Sunday, April 3, 2011

Genie In A Bottle

If you are of a certain age, you will remember the TV show 'I Dream of Jeannie'.  I grew up watching the reruns after school, many years of watching those reruns. It had a tremendous impact on me as a young girl.  Jeannie seemed like something to aspire toward; she was beautiful, she was good hearted, she was fun, she lived comfortably and she could do magic, she could alter her world by the blink of her eyes. These are the positive things about her and her life I was drawn to.  But there were negative things as well, only I was too young to pick up on them, CONSCIOUSLY.  She was a slave.  A slave to her Master.  Of course, in the TV show, her Master turned out to be a pretty decent guy, so she was lucky. He really wasn’t all too keen on being her Master, and of course the whole premise of the show was how hard she tried to convince him that she was a good slave and that he was lucky to have her.  And there was plenty of lighthearted comedy going on that kept us all from seeing the dark side of this setup.

I chose the metaphor of a Genie In a Bottle as the way I view my SELF in life for many reasons.  I actually did pattern my life after Jeannie in an extreme and unconscious way. I had already been altering my life, inside my head, for many years. But Jeannie showed me a better way of imagining this kind of thing, this kind of alteration.  She was the nicer version of what was already going on in my life on the outside, and in my head, the inside.  Her life as a slave to her Master was a cleaned up version of what was going on in my young life, and it was a comfort to me in some way.  See?  This isn’t so bad.  I can be Jeannie and it won’t be so bad. Even her bottle, that place where she was sent, her prison, it looked so pretty, didn’t it?  Nice and comfy, silk pillows, softness everywhere, all pink and purple and girly and stuff.  If I can just imagine that my prison is as pretty and comfy as Jeannie’s, then things really won’t be so bad.  If I can imagine that my Master is this handsome, good hearted, benevolent Major Tony Nelson, then my life isn’t so bad.  If I can imagine that Major Nelson would never do anything to hurt me, then my life isn’t so bad.  If I can imagine that Major Nelson’s friends are harmless, even when they find out about me, then my life isn’t so bad.  I can just pretend and everything in my world will take on a rosier hue.

The problem here is that real life is very very very rarely like it is on TV, especially back in those days, when we were only shown the softer side of things.  And even if some element of ‘bad’ was introduced, there was always a resolution by the show’s end, the ‘good’ always won in the end.  Nice and tidy, things always ended in a nice and tidy way, where everyone was safe and happy.  But that was not what my real life was about, that was not how things were going for me.  I was trapped, just like Jeannie, but my Master was not the handsome Major Nelson, the good natured man who would never really hurt me. In my world, Masters knew only how to lay the trap and make you pay a heavy price for being as innocent and naïve as Jeannie.  And once you were in the trap, once you were in that bottle, there was no way out and life never had that rosy hue.  It was a dark, rank and painful prison that I never did find my way out of, not until I opened my eyes and realized that I was going to die in this place, and that there had to be someone out there who was going to be able to help me out of here.  Someone was going to take the cap off that bottle for me, I just needed to ask for help.

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