If you’ve been reading my recent blogs you know I started psychotherapy sessions a few months ago with a wonderful therapist I call Rosamunde. Although I hesitate somewhat to blog about the experiences, I am at the same time driven to do so because they can be entertaining. And what writer doesn’t strive to entertain? But mostly I harbor a secret hope that by sharing my heart, someone reading this will feel seen, or not so alone, or be encouraged to reach out to a friend, a family member or a professional for compassionate help. Life is too short to carry our burdens alone and in silence.
Rosamunde has been encouraging me with different homework exercises: podcasts, mental health books, meditating (which I’m terrible at SQUIRREL), journaling and… writing letters. Not just any letters, but letters to people who have hurt me both in the past and the present. I don’t send the letters though- they are for my eyes only. THEN… and this is the tricky part for me… I write responses to myself AS those people. YIKES!
So I’m totally cool with writing just about anything, but pretending to be someone else is completely outside of my comfort zone. Which is a strange thing to say because you know I love to write- like, if you asked me to compose say, something super random like a love story between Bigfoot and The Loch Ness Monster DONE AND DONE! How fun! I’d be all over that and really excited to figure out the logistics of a burning romance developing between a water dweller and a land dweller- where would they kiss? HOW would they kiss? Also, there’s the problem of a ginormous difference in body size and (probably) both parties’ families being highly against such a bizarre match. AND… oh my gosh… wouldn’t it be funny to throw even more conflict into the story like the lovers had political differences- say Nessie was a Democrat and Sasquatch was a Republican. Or maybe one believed in multiple alien gods and one was a devout follower of the Amish religion. So. Much. Possibility.
But writing a letter to someone I know and telling them how much they’ve hurt me (without sending it) and then turning around and writing a letter back to myself AS that person stating what I need to hear to initiate forgiveness and understanding… NOOOOOOOO!!! That kind of vulnerable masquerade gives me the willies. But I’ve pulled up my big girl underwear and have been doing it anyway.
I had told Rosamunde when she took me on as a patient that I wanted to get better mentally and I promised to do anything she instructed in order to become a stronger, more whole person. We went over my goals, priorities, beliefs; we chatted about what I think I should be and if that is healthy or realistic. And I tentatively confided in Rosamunde my deepest longing: to be a writer. Maybe not as a career, maybe not even as a hobby, but as my identity.
Writing… is both a superlative passion and an elusive wily charlatan. The muse can hurl my creativity into the heavens of euphoria while flinging my imposter into an albatross of insecurity. The muse taunts because it can, for it is fickle, fleeting, given to whimsy… but it is also brilliant, exquisite and flirtatious. Amidst all that volatility is the brooding nature of a poseur… the voices tell me I’m not good enough, not talented enough, not educated enough. Who do you think you are and why do you have the right or deserve the chance? There are no answers to these fractured, incomplete questions, no obvious reasons for their accusatory tones.
I wonder how many of us suffer from Imposter Syndrome? Why we feel we don’t have claim to chase our dreams? Why we shove ourselves into society’s boxes because it’s the responsible and “correct” way to behave? Why we allow ourselves to be battered by both real and imaginary judgements?
Having gotten to know Rosamunde over several sessions, it is no surprise to me now that she had walked into my soul on that first day of therapy, looked around at the brokenness and knew exactly what tool she would place in my palm to begin the patchwork of repair. She did not hand me a needle and thread, or a sword, or a magical tool. She lovingly guided me to the one implement she intuitively knew would be at the ready, the only weapon in my arsenal… a pen.
I must write my way through this world- maybe in secret, maybe to share with others, maybe to bury inside fiction. For me, from the beginning, escape from chaos is through the beauty of lyrical language- whether I use the paintbrush of my imagination, or the black ink of regret, coloring the universe with words is what I was born to do. I long to heal, to connect, to entertain, to bring joy, but above all, to express love. The spectrum of possibility is endless and fascinating.
Much like the romance between Sasquatch and Nessie.
I really need to figure out how they meet in the first place. I mean, are there Bigfeet (Bigfoots?) in Scotland? The couple would have to come across each other there because I don’t think Nessie can just jet on over to America and wander around the PNW. Hold on- I’m googling ‘Bigfoot in Scotland’ … AND I AM NOT DISAPPOINTED by the first picture to pop up. Sasquatch in a kilt standing next to a dude playing bagpipes? YES PLEASE.
Therapy with a skilled, empathetic psychotherapist? YES PLEASE.
Writing because it beckons me like a desirous lover? YES PLEASE.
You reading this and feeling happy or entertained or not so alone? NOTHING COULD BRING ME MORE JOY.