The basic dynamic of any abusive relationship is the tendency of the victim to blame herself
The book is adept at elucidating the doublethink necessity to stay in a bad kinship – the ceaseless shuttle between wanting to leave and wanting to stay ; the internal litigation one does to disprove the attest of one ’ south own eyes ; the sympathy one has for one ’ sulfur abuser. “ The world is full of injury people who hurt people, ” writes Machado, who frequently found herself ( after being screamed at, chased and bombarded with objects thrown at her head by her girlfriend ) in the position of comforting her. And however she stayed on. As she writes, “ people settle near volcanoes because the result land is extraordinary ”. The “ dream house ” of the title refers in the literal feel to the house the women occupy in the midwest, and more by and large, to the psychic outer space in which the abusive kinship unfolds, a terrain complicated by the fact that both partners are women. For Machado, the basic dynamic of any abusive relationship – the tendency of the victim to blame herself and assume she has the might to change things – is compounded by the muteness that surrounds abusive lesbian relationships. not only does she lack a language to describe what is happening to her, but there are times when to confront what ’ s going on feels disloyal to the very mind of lesbianism – the myth that “ to find desire, love, everyday joy without men ’ randomness accompanying talk through one’s hat is a pretty becoming working definition of eden. ” The book ’ sulfur take on genre – each short section appears under a subheading frame it through a different literary device, for exemplar “ Dream House as Soap Opera ”, or “ Dream House as Comedy of Errors ” – speaks to Machado ’ randomness desperate efforts to fit her experiences into a preexistent narrative. At one point, in a section entitled “ Dream House as Sanctuary ”, she locks herself in the toilet to escape her girlfriend ’ second rampage. “ I remember sitting with my rear against the wall, ” she writes, “ pleading with the universe that she wouldn ’ t have the tools or know-how to take the doorknob out of the door. ” meanwhile, the girlfriend batters the door, which rocks on its hinges “ with every blow ”. It ’ s a contention of Machado ’ s that abuse within lapp sex relationships is homophobic in the same way that heterosexual misuse is fuelled by sexism. “ Inherent to domestic maltreatment in thwart relationships is the fact that no one is going to believe you, ” she says, “ because there is no narrative for this. You ’ re in a situation where you ’ re not going to be understand because of the sexual orientation course component, and I think that is a kind of homophobia ; it ’ second relying on a certain understanding, a certain prejudice. ” It is, she believes, embedded in the structure of the kinship, “ in the lapp way that when men beat their girlfriends, they ’ re relying on the fact that sexism permits a certain measure of autonomy and restraint [ within square relationships ]. I thought that was interesting. ” It is one of the aims of In the Dream House to fill what Machado calls the “ archival hush ” around these thoughts by assembling a “ roughly, working try at a canon ” of “ queer domestic misuse and sexual rape ”. This includes anecdotal and academic references to poems, essays, memoirs, such as Jane Eaton Hamilton ’ s mighty essay “ Never Say I Didn ’ metric ton Bring You Flowers ”, Melissa Febos ’ s essay “ Abandon Me ”, and the poems of Leah Horlick, ampere well as legal precedents that exemplify the reluctance of the courts to recognise and prosecute domestic violence within same sex partnerships . Machado with a fan at a PEN Presents event in Los Angeles in November.
Photograph: Randy Shropshire/Getty Images One result of this hush, she says, is that it may be that perpetrators such as her ex-girlfriend fail evening to recognise what they ’ re doing as abusive. “ I think about that a fortune, and I go back to this question of did my ex-girlfriend realize what she was doing ? Was she mindful of it ? I have no answer to that, and I have to be comfortable with having no answer. It doesn ’ triiodothyronine matter in the sense that the result is the same. ” Neither does she wish to focus on why her ex-girlfriend behaved the way she did. A person who does that “ is in pain ; of course they ’ re in trouble. again : does it matter ? It ’ s an matter to question but not one I can begin to psychoanalyse. I ’ meter not her doctor. ” Machado focuses, rather, on the job of identifying and articulating emotional damage, which isn ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate for the most partially flush illegal. To her pity, she says, she went through a phase of the relationship when she hoped that she had external bruises to prove that what was happening was real. “ I wished that I had a police reputation, or a black eye. And I recognise that that ’ s actually fucked up but besides there ’ s something about having clarity that feels intoxicating and that I think I wanted and continue to want. And I don ’ triiodothyronine know what to do with that. ” The platonic ideal of victimhood, I suggest, is used across the spectrum to undermine women ’ south credibility and turn the blame back on them, so it ’ s not as if bruises would necessarily have clarified things. “ so possibly it ’ mho actually about the fact that we don ’ t have the tools to deal with anybody ’ randomness injury ; the fact that we all think, well, if one thing was different, people would take me seriously or believe me. And the fact is that cipher would believe you. ” For a hanker time, Machado didn ’ t evening believe herself. When, in the book, she is told by a repair that she needs to lose burden, she misses “ the punchline entirely ”, she writes, which is that “ the weight you need to lose is 105 pounds and sitting in the waiting room with an annoy expression on her face. ” She is increasingly deplorable. Her writing breaks down into smaller and smaller fragments, an unconscious reflection of her shatter equilibrium. Machado had thoroughly friends who grew refer for her social welfare and a love family – her father, the son of a Cuban immigrant, is a chemical engineer and her mother a housewife. But however she couldn ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate walk away. ( Hers isn ’ t an entirely tolerant family – a relative once said to her : “ I don ’ metric ton believe in cheery people, ” to which she retorted : “ Well, we believe in you, ” something she now finds curious. “ I mean she ’ s just the worst, but besides, like, you know, it ’ mho fishy. You don ’ thymine believe in us ? That doesn ’ t make any sense. You ’ re not even saying I don ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate think it ’ s OK or all right. You don ’ thyroxine believe in us – that act of denial in universe. It ’ s interesting. ” ) In the end, Machado was emboldened to leave thanks to the corroborate of friends and the creeping palpate that her girlfriend was badly unstable. The sober thing, she says, is that while writing the book she would occasionally catch sight of herself through the lens of her ex-wife ’ randomness position. “ Vestigial injury, ” she calls it. “ Places where I could catch myself thinking in a way that I could tell she was shaping, from the past. Which was in truth disturbing. ” The internalization of the abuser ’ sulfur voice can be the worst view of an abusive relationship and matchless that Machado still finds “ reasonably uncomfortable. It was eldritch and it remains wyrd. Healing doesn ’ thymine mean unmake things that happened. That ’ second very afflictive, and identical sad, and the more I think about it, the deplorable I feel. But besides I ’ m like, well, you go through life, things happen to you. That ’ s the human have. ” Can you see yourself as she saw you ? “ Totally, wholly. And besides the sense of the record as an act of returning to this erstwhile adaptation of myself. I can go up to the old Carmen, but I can ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate interact with her to say it ’ s going to be all right. therefore there ’ randomness this act of trying to access the by and an honest-to-god way of thinking that doesn ’ t exist any more. ”
Machado ’ s book of brusque stories, Her Body and other Parties, was about impossible to categorise – character medieval horror, partially fantasy, separate skill fabrication. It was dark and defy, and fun in a wild screen of way. By contrast, writing In the Dream House felt to her highly restricting. “ Fiction, to me, feels like play. Non-fiction is you trying to figure out what you think – to put meaning to things that happened to you, which is very hard. When person says to you I have an immediately formed opinion about a matter I equitable heard about, I don ’ thymine entrust that at all. ” It takes her about three years to come up with a solid opinion, she says, to “ chew over and contemplate. I write non-fiction so slowly, one essay a year, and I ’ m actually meticulous about it. ” Returning to fabrication, she says – “ to write fishy sentences and fair create ” – has been, perversely, one of the oddest joy of writing the memoir, a reminder of the satisfaction of controlling one ’ second narrative, and the office of moving on. “ I feel thus alight ! ” In the Dream House is published by Serpent ’ s Tail .