Earlier this year I told my good friend I had this strange desire to see a therapist. Me (the therapist) seeing a therapist isn’t the strange part. Despite what you may think, psychotherapists seeking therapy is really common. And trust me, you want the therapist who has worked through her shi….own stuff with a professional, not the one who hasn’t.
The strange part was that I didn’t feel like I had things to work through or change (which… in and of itself, feels like a strange and new place for me to be), but I couldn’t shake the desire to go through the hard work of finding a good therapist.
She was like, “You should do it....if that’s what you feel like you need.”
But I didn’t really feel like I needed just one therapist or even on-going therapy. Here comes the strange part...I told her, “I’m just craving that first session...where I get to spill it all. It’s like I want 7 first sessions.”
She said, “Huh. That’s weird. It sounds like you might just want to tell your story.”
I said, “Yeah, maybe.”
“Maybe it’s time to write your book?!”
Whoa. I hadn’t really considered that this was what this feeling could be: the desire to share my story, in full - not just in not-regular, somewhat-vague blog posts or short stories with clients and friends, or repeating myself to the few people in my life who do know the full story. I think my husband is done hearing about all this stuff out-loud, and I don’t blame him.
The thought of sharing it all in a cohesive, here’s-how-all-the-pieces-fit-together, way sounds simultaneously overwhelming and cathartic; self-indulgent and important. I wonder so much what it would feel like to write that last chapter, to have the ability to figuratively and literally close the door of that back cover to those parts of my life. Would it feel like completion and closure?
Over the years of writing on the internet (albeit inconsistently), I’ve gotten more comfortable with the thought of writing a book like, “Yeah, I could do that...”, although I still feel like a jerk admitting it outloud - like I’m that douche-canoe who believes I’m THE MOST INTERESTING PERSON IN THE WORLD!
I am definitely not terribly interesting.
I am, however, a person with invisible scars. Scars that were once gaping wounds of anxiety, crippling worry, depression, wildly (and insidiously) dysfunctional relationships, dismal self-esteem, and overwhelming loneliness.
There were decades of wondering if there was something wrong with me, if I was worth deep and meaningful connections, if anyone wanted to have them with me, and countless moments of leaping...good grief, so much leaping, hoping the fucking net everyone talks about would appear.
And let’s not forget the years of trudging through what it looks like and sounds like to value myself in relationship with others. This included the almost unbearable work of untangling myself from people who were committed to not seeing me clearly....even when the alternative was feeling like I was floating, untethered, away from everything I’d ever known to feel comfortable and safe (not healthy or wonderful, but safe) and into some red hot, chest-aching loneliness.
I don’t think people talk about invisible scars enough.
The moral of my story will be: It’s worth it. The hard work you resist doing to create the life you really want; it’s worth it. The hard conversations you avoid having; they’re worth it. The boundaries you don’t want to have, the loneliness you don’t want to feel, the grief you’re trying to escape, the connections you can’t want to make, the leaps you’re terrified to take...YOU are worth it.
You deserve healthy relationships. And if I can do it, I’m fairly certain anyone can.
So, why am I telling you all of this? Because I don’t think that I can do this alone. I’m not the person who can do big things without big accountability. Like, I couldn't run a marathon without a serial killer trailing close behind. I know this about myself.
So, why not bring you all along on the journey for some accountability? Wait, I think I just compared you to a serial killer. Hmmm. Honestly, I’m not even sure THIS (sharing with a few thousand people) will be enough accountability to stick with this project (you’re not very scary), but it’s the best idea I’ve got.
So, here were are... in this awkward moment… giving it a shot. I’ve heard great books start in the middle. Crappy rough-draft of the messy middle coming next...or at least paragraph one of the messy middle. Or this post could mysteriously disappear in the near future. Stay tuned. I guess we’ll find out together.