Saturday, 11 February 2017

on the couch

So far, the blog experiment is not working out as I had hoped. The one where this writing is a space for the kind of play that works to keep inner and outer realities separate but connected. What is happening instead is I'm churning out a lot of words - I was shocked to find I'd written nearly five thousand words on Thursday evening, and all without managing to produce a single sentence that felt like a true or complete rendering of where I was at - and getting increasingly frustrated by the evasions structuring every utterance, even the most innocuous. One of the motives for reanimating the blog had to do with how I felt when I would sometimes dip into the archives: here's this amazing documentation of bits of past life I'd never otherwise have a chance of remembering. But reading those archived posts brought back memories of the actual experiences, and a recognition of how much was left out, not always consciously. I thought I could do better this time. Not so far. Instead what I'm doing this time around is pumping out a crappy soap opera narrated entirely in substatus that will do nothing for my future self but bore and embarrass her. No, that's too harsh. Substatus is definitely the dominant mode in recent weeks, but at least I hope it'll be apparent to the me of posterity that I'm now working with it intentionally, trying to explore its possibilities as well as its limits. So far, though, as I said already, these explorations aren't ringing true for me. I am frustrated. I need this to work, and soon. I don't know what the urgency is. Of course, I have time. No rush. The rest of my life. But it doesn't feel that way.

Evasions, hesitations, untruths. Oh dear, I'm actually weeping. I never had any time for deconstruction as a critical method but as a philosophy of the acts and positions involved in writing, it feels irrefutable to me now that I am not just trying to write, but feeling compelled to.

Life just is one huge substatus, it must be said. It's inescapable. Another reason to try to work within it, not to break out of it. There is one person to whom I can speak with absolute freedom. Access to that space of liberty heightens the contrast with the rest of my life, where constraints press on everything I say. The terminal irony is that within this setting, this relationship, where I experience the relief and release of saying what I want to say, my utterances can't be taken at face value. It's recognised that I'm talking about things that I feel deeply about, often painfully, but every time, I am shown how to detach the emotional turmoil from the occasion I have attached it to, and invited to consider what else might be in play, including structures and patterns established when I was a little child. At the beginning of the analysis this process provided me with the first real understanding of what it means to have perspective on one's own life, and I think it saved me. In a surprisingly short space of time - under a year, certainly - illness gave way to health and then the work really began.

Last year I had a stretch of feeling more strong than I have ever done before  - a wonderful feeling - while at the same time I recognised that there was something artificial tempering it, the slightest little edge of mania or hysteria. I wondered if I might be finished with psychoanalysis. I asked the doctor (who I'm going to call Anna from now on) about it, and what she said was that I would know when it was finished. What she said next I was totally unprepared for and remain devastated by. She said that after I stop seeing her, if I ever need her again, wherever I am, she will help me. What a promise to make, and to receive.

Well, I'm definitely not finished. I need her, but not in the way you need someone who always makes you feel good. She was away this week, and in compensation I went on a nauseating bender of self-disclosure to a string of people who'd done nothing to deserve such sufferings. I have spent the last 24 hours feeling intensely restless, to the point of actual pain in the bodily channel between the solar plexus and the throat. "Blocked chakras." I've felt like this before. Up to a certain point the tension needs to be sat with, not fought against, but I was past being able to do that. The best thing to do would've been to get properly drunk, but funnily enough I was too tired. But when Anna's help is available release from inner tension isn't simple. Of late, I bring her things that I need to talk about, and we do talk about them, but in such a way that their meaning fundamentally changes, and with this their fascination for me is somehow destroyed. So in some ways the demystification of myself is also a debunking, a cutting down to size. It turns out, over and over again, that I am not as interesting as I thought I was! For instance. I had a run of days where I just wanted to listen to one track on repeat. Please don't laugh: it was Talking Heads's "Psycho Killer". Look actually, it's ok, go ahead and laugh, how can you not. So I brought this to Anna; having thought about it independently and not got very far, I wanted to enlist her help in understanding what the fascination was about. I knew from previous experience that she would probably not know the song (she's not from an Anglophone culture) so I thought about how to tell her what it was about, because you see, I naively thought that would matter. But she wasn't at all interested in the song itself, or what I might associate with it. It was the repetition, the needle stuck in the groove, that captured her attention and that I left the session also thinking was the part that mattered.  Sometimes I think she might be a bad influence on me. There are things I've done that I've told her about fully expecting to feel her disapproval or disappointment, but this has never actually happened. She actually congratulated me on one recent piece of thoroughly ridiculous behaviour. The only time I have ever seen her look even mildly surprised was when I told her I'd gotten a tattoo. Oh, what a victory I achieved that day, to have hit upon something she didn't anticipate. I feel fairly certain it will never occur again.

1 comment:

tracy said...

Five thousand words!
That was utterly compelling to read, and also completely relatable in ways that took me be surprise. but I wouldn't feel right to read.
I started blogging again for the reason you describe, but it is an entirely different experience now. I'm not completely sure of its purpose yet, but something is being revealed to me. I will let you know as soon as I have more insight into that.