I've always had mixed feelings about Anaïs Nin. On the one hand, she seems completely over-indulgent regarding her own mental and emotional states, narcissistically obsessed with the bends in her brain.
Yet, on the other hand, there are moments when Nin writes something that cuts straight through her orgy of self-examination and strikes a chord that's so deeply resonant, I feel a real connection to her.
And I guess the mixed feelings I feel towards her illuminate the complexity of our relationship with our own sex. Women can be so hard on each other. We can turn on our own gender on a dime. And yet we'll search high and low in each other for a sense of sisterhood and synchronicity.
And I suppose in that way, maybe I don't sometimes like Nin because she displays traits I sometimes loathe in myself, that seem a little hysterical or over-elaborate or self-obsessed or some other trait I recoil from in myself and in others.
And I think all of this is intriguing and, for that at least, inspiring. Because it's easy to only accept what you wholeheartedly love. But it's much more interesting to examine complex and conflicted feelings. And there's a reality in that complexity that appeals, far more than the purity of adulation.
Image via (cropped)