Changing Place

Changing Place
Chris Alexandris

I remember my first time so well! I’m not talking about my “first time”, of course. I am talking about the day I first sat on a wooden chair in front of my analyst. “I’m listening to you” he told me. “I have a lot of problems.” These were my first words in his office.

A choice. The urgency was to make a choice. I had to choose between two women. As they say in Greece, “The knot had arrived at the end of the comb.” I did not have any more time. I needed an immediate response; it had become essential to make a choice, without delay. I had to choose The woman.

Full of anguish, I stared at the lips of my analyst, hoping to hear The solution. He did not say a word. But I remember laughing as I walked back to my car. It took me a whole month to make a decision and make up my mind. And it was so much easier for me to make that choice once my analyst went on vacation! I chose impulsively, hastily, as I had done throughout my whole life. Impulse was the common denominator of all my actions. It took me three years to hear my analyst telling me that I was not impulsive {αυθόρμητος-afthormitos}, as I had always believed, but compulsive {παρορμητικός-parormitikos}.

He simply changed the place of the letters and my position changed. My whole life changed. Ορμή-ormi – the momentum, the impulse, the drive – changed status. Since that session, I have no longer been impulsive, but compulsive. The urgency of my choices, my actions, did not disappear; it was simply displaced. I mean, I did not stop being in a hurry.

My analyst proceeded to transform the map of my drives via the substitution of the letters “im” {αυθ-afth} by the letters “co” {παρ-par}; he revised it completely. I now have a new point of orientation, a new point to guide the drives whose satisfaction is urgent. The letter, since this session, has become my compass, my guide, my “drive.” In fact, it is impossible for me to choose “The” woman. But “a” woman ? “A” certain woman? It is more possible now.

Translated by Joanne Conway