"You have brains in your head and feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You're on your own and you know what you know. And you are the one who'll decide where to go." ~Dr. Seuss
We're finally getting closer to the point in this story where it will reach real time....but, we have a little bit further to go before we get there. After reading all these books, I began to wish that I could just place my head on top of a book and just extract all the information it contained directly into my brain. I had merely scratched the surface of what I wanted and needed to know and it was impossible (for me) to keep, for example, all the tribal wars straight. As I moved through this process I began to reflect on the idea that I was engaging in a lot of research for something that was simply a dream.
A brilliant man once told me, every good therapist has their own therapist. He also told me that, every good social worker is always one step away from being fired and I can honestly say that I live by both. This post is to talk about the former who we shall refer to as 'Jenny' (which is a name that I love, for no apparent reason other than a possible loose association to the movie Forrest Gump). Jenny and I began working together close to a year ago and she wasn't my first crack at the therapy-show. I have a tendency to make up names for my therapists that fit their personalities, such as Doctor Question Mark and Dr. Geeky Pat (he reminded me of a geeky version of my old friend Pat). Doctor ? was a fucking quack....we'll leave it at that. Jenny has always been Jenny, no fancy made up name for her.
Initially, I sought Jenny's services because I was being triggered by a kid at work that I was engaging in therapy, which was distressing for me professionally and personally. Counter-transference is not a good thing. Interestingly enough, we only talked about that particular problem for a few sessions and then we got down to the real work. I identify this period as being the beginning of the journey that lead me to where I presently am in my life, which is at a distinctly different (and happier) place. As Jenny and I worked through tough topics and experiences, my valuable dollars being spent on therapy were put to work as I refused to engage in this fairly expensive process without doing what was necessary. Apparently, I am a "good client," as I continually do my "homework," which is a nice way of saying I do the work required to re-wire my brain to think, see and understand things a little differently. Not an easy task, if you ask me.
Our main focus became - the primary focus of almost all therapeutic relationships - working through issues related to my family of origin (which is fancy way of saying immediate family). This was interesting and difficult, as my relationship with my family has often been coloured by tension, unease and what I perceive as non-acceptance over the years. We're a great bunch, my clan, but we have our issues. These conversations transitioned into work around my relational style with other significant people in my life, which then - somehow - transitioned into fulfilling one's dreams by being true to oneself. I guess the connection was exploring the most important relationship of my life - my relationship with myself. Money well spent. I guess it was around month three when I expressed my desire to travel to Africa to Jenny, although I cannot remember the exact context of the entire conversation. Her words of wisdom were shockingly simple: well, why couldn't you go to Africa? For the first time in a long time, my contrived arguments were drastically weaker in strength. The arguments revolved around finances and time off work and an ignorance about what opportunities were actually out there to support my dream in coming into fruition. In a moment, I realized that all the books I read, although rich in information and beautifully narrated, really did not give me any information about actually going somewhere to do something. I was basically and acutely dense about how to pull that off, regardless of my new level of social consciousness. No wonder I didn't think that I could go to Africa.
I hate this metaphor but, it is appropriate here: it was like a switch flipped in my head and everything changed. And, now - seven months later - the switch still hasn't turned off. Jenny has been integral in this process, as she created a space wherein my inner momentum could be recognized. She has continued helping me along my way by encouraging me to keep that momentum moving forward instead of sucking me backwards like a vacuum. It seems like every new personal discovery since that time has somehow nicely fit in with the transition of my dream into a goal into the foreseeable future. Oh Jenny, how valued you are by me. I often wish the boundaries of our professional relationship could bend just a little bit to include wine in our conversations and exclude a bill at the end of the hour.
"So, tallyho; it's forward I go. Where I'll land, I finally know. It's onto Africa, my dream from long ago. Where I might see a lion, giraffe, or a hippo. Fuck it, let's do it - that's my new motto." ~ Me.