Let's Get Real
Updated: Apr 22, 2020
I just graduated!
No, not school...Therapy.
Well, I call it graduation, and the name feels fitting. Though there were no fancy tassel hats, and it doesn't mean I won't go back now and again.
So, let's get real for a minute. (Writers, listen up!)
I dragged my heels getting into that office, spending months just looking over websites and reading therapist reviews (I'm a sucker for reviews) before finally making the call.
Here's the thing, the wait wasn't just about finding the right therapist--though yes, I procrastinated over that--I waited a ridiculous amount of time before I even took that step. I waited for the event. I had been curious about therapy, interested in starting, for quite some time. But I waited. And waited. I waited until I felt I had an excuse, an other-people-have-gone-for-this-before reason. I told myself, okay now, this can be your reason. This doesn't make you crazy. This is a good excuse to try it out.
I went. We talked about the event, of course. But soon it became about so much more.
There was a...well, the sitcoms would call it a break through, and it was, kinda... But what does that look like? For me, it looked like vulnerability. It felt like honesty. What does that mean? It means I had tapped into something real. It was raw, and scary, and I had to pull the words out bit by bit through long pauses and silent stretches and several bouts of tears. Was it uncomfortable? You better believe it. Was it necessary? I believe it was.
I'm an author. That's why this blog exists, that's why people subscribe to my newsletter. That's my job. I put words to paper, but more than that (I hope) I share truth. In that office, I found strands of truth. My truth.
I was on an author panel some months ago talking about my favorite thing in the world: stories. Someone posed the question, one I've heard before, "But what makes a story great?"
The answer is different for everyone, I'm sure; but for me, it's simple. For a story to be great, it has to uncover some underlying truth. There needs to be a point there, buried amongst the zombies or glimpsed at through translucent ghostly beings. There needs to be a reason I'm reading this story. It needs to share something real with me.
And while that passed for an answer on this panel, I had one brave soul speak to me privately during the signing portion of the evening. She spoke quietly, pulling me to the side of my table, the table I had already strewn with stickers and colorful bookmarks that a small group of teens was examining. This woman nervously asked me, "But how do you get to the point? What truth do you share? How do I put that in my stories?"
I gave her the long version answer. Here I'll write the short version: I've hunted for my truths. Through books, deep in the Self-Help section of Barnes and Nobles, in the midst of non-fiction books on Quantum Physics, in fairytales and legends, religious studies, and yes, therapy.
Truth makes stories worth telling; hunting it down has made me a braver storyteller. Therapy became a beautiful, difficult, hilarious, fun, informative, excruciating, wonderful, necessary link in the method to my madness.
You don't need to wait for an event, you can simply seek your truth. I look back now and think I should have done this years ago...
Though I can guess what my therapist might have said to that. Whatever I went through before brought me to now. It's not about the should-haves, it's about the what-do-we-do-with-life-now. And that thought makes me smile.
In whatever way calls to you, I hope you hunt for your truth. And when you glimpse it, share it. I dare you ;)
Be well, friends.