I've always loved that Lesley Gore song - 'don't tell me what to do, and don't tell me what to say'. It's such a big girl anthem from a time when it was all about crying into your pillow and waiting for the boy to come and rescue you. Admittedly, it was almost ruined for me by the movie The First Wives' Club, but if I try really hard I can block that out.
It's not just a pronoun. It's a way of thought for a lot of people.
She is mine. He is mine. They belong to me.
No, they don't.
They - I, you, he, she - belong to themselves. Ourselves.
I watch people all the time. And this is something that absolutely fascinates me. Why do so many of us insist on making our partners into a piece of property? Why do we, as humans, try to take away all that makes the person we say we love most in the world an individual, and instead attempt to cram them into a heart-shaped box of what we want them to be?
The thing that seems to matter most for some is not the person they have, but that they have a person.
Maybe I'm cynical. Maybe I'm a bit jaded. I don't think so, because in my own head and heart I'm a hopeless smooshy romantic, and I adore happy endings. But of late, I seem to be seeing this phenomenon of possession. Of people becoming things. A tick on the list - relationship achieved, so now let's make the partner fit what I want them to be.
I'll make them mine.
This goes two ways of course.
Some people are happy in that role. And if that is the case - then that's their choice, and it's absolutely fine. Unimaginable to me, but fine. I am unable to imagine living life that way, which is possibly why nobody is able to stomach me for large periods of time! When it come down to the wire though, there is another grammatical use of possession which it is wise to bear in mind. It is not just a pronoun.
It is, of course, also a verb. Which, like love, as I was reminded last night by my very wise friend Miss A, is a doing word.
To want to be possessed - to allow yourself to be possessed, in terms of being loved completely, and wholeheartedly, and giving yourself totally to another... that is a very different kettle of fish. By the way, can someone please tell me where that term comes from? Sorry, tangent.
"You possess me."
"I am possessed by you."
The difference is, it is you making the choice. Not someone making the choice for you. Which is a world apart.
You don't own me.
But I might let you borrow me... for a lifetime or two.