I related the generalities of my daydream from last week in therapy today, focusing mainly on how satisfying my righteous anger had felt. It came up as I was talking about some of the ways I am bad at relationships. There are plenty of ways that I am bad at relationships.
My therapist responded by tying it into my childhood and how unseen and misunderstood I had felt. A memory immediately surfaced for me and I shared it. I was junior high aged and sitting around the kitchen table having dinner with my family. My brother made a joke at my expense (not uncommon in my family in which sarcasm is yielded as a finely honed weapon), something having to do with my being overweight, and my mother laughed. In the memory, I exploded with rage, screaming and crying, running up to my room where I wrote in my diary repeated lines about how much I hated my mother. She never did seem to understand why I was so angry (in truth, I was hurt, but as a child I didn’t understand that either).
As soon as I recounted that memory to my therapist another arose. It was three years ago, I was participating in a therapy group, and became enraged when another member burst out laughing while I was speaking. Worse than the member’s initial response was the fact of him not understanding why I would get so angry.
Then, I remembered something else. The scene that I toiled so laboriously over in my daydream, the one that lead to the righteous anger that was so exquisitely satisfying, was one in which I overheard someone mocking my weight to this person I loved who laughed in response.
I was shocked at the connections. Not until after I recounted those two memories, not until the very minute that I then shared the specifics of that particular scene of the daydream, had I connected the daydream in which I was so absorbed last week to my childhood. My therapist promptly suggested that I take more long drives.
I forget sometimes why I engage in the work that I do. I forget why I spend so much time and energy on inward reflection and why it matters to me so much. I forget that my efforts are toward healing, and that this is the most important thing to me.
I don’t want to live my life mired in the patterns of the past, my life determined for me by the stories I constructed long ago before I had any understanding of what was happening to me and what I was making of what was happening to me. I don’t want the rest of my life to be a string of stories that I play out unconsciously, the ends of them always the same, always confirming what I believed to be true before I knew that truths weren’t absolute.
I forget that my life has meaning to me. I know that seems absurd, but I do. I forget way more often than I realize how true it is. My life is imbued with meaning because of the choices I am making in living it. I am doing this. I am creating this. I forget to give myself credit for a life well-lived.