Tuesday, May 15, 2012

For My Self

Sometime in early April, something weird happened: I scratched an itch. For years before, I had desperately wanted deep, intense conversations because their realness was the only time I felt genuinely connected to someone else. I wanted them all the time, any time. So when I started seeing clients, at first, it was positively joyful. I was finally getting what I'd been craving.

But after awhile, at some point, the craving seemed to shrink. It's not that I stopped enjoying the work; I still did/do. It's just that omnipresent desire was no longer... omnipresent. And I've found myself at a place, now, where I don't really want much of anything (aside from, you know, a girlfriend). I'm not working towards anything, not building anything, not growing. I'm just waiting for something to happen. Waiting for surgery, waiting for the fall, waiting to start practicing psychotherapy again, waiting to leave Knoxville, waiting for "The One" (or, rather, "A One"), waiting waiting waiting.

In many ways, it's like I'm waiting to feel alive. Much of that, certainly, has to do with not being in a romantic relationship. But there's not much I can do about that here and now that I'm not already doing. And besides, I want someone to complement me, not complete me. And having someone else "help me feel alive" seems to dip decidedly into the "completion" category.

But what else is there to life, aside from work and relationships? What else is there of value besides, well, what and who you are for others?

The only answer seems to be "who you are for yourself."

It's an answer I don't like. And don't want. But I'm increasingly finding that living for others, that basing so much of my self in others makes me angry and anxious and self-conscious. When others so strongly inform my sense of self, I have to control them if I'm to control me [e.g. their failures become my failures, so I have to stop them from failing or I fail]. And that's not right or healthy.

So I need to work on myself. More specifically, I need to use the next few weeks well. I'm going to write more often, and I'm going to identify concrete aspects of my self I want to work upon and then plans to do that. And, if you don't mind, I need your help.

Part of the magic of therapy is how just having someone listen to you makes a difference. Just so, if I know people are paying attention, I'm more likely to follow through with this. But to make this less of a "respond to me" kind of thing, I'd like to ask salient questions instead.

So, first question:

What are some aspects of yourself that you've wanted to change and how have you done it?

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