A few days ago, I dropped my iPhone and shattered the bottom right corner, the cracks stem from the push button to the edge, and while I was bummed that the thing isn’t perfect anymore, I’m surprised it survived this long. Most things I have get broken. Broken, shattered, lost or stolen by gypsies in the night. Very few things can stand the test of… me.
I sat in therapy today with Dr. Reef, (Karim, but apparently he goes by Dr. Reef), and we discussed some things that have left me a tad unsettled. I’m comfortable with the notion that uncomfortable feelings will pass, and while that doesn’t make me comfortable with being uncomfortable, at least I know it passes. That is progress. I called Reef “party pants” when he came out of the office, I’ve a habit of making up nicknames for people, places and things, and have done this for a while. Sometimes I call him Karimypie. Sometimes it’s K-diggity. Never Dr. Reef. We sat down and he asked why I feel the need to nickname, where I think it’s coming from, and whether or not I think it places me on the same level of the person I’m naming. Good question Dr. Reef. We’ve started pushing forward in our sessions, asking bigger questions, and it’s these bigger questions that have left me unsettled. And not unsettled in a bad way. Just thoughtful. Pensive. He asked me some things that left me thinking.
The question of authenticity came up, and whether I think I’m authentic all the time. This question came up last week and I was quick to say “yes, yes of course. After the show, I had nothing so authenticity is the only way to be.” But this week, when he asked the question again, I could recall a few times during the week where I’ve been inauthentic. He told me that manipulation (a key to any addict’s survival, or the survival of those who are used to “doing what it takes”) is a muscle that doesn’t fade over night. And while he may have been speaking about manipulation of others, I think he was asking more specifically about am I manipulating myself, thus making myself inauthentic. I’ve spent years manipulating my emotions so they suit me, so I can function within my work environment, family, social settings, relationships, and for me to think that is a skill I can just drop over night is unrealistic. To think I can let down the wall I’ve built 24/7 is unrealistic. I can’t. So I asked him what I can do when I feel as if I’m being inauthentic. When I feel myself manipulating my….self….so that I may continue functioning in an authentic manner.
Perfect addict question I suppose. “How do I stop it immediately and make it better?”
His answer was simple, in all it’s complexity. Simply being aware of the times I’m being inauthentic will help begin the process of always being authentic. In other words, I have to be conscious. I want to be conscious. I want to be conscious of my feelings, of my surroundings, of my life, my reality. I want to feel things as they are, and respond accordingly. I don’t want to be inauthentic anymore, don’t want to manipulate emotions so that my makeup doesn’t smear, or I don’t look weak. I just want to be. Whole.
The iPhone is an easy, one day fix. When I have the money, I go buy a new one. It still works fine, and that’s fine by me. Fixing myself is a bigger task. And not something I can hope to accomplish in one day.