mmmm yeah, well, my partner went to bed early the other night, so, not yet tired and looking for some light entertainment, i decided to start watching, (he's seen it before), at 11.30 at night, the Ted Bundy documentary on Netflix. Little did i know it was a 5 part series... Jesus.
Nearly 5 intense and incredulous hours later, I make my way shakily to bed... I feel infected by him. His darkness. Like the guy has crept into my being from the grave.
I feel SURE that if i'd met him as an earlier, younger version of myself, I would most certainly have been charmed by him. His quicksilver wit, his elegance, his confidence, his sartorial elegance, his mercurial quality, his hopeless, hopeless narcissism. This disarming, magnanimous projected self, that masks a hidden, shadowy, dissowned, terrifying otherness. The dynamic, SO familiar somehow and stretched to such an extreme in Bundy, he becomes a chilling archetype.
He would have had me, hook line and sinker...
It is the shadow i have been healing for much of my adult life.
I climb into bed beside my partner. I am seeing things. I feel very weird. I am sure my husband is Bundy on the inside. I have tricked myself and have chosen badly again. He even looks just like him. How have i not noticed this before...?!
Some part of me knows he's not, but maybe he is..?
Maybe I am like Bundy too.
I know I'm not, but maybe I am...?
Maybe there is something deep and dangerous in me that i am refusing to look at.
In fact I am sure there is. In all of us. Maybe we are all Bundys.
My bones are terrified. I am too terrified to sleep. Eventually sleep takes me down, just as the birds are bursting into life outside. ffs! But i dream about him. I am running. Running. Running. Running through woods and streams in tangled almost darkness and not running fast enough and the feeling of quicksand and my clothing not covering me properly and not enough air coming into my lungs and cuts and bruises all over. Running from some frighteningly familiar pattern i recognise, that used to have me in it's death grip. Those women. All those bright young women at the very beginning of their possibility.
In the morning my partner has morphed back into his usual arrangement and I see there is no longer any vestige of Bundy-ness about him. He pulls his jeans on and checks his phone. Yeah, it's him. The man i remember. Never the less, I do a 20 minute vigorous shaking and shouting meditation to get the shadow of Bundy out of my system.
My partner brings me a hot drink, 'hey honey, here's your lemon water.'
'I need to talk about Ted Bundy' i say.
'Errm, OK' he says. 'well, I'm just in the middle of cooking eggs... will it be a long conversation?'
'not really a conversation' I say.
'what time did you come to bed?'
He goes and finishes the eggs.
It haunts me for days.
That brutal monstrosity sitting under such learned and cultured civility. In plain sight. David Lynch knows it. How it leaks into our nightmares...
And how, if i were just a little better self managed, i might have titrated the experience instead of mainlining it direct and undiluted into my bloodstream, like an addict. How it, like the man himself, is compelling viewing and cleverly put together, but maybe not the best for 'ones' mental health, in the witching hour, alone at night, especially if you have a vivid imagination and a history of dysfunctional relationships... erm...
Glad i put myself through it though...
It opens up deeper questions for me about how we negotiate the freedoms of our culture. How some people deal very badly with agency and choice. The incredible opportunity that opens up in contemporary civilisation to chase what ever path takes our fancy; full-fill which ever thing we are called to do; follow our bliss.... having a duality. And that with that emerging power comes great responsibility. i think about Gabriel Roth's statement that it takes discipline to be a free spirit. And part of that rigour is the courage to keep shining the light into the darkness with in ourselves and the darkness within culture. Shining the light of attention into the darkness, or the uncomfortable truth and owning up to what we find there.
Again and again and again.
Here is the trailer.