Archives for March, 2012
As anyone acquainted with me and this blog knows, I see a psychiatrist regularly for my mood disorder. We started seeing each other in 1991. He's an unusual psychiatrist... Dr. Bob is not a psychoanalyst like my first psychotherapist back in 1960. She was Jungian and probably one of the only therapists to treat children like me in Toronto. "A very, very, very difficult child," I've been told time and again all my life. "There was something wrong with you." You hear that long enough and often enough and you begin to believe it, Dr. Bob reflected this week. His orientation to psychotherapy is eclectic. We talk. I sit facing him and he sits behind his desk facing me. There's a couch in his office, but I doubt anyone uses it. And an intriguing piece of art that says, I need you which I've written about here.
No. Don't worry. I'm not getting into self-flagellation or abuse. Quite the contrary. Here's the story... Back in 1977 when I joined the racy, irreverent tabloid Toronto Sun fresh out of broadsheet-biased journalism school (as all journalism schools were and probably still are) I had to learn to "punch up my copy." Make it grabby. Make it smart. Make it snappy. Make it sing. In other words capture the reader with the story and the intoxicating way you tell it. The same is true when you're looking to reinvent yourself in today's cramped and constricted job market. As far as presenting myself as employable, I have to "punch myself up." This afternoon, I met with a terrific young fella named James, an employment consultant, who works at a local agency that helps people navigate the job market and find work. Or in my case, a new direction... During the last week in February, I took three, three-hour seminars to get my feet wet in this pursuit. One on "Targeted Resume-writing," another on "Interview Tips," and a third on "Writing Cover Letters." All very exciting and frightening at the same time, especially for me because I have a seven page CV and no idea where I fit in today's shrinking job market.
In January, whilst in the thick of my Eating Disorders Outpatient Program, I began knitting. A scarf. I knit it on circular needles in three colours from a design in Alison Hansel's Charmed Knits, Projects for Fans of Harry Potter. I didn't follow the pattern very closely. Pattern-following isn't really my style. I knit a work of wearable art... I refined the design. Used three colours instead of two and let my mood dictate when I would change those colours. Thus, my scarf, which I now wear all the time ~ or as long as it's still chilly here ~ is a bright piece of wearable art, with no pattern.
I wasn't there. I cannot attest to the factual accuracy of what I'm about to share with you. But according to a very close relative with whom I visited this weekend, I was given "everything" ~ all the love and attention in the world ~ but "there was something wrong with me." "From birth," the relative pronounced with profound authority, "you were a very, very, very difficult child in every possible way." That is one truth. But is it the only truth? Take a gun. Aim it at my heart or head. Then pull the trigger. I have heard this from this relative and others in my family more times than I can remember. It is in "the family record." It IS the family record. And I am not buying that particular truth anymore. It's old. It's out of date. It's been disproven. It's no longer valid or real. Perhaps I was difficult. So? In 1948, the year of my birth, perhaps I was difficult ~ compared to other children and other "norms" of the period. Who knows? For sure? Perhaps there were other expectations of me. Was I a bad child? Did I hurt other people purposely? I don't know and it's all history now. Ancient history.
I don't want to think about when I last wrote to you. I feel and look like a different person. Inside and out. It is overwhelming for me to explain these differences. They may not even appear to you, but they are shouting loud and clear to me. Yes, I hear voices, all the time. Perhaps you do, too. Or you do not to listen to them... Today, you're probably different that you were a few months ago, too. We're changing all the time, if we're lucky and open to change. I like change. If we're buoyant, strong, "resilient" ~ that buzziest of psychological words these days. When I broke my arm on December 14, I cut off all my hair. There was only so much I wanted to impose on my husband Marty who was doing everything there is to do around this place. Cleaning, cooking, caring for our dogs. Chauffeuring me hither and thither, here, there and everywhere. Since then, and after another haircut, I am utterly shorn. I not only have "wash and wear hair," I have "get up and go hair." It's liberating... The hair is but a superficial difference. Inside, where I have lived these 63 years, or made a semblance of living, the landscape is transformed. My ebullient personality, my default mode, is but a cover, I will confess. It's a great mask behind which the real me lives. A me, no one really wants to know. I don't blame them. I'm getting a little tired of her, too.