“When you talked of courage and truth that really shone out to me,” she told me. It felt that I was speaking from my real self or my inner light. Now, after working on this for fifty minutes I am exhausted. I wanted to explore the barriers which prevent me from speaking, and I found myself beyond them.
Yesterday at the office I wanted to explain why I am there, and I couldn’t. The words would not come out. “Are you OK?” Yes, but I just can’t speak. I wanted to say, “I find it hard to believe anything good about myself” and a complex emotional mix of sadness frustration and resentment stopped me. I paused to try and sense these feelings fully and get past them, but could not. So the frustration increased.
Why bother? It is me stopping me saying these things, after all, one set of neurons and dendrites wanting to say it, another blocking it. The answer is introjects: I googled to check I understood the term. It is from psychoanalysis, meaning to unconsciously adopt the attitudes of others. The explanatory quote is revealing: “They introjected a sense of their own worthlessness”.
Introjects are not me. I seek my freedom.
I phoned Samaritans with the hope of finding what phrases I find hard to say, so that I could practise saying them. “My name is – “, she said. I can’t remember it. I was focused on my own need, and working hard on it.
“My name is Abigail,” I said. I would give that a nine, very difficult to say. It means coming out as trans, as my voice sounds so male on the phone. I take notes as I speak.
“I have some understanding of introjects.” Seven. Stating the difficulty is itself difficult.
“I have difficulty believing anything positive about myself.” Three. I have said that before.
“That must make life difficult,” she says, evenly, challenging my belief that it should all be easy for me.
“I am terrified!” I burst out, tearfully, high-pitched. Her acceptance is helping.
It’s to do with competing views of reality: as in Narnia, the witch puts the prince in the Silver Chair to save him from himself.
I practise saying that I understand what is going on.
“I sensed your difficulty saying your name,” she says.
Self-deprecation is easy. “I am not playing the game particularly well,” I say. I should try to pass better.
“It is important to accept who you are,” she says.
Yes! To practise speaking from sanity.
“Different roles are necessary for different situations,” she says.
I find it hard to get beyond small talk, I say. Then I pause to think. I can state my resentment of a past experience, but is that a line I want to go down?
Things are easier to say now. I tell my dangling rope story. “I have been broken repeatedly.” That’s a mere two. I can say it with stories.
“I have faced the world with courage, I say. Two again. I say it softly- indeed, I say it from my softness
Which is my strength
I now pause to check truthfulness. I seek the best words to express it. Softly- “One voice finds it easier to say than [pause for truth] others do.”
When I speak Truth I have this strength, I say.
“That must be very powerful,” she says. It is.
My theory is that if in mindfulness I pause to accept a feeling I can pass through it, then can speak.
What is the mask? Sometimes it is appropriate. In the office I apply myself steadily to particular tasks, not letting feelings hang out; yet the mask should not be screwed on so tightly that I can’t let it go. I feel I am almost always masked.
And some people, possibly musicians, barristers, politicians? can be themselves in their work, being not acting. Everyone is emotional, just some people’s emotions are accepted and validated and called “rational”, and some people’s are deprecated and called “emotional”.
I asked her for feedback, and she said, “When you talked of courage and truth that really shone out to me,” and that pleases me so much I have written it here twice. It is the Real me, the Inner Light.