A letter to a friend sent from my false self

Dear T***,

Do you ever have moments where you truly don’t know who you are?  Almost like a sinister version of yourself doesn’t want sunshine or happiness to be in your life?  Does everyone have this or am I currently what is considered lost?

Well, I hate this person and I’d like to make sure she doesn’t come around, but facing her is considerably frightening.  Who is she?  She’s been hanging around and trying to conjure up trouble around here.  In fact, I remember her from back in the day except back then I thought she was the coolest part of me.  She was a rebel, drinker, joker, adventurer, and drama queen.  She was cocky, attractive, interesting, complex, and irresistibly flawed.  She drew people in and could hang out with just about anyone, but she never could sustain anything with meaning.  Is she my false self?

My false self always seemed so much more attractive and relevant before now.  She hurt so many people who passed through my life, and I resent her for that.  However, she was such an important part of my growth that I’m also very protective of her.  Perhaps I also see this in others, which is why I’m so quick to forgive?  My false self has no accountability much to the detriment of my true self, who is left with the blame and abysmal guilt.

Well, there doesn’t seem to be much room for both of us, and I’m far too old to hang out with my false self anymore.  I should confront her one last time; truly I should send her on her way.  You see, other people would say ‘kill her off’ but realistically I’m afraid I may be addicted to her, and her psychological prowess requires premeditated measures.  Hence, this letter that serves as a vague pondering of the strength of my attachment to her and my ability, or lack thereof, to ignore her entirely.  I’ll keep you updated on any progress.

If I know her, which I do, she’ll simply watch from afar and check in with me at times she thinks I miss her; opportunities to influence.  All I can do is be true to myself and hope the charisma of my false self is never as real as the energy of my true self.

You mentioned your disappointment in my absence from ink, and between the lines of the letter you wrote you asked how I was.  How’s this for a letter? Until next time…

 

XOXO,

A.O.

 

 

 

 

Cross Post #6

Where Does Your Past Exist?

The important thing to remember about your subconscious mind is that it isn’t very skilled at telling the difference between an imagined experience and a real one.

(Read Blog Post)

Monkey Minds were not harmed in this blog post.

My therapist tries so hard to get me to admit that something…anything, really…hurts. I, of course, opt for closed-off buzz words like ‘annoyed’ and ‘disappointed.’ Those words that seem to ring with strength over weakness. She prods for my recognition of hurt as a feeling week-after-week, as I squirm in the uncomfortable lobby-like chair. Humanity’s friend, avoidance, kicks in but instead riddles me with trivial obsessive thoughts which is what brought me there in the first place. There, the sterile room with the only identifying element being the faux Van Gogh’s hanging on the wall. Her chair, the one I sit in, is uncomfortable and entirely impersonal…am I like her chair?

This monkey mind of mine has stuck around much longer than usual, and my true self stands outside the atrium knocking on the glass. I see you, I do, but I’m busy swinging from branch-to-branch. After all, it’s much more fun to climb trees than to fall to the ground.

The two women that know me best – my mom and wife – tell me frequently that I put more energy into those that don’t deserve it versus those that do. I wish I could say this wasn’t true, but it is and I know it. I suppose there are those times in life when you know exactly who you are, and insight and intuition are shining lights. Then there are times when you have to really work to see any light, and that’s when you change the batteries in the flashlight. It is then when words like ‘hurt’ lurk like a monster in the dark. I’ve never been scared of the dark, but after standing too close to monsters I do search for that flashlight.

It’s like REM sings, “Everybody Hurts Sometimes” and if I think about it…’hurt’ does sound more impactful, doesn’t it?

Associative Intrigue

Associations are interesting, aren’t they? Places can conjure up experience with people or a feeling.  Songs can remind you of a time when you were someone very different.

Words serve as events of achievement like the first time I learned what ‘palindrome’ meant.  Socially, one is judged by the company they keep.  Financially, one is aligned by the material goods they possess.  Intellectually, by the books they read and the concepts they understand.  Spiritually, by the faith they hold.

Brands make money on this; associations.  It’s how animals learn, and it all relates back to us and the associations that elicit emotion. When I tell my dog to sit…he sits with the emotive tone associated to the word ‘sit’. I purchase Diet Dr. Pepper because of my childhood attachment to happier times.  Associations are the most intriguing indicators of a person if you think about it.

A Disorderly Nagging of Order.

There is an incessant nagging inside that prevents me from having full closure with a space until all order is restored.  The ‘order’ of which needs to be restored might not make a whole lot of sense to you, so I’ll spin my best wizardry to give you a glimmer of understanding into this crazy head.

‘Order’ can be broken down by triggers.  If the gun is cocked and the trigger goes off, BANG, disorder.  However, if the gun has the safety mode on the trigger cannot go off, unexpectedly, so this requires a great deal of precautionary measures.

Now, relate everything I just said to OCD and reread it again…I’ll wait….

Fine, I’ll help you.

Triggers, like a bi-level closet that is organized with shirts on the top rod and jeans/pants/’anything you wear on the bottom half of your body’ on the bottom rod.  A shirt on the bottom would cause the trigger to go off.  I would notice the white hanger on the bottom among all the green hangers and trigger two would go off.  What is a wire hanger doing in this walk-in closet?  Oh god, this goes in the coat closet in the bedroom.  Open the bedroom coat closet and the coats are not in length order (longest to shortest).  Jesus, how can I relax until it is, orderly?  Great, now that the tall coats are in the back and the shorter ones in front I can see the floor.  Holy hell, why is the cord to the iron – which rests on the floor and should be on a shelf (note:  container store) – not wrapped around it?  Oh you know why?  Because my wife didn’t wrap the cord around it.

“MELINDA!”

“I hate when you yell from upstairs when I’m downstairs.”  She yells back.

“I hate when you do this,”  I yell.  “Can’t you make sure the cord is securely wrapped around the iron before putting it back.”

She mumbles something I cannot hear.

So I proceed to wrap the cord, securely, around the iron and push it back in its place against the back of the wall.  Seriously?  How does dog hair get in the closet.  I look on the sunlit floor and anxiety shoots me in the gut at the floor that is covered in dog hair.  Didn’t I just sweep and mop yesterday?  For the love of God my pets hate me.  Why do they do this to me?  Not only am I already allergic to them, but I feel like a dirty dog with hair everywhere.  Crap, I didn’t wear slippers and my socks look like cousin IT.  Hyperventilate.

Stella, my cat enters the room purring.

“Awww,” I tell her.  “Come here pretty girl.”

She comes over, rubs against me, and then bites my hand when I pet her.  Whatever, she’s a bitch.  I have to Swiffer, but first I have to take off these dirty socks.

“STELLA!”

She likes to get fake flowers from my decorative flower arrangement in the bedroom and the only way she likes to do it is by making it plummet to the ground.  Oh my god, breathe, hair might get into the fake flowers.

My wife enters and helps, she picks up the flower arrangement.  That’s so nice of her.  She tells me about her day, but I can’t focus because the flower stems are not pointed toward the bed.  She obviously asks me something, but I have no clue.  Oh no, the design of the vase isn’t facing the door of the bedroom.  I’m going to have a nervous breakdown, so I rush over to stop the white noise of my head.  Whew!

“Now what did you say?”  I ask.

She sighs, “You never listen.”

I think I’m listening TOO hard, but unfortunately it’s at gun shots all around me.  She goes downstairs to dilly-dally, and I change socks then go downstairs to get the Swiffer and I swiffer so hard it may very well crack the floor.  Whew, some semblance of order in the bedroom.  I exit the room, close the door, and add “container store: closet shelf” to my to-do list.

God this room stinks.  I think it stinks.

“MELINDA”

“I hate when you do that.”

I yell, “Do you think our bedroom stinks?”

“No.”

What does she know?   I have the super power of smell and I think it stinks.  (Note: room fragrance isn’t cutting it so do research for a constant way to keep a fragrance flowing through room).  I reopen the door, confirm, and shut it with resolve and add “Bedroom scent” to my to-do list.

Not including the walk-in closet, which I can’t discuss at the moment for fear of triggers that would cause me to literally take a half-day and go home and organize it, I have 3 rooms and a bathroom upstairs.  Not including the basement, first-level, yard, and garage (which is so clean it sparkles). You do the math on how long you think it takes for me to actually get closure in a space.

I’ve learned a trick so that I can write.  I keep my office spic-n-span and neurotically aligned with my symmetrical and often times insane expectations of positioning.  The trick is I shut my door and breathe in heaven.

I hear a loud crash and rush out.  The bedroom door is cracked so it must not have been shut very well, and there is Stella in the flower arrangement.

“STELLA!”

She snickers, “You pointless worrier, it’s easier to teach a dog new tricks.  I do this every single time and your attempts to close the door, while clever, do not prevent me from getting in, eventually.  I will fuck with you for the rest of your life or until you get rid of this arrangement.  Crazy little human, I don’t really like playing with the flowers I just like playing with you. PURRRR.”

Okay, I made the last part up but I swear that is probably what she would say.  No, I don’t think animals talk (to us).

One Continuous Mistake

Muscles grow between times of maximum stressBread dough rises between kneadings.  The real work of psychology happens between regular scheduled sessions….While the image of a writer in the throes of an idea (consumed, concentrated, riveted) is familiar to the point of cliché , we hardly ever hear about the time, toward the end of the writing process, when a writer (ideally) lets her writing rest…when she allows it to “just sit” (like in Zazen) seemingly doing nothing.  But as anyone who has tried to do it knows, zazen is not nothing.  Likewise, while one’s writing sits, far from nothing, within the writer.”

—Gail Sher, One Continuous Mistake (Four Noble Truths For Writers)

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