Lisa (and Kathleen) was that Lisa was not lesbian. She enjoyed sex with guys and usually men figured in her erotic fantasies much more than women. Her attraction to Kathleen began not because of sexual orientation, but because of the two women's personal circumstances and isolation from the outside world. Her attachment to Kathleen was still much more emotional than sexual.
As for Kathleen, her emotional needs were clear. Her soul was starved for affection and she needed someone to care about her. However, her sexual needs were a different matter. Lisa suspected that she was in the same situation as Ken, not sure what her sexual needs were. Lisa knew that in high school she had been sexually active, but her partners always had been the type who had taken advantage of her desperation for love as an opportunity to have easy sex. Kathleen's experiences with guys were nothing but a collection of bitter memories of betrayals, and as a result her perception of men was very warped. Kathleen hated young men because nothing good had ever come out of them as far as she was concerned. However, did that make Kathleen gay, or was she just embittered against men due to her personal experiences? What would happen if she did meet a guy who treated her decently?
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