Crawl Spaces and Armor

I’m sitting across from Marlene in her office when I begin to cry-first a couple of tears here and there, and then, after getting caught up in my own emotions, full on sobbing. The sun is shining in her window. I look outside to the park across the street and try collect myself. I’m angry that I got caught up in my own self pity, but I guess that’s what therapy is for isn’t it? She looks at me as though I were a small child lost in a supermarket looking for it’s mother, but I don’t mind.

“This is a safe space,” I remind myself. “I can be as little here as I want to.” I don’t have to suck it up in front of my coworkers and I don’t have to downplay my messiness in front of my friends. I am not required to be “strong” here. In fact, I’m almost encouraged not to be.

So I indulge. The irony is that the more I talk about what’s bothering me, the more empowered I feel by it. I am able to dissect it an analyze the pieces. With Marlene’s coaching, I’m able to figure out where it all came from and how I find myself in the same mental patterns over again:

“You are not good enough.”

“You are unloveable”

“You are too much.”

“You are untalented and unsuccessful.”

“You are an imposter. One day everyone is going to figure out all these things and want nothing to do with you.”

I after the anger subsides, I let myself indulge in the crying a little bit more until I’m ready to slow it down. When I finally stop, she smiles.

“You’re very self aware,” she says. “You’ve been through a lot and your feelings are completely understandable. I know you feel as though you’re in a scary place and everything feels like you’re in a stand-still, but we’re going to get you out of it, and we’re going to teach you how to progress when this does happen again.”

I got nothing to lose by trusting her, so I believe effortlessly.

I leave my appointment and notice how snug my faux leather jacket is around my chest and shoulders. It’s become sort of an armor since I purchased it, an adult version of the small crawl spaces I used to feel safe in as kid.

From therapy, I bike to my favorite coffee shop to put some creative energy into my keyboard. As I take to the keys trying to get reacclimated to the feeling of pouring thought onto blank screen, I realize that that I’ve gotten good at just getting by in my personal life- doing enough to seem functioning, but feeling so disattached it does nothing. I’m not going to make any grandiose vows that I’ll change, but it does feel like a good day to start trying again.

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