I wanted to share with you. I had a list, in fact, of topics and prompts which would set this room aglow with pure connection. We would talk about boundaries and how well I’m setting and maintaining them, we’d talk about anger and grief and how well I’m navigating and managing them, we’d talk about tenderness and god-consciousness.
Maybe I’d step out of my own body, finally transcend beyond this cyclical existence of opening and closing, pain and joy, attachment and withdrawal. I’d look into your eyes and see god – and know that finally, eventually, at long last things would be okay.
I’d be okay. Fully and unconditionally accepted by somebody at last. Everything I’d say would be right. I’d know exactly where I was going and what to do and when and how to do it; and who to be with.
I wanted to share with you. That’s why I wrote the list, after all. I thought maybe you’d catch sight of my neat handwriting and accept me even more. Like it would be taken as a reflection of some inner beauty, purity and articulateness.
I brought a book. I bookmarked it with little sticky notes – bright fuchsia sticky notes. I thought you’d think that was sweet, and pretty, and girly, and alluring; or something. I bookmarked some passages that were resonating with me; passages that were beautiful and I thought that my resonation with them, in turn, would make me beautiful:
“For almost everyone who practices, cycles of awakening and openness are followed by periods of fear and contraction. Times of profound peace and newfound love are often overtaken by periods of loss, by closing up, fear, or the discovery of betrayal, only to be followed again by equanimity or joy. In mysterious ways the heart reveals itself to be like a flower that opens and closes. This is our nature.”
Is my heart a flower? Or a beautiful, half-open bud soon to be lovingly unfurled by a lonely wanderer in the garden of our universe? I’m asking you because I believe you have all the answers. You sit across to me, yet I look up to you somehow. I try to steady my gaze and conceal the fact that I hang on to your every word. I try to affect the Buddha half-smile – but I have been thinking about this all week. Looking forward to seeing you all week.
But in fairness, I’m more levelled-out now – more secure in myself. You talk about the dangers of black and white thinking, so I’m trying to be grey. You like grey.
I wanted to share with you but things never go the way I expect. I had another quote from that book (you know the one I brought in?) that I wanted to read to you:
“It is wonderful that you demons came today.
You must come again tomorrow.
From time to time we should converse.”
See, this has been my new perspective on my addictive tendencies. I’ve been seeing it, finally, what you said about life moving in circles around our complexes. I think I see it now and I think I’m making friends with them. I wanted to share with you – but we never got to the book.
It sat by my lap as we got tangled up in something else. We got tangled up talking about that relationship of mine – the one which ended. We were talking about him the whole time and like a line from a poet which was recited at an open mic all those months ago: “My story was left untold”.
And of course, it wasn’t really. We still focused on my experience. But why did we talk about him the whole time? I had so many other things to say. At one point you asked rhetorically what the differences were between a therapeutic relationship and a romantic one. You drew parallels. And what were you insinuating? That the advent of the wounds of my breakup being uncovered again might be in some way linked to the fact that we only have four sessions left?
Because it has nothing to do with that. I’ve actually not been thinking about you all week. When you talk about transference, you must have the wrong idea. I wasn’t feeling even more attached to you than normal after last week’s session when I confessed that I thought I was only valuable when I was happy and “expanded”. You see, it didn’t actually mean the world to me when you said I was just as valuable and worthy when I was sad. It didn’t set my heart aglow and have me smiling at work every time I thought of it.
Actually, there were no fantasies about you at all. I don’t know where you even got that idea. I wasn’t imagining you being impressed at my musical performances and using seduction as a tool to attain the validation that is to my ego what oxygen is to my lungs. And just because I’m missing him and you’re the current stand-in for a healthy attachment in my life, it doesn’t mean I’m projecting onto you at all.
And when I tried to hold it together when he left me and told him I completely understood, that doesn’t have anything to do with me trying to hold it together with the imminent ending of our therapeutic relationship. There are no patterns being repeated here, officer, and nothing to see.
“Though it sounds simple, letting go is also an advanced practice. It is demanded in the greatest trials of our lives and in our final moments. It is here that the heart learns the secret: that to let go is also to embrace what is true.”
I tried to convey this wisdom – that letting go has been my approach this week with all the anger. But you derailed me and talked about the idea of disconnection from the relationships in my life. I’m not disconnecting, I’m simply trying to survive. Maybe they don’t teach Zen Buddhism to psychotherapists.
It’s like when I spoke to my ex about looking at what is beneath the resistance to things we feel we ought to do in our lives. He gently disagreed with that approach and talked about grit. But that’s not what Louise Hay said. Don’t you realise that when you disagree with me, I feel invalidated? And that it is my god-given right to be gifted with validation from everyone I enter into a relationship with?
Because it’s not as if I can truly get it from myself. That’s like when you said I need to find something to give me the same release that the self-harm gave me, and I said that’s like telling a crack addict to just find something that feels as good as the crack.
When you say that this is all entangled, that we are entangled, I really don’t know what to tell you. There is nothing entangled about my inner monologues, my inner dialogues and my attachment to you…it’s a shame that you think so.
– SMUT. ❤ xxxx
Quotes taken from the book ‘After The Ecstasy, The Laundry’ by Jack Kornfield