Looking Back, Moving On & Holding On To Your Dreams

Once again I find myself packing my stuff up; I’m moving on Sunday. All of about thirty metres down the street. So, in many ways, a minor move. I’m moving into a larger room in what, at least on the surface, looks like a nicer flatshare. Hard to know for sure until you’re actually there. I’m looking forward to moving out of this place. It has, without comparison, been the worst place I have ever lived. And I’ve lived in a lot of places, including spending a night on the streets of London, not knowing where to go next..

So, from that point of view, moving is a good thing. And at the same time, I can’t help but thinking that this is not how I had imagined myself living at age 35. My picture looked more along the lines of a nice flat with my man and my three children. I’d be focusing on my writing, maybe having already had a break or two, literary wise.

Instead, here I am, in a rented room. Utterly single, painfully childless, and my writing.. well, I really don’t know what happened there. So, of course there is sadness in the realisation that there is such a discrepancy between what I had been hoping for and what I’ve got. And of course it hurts to not have those things, to know that I was pretty close to all of those things only a few short years ago.

This is not to say I’ve given up on that dream, that picture. I believe it could still happen. Maybe not in the order I had initially imagined, but still recognisable as an altered version of the original image.

I don’t regret the choices I’ve made in the last few years. I think had Dev and I chosen to stay together, knowing that we ultimately wanted different things, well, I don’t think we would still be friends the way we are now. I think bitterness may have started to sprout between us. And I would never want that to happen.

Moving into the therapeutic community a few years ago was a big decision and although I’m not sure it was ever really going to be quite right for me, I do feel that I got something from being there, even though I struggle to put it into words, exactly what. Maybe space to grow? Maybe to appreciate how strong my need for independence is? Maybe realising that I can be accepted for me, even without being the good girl, without having the great job, without being the most responsible one? Even the decision to move out, I believe, was a step in the direction of feeling allowed to say “This is not good enough for me, this is not acceptable to me”.

Going into therapy? Well, that’s probably one of the best things I’ve ever done. Yes, I know – I’ve been in therapy before. Some good, some not so good. But this time around is the first time I’ve felt on a very deep level that it’s time to go that extra step, dig a bit deeper, to not run when things get scary, but to stick with it. That, painful and terrifying as it can be, I want to keep at it, want to look at those bits I am most ashamed of, the ones that are the hardest to own, to accept as my own.

So, although I’m not where I thought I’d be, I think it’s been time well spent, hours well invested. And, as I said earlier, those things that I dreamed of; that I still wish for – they could still happen.

I leave you with a few lines from a Dawson’s Creek era song:

“..I’ve got the greatest admiration
for the way that you got through it
couldn’t ask nobody else to do it
better than you do it

stay you
– that’s the toughest thing to do..”

xx

 

Lyrics from Stay You © Wood

Reform Judaism, Conversion & Finding My Own Path

It is now less than two weeks ’til I go before the Beit Din, the Jewish rabbinical court, for the formal completion of my conversion to Judaism. Prior to that I had to sit down and write a statement to the court about what this means to me.

I thought I’d share it with you.

~ * ~

Nearer to two years ago a lovely lovely lady called P. was the designated meeter-and-greeter at the doors of my shul. It was also the very first time I visited a synagogue. I introduced myself to her and openly admitted that I was very nervous as I had never attended service before and was worried about doing the wrong things at the wrong times. Without hesitation, and with what I now recognise as characteristic generosity, P. asked would I like to sit with her and her husband so that I could just copy what they were doing?

I’ve been sitting with them ever since.

These days P. likes to embarrass me by introducing me to people as “their star pupil”, when, really, the truth is that they – alongside the rabbis and my fellow J-Preppies – have been star teachers; have been people I have learned and continue to learn so, so much from. I have been exceptionally fortunate to have been befriended by long-standing members of the congregation as well as newbie J-Prep students, allowing me to not only stand on the sidelines, but to feel genuinely part of the congregation and synagogue life. A true blessing.

This past year has been a big year of learning, of spiritual growth and understanding, yet at the same time I firmly maintain that my Jewish journey did not start with the J-Prep course, nor will it end with it. Certainly, this year has been different to any other year, and my life has been truly enriched by it, but rather than seeing the meeting with the Beit Din and the formal conversion as the end goal, I feel that it marks the end of the beginning of my Jewish journey.

I came to the J-Prep course having never lit Shabbat candles, never made Kiddush, never affixed a mezuzah and so forth; I had a very bookish understanding of what Judaism is. I now feel that I have much deeper insight into what it really means to be Jewish, and have discovered that the things I had connected with prior to J-Prep; my faith in the one true God, the Torah as a religious compass and so on – all the things that had brought me to the J-Prep course in the first place – have held true for me and haven’t changed. But, I now also know and appreciate that Judaism offers so much more on top of that. I have discovered that many of the core principles of Judaism hold the same moral values as those passed down to me by my parents; the pursuit of justice, championing democracy, being generous to those less fortunate and being open to those different to myself.

I have been struck by the strong sense of community, the constant strive to make informed choices and decisions – even the freedom to challenge the texts we’ve studied – and they have all added a whole new dimension to my life and to the way I think about faith and religion.

Being Jewish means, especially this time of the year, to stop and reflect introspectively, to take a long, hard and truly honest look at what I can do to better this world through bettering myself. It means doing that very difficult thing; asking forgiveness. From God, from my friends, sometimes even my enemies, and, maybe the hardest thing of all; forgiving myself for those times when I have let myself down. To, rather than simply berating myself for my shortcomings, accepting that I am not perfect and never will be, but also recognising that I have been given the blessing of making a different choice in the future.

Even my choice of Hebrew name – Emunah אמונה – serves as a reminder to keep faith in my mind and to remain faithful, not just through words, but through actions and deeds; through actively doing what I can to help heal this very precious and beautiful world we have been given, whether it be through choosing Fairtrade products over products of unknown origin, making sure I recycle things rather than just binning them, or through taking on an active role in the setting up of a refugee drop-in centre rather than leaving it for Mr & Mrs Someone Else to do. It is a reminder that it’s not enough to just tell people that I am now Jewish. I need also recognise for myself and demonstrate to others that I am Jewish not only when I attend service or say my prayers, light my Shabbat candles or study Torah (all of which are, of course, integral parts of living a Jewish life), but that I am living Judaism in all aspects of my life.

To formally convert to Judaism is the difference between looking at someone else’s photograph album and being alive and present in the very moment that snapshot is taken.

Being Jewish is not just an adjective, it is also a verb.”

~ * ~

Click here to read about my meeting with the Beit Din.

Below is this year’s film from The Movement for Reform Judaism.


Papers, Memories & Being Believed

It’s nearly half nine in the evening. I have a million things I need to do. Sorting, packing and throwing; getting ready for my pending move. Only a week to go now.

I had two goals for the day: 1) go through my various piles of papers to decide what needs to be kept and what ought to be chucked and 2) go through all my clothes, shoes, linen etc with the same objective.

I’ve managed to do the first part. It’s taken me hours. Never realised how much paperwork I’ve actually got: bank statements, invoices, council tax paper, student loans etc etc etc. You get the picture.

Now the job wouldn’t be quite so hard if it were only those things to leaf through. Admittedly I’ve got a somewhat compulsive need to hoard bank statements, but even so I’m not really that emotionally attached to them. No, it’s all the other paper stuff that makes this job hard. The postcards, birthday wishes, letters, little notes. Those are the things I struggle to let go of.

I found a piece of paper from some years ago with lots of little messages scribbled all over; the remains of an impromptu game played with my sisters and co some years ago. The words in themselves neither grand nor particularly meaningful, but somehow I still find it hard to make myself throw this piece of paper away, because it’s attached to the memory of all of us sitting in the kitchen passing the paper round and round, writing those little messages, the sillier the better. Precious moments of togetherness.

Then there are papers which I feel I need to keep for other reasons..

Quite early in the day I came across the legal paperwork from the court hearing against my brother all those years ago. The two versions of it. One – the publicly available version – which has nearly all of my testimony and most of his blanked out – and the other, the one only I and my brother have the right to access, where the testimonies remain intact, carefully transcribed by the court clerk.

And, of course, I had to stop and read through them. Couldn’t just put them in the expandable folder without first reading them, despite knowing full well that no good would come from doing so.

I’ve not read them that many times; once when I first got them, just after the verdict was passed, and once again a few years ago when I requested copies of them. And yet, despite this, there are passages in there which I could easily quote word for word.

Having read through those papers I put them away, but – of course – the memory of the court hearing stayed with me. The feeling of not being sure whether or not I’d be believed by the judge. Not knowing how my brother’s repeated statement “I can’t deny or confirm. I don’t remember” would play out against my detailed, if emotionally detached, descriptions of sexual abuse.

The written word has always been very important to me. Ever since I can remember I’ve kept a journal, writing about my life, about the ups and the downs, the joys and the sorrows. During the court case one of my journals, a small black moleskin note book, was submitted as evidence against my brother. I had kept it hidden for a long time, this secret diary – separate from all my other journals and locked in a metal box so that no one but me would ever be able to read it. In it I had for the first time written down the things my brother was doing to me. It was written in code, a childish attempt at disguising who the abuser was. The code was of course easily cracked once the truth had come out about my brother and read like a memoir of abuse. It had never been intended to be read by anyone, it was just a way for me to try to deal with what was happening when I got to the point where I simply couldn’t keep it all inside, but of course the police, and later on the prosecutors, viewed it as a goldmine of proof against my brother. Some sort of physical proof of things that had happened. A paper trail.

Ever since then my journal writing changed. I still write as much as I ever did, but I write differently. The knowledge that what I write can have such an impact, can hold such power, has changed it. I often find myself noting down where I am or what time it is when I’m writing, almost as if somewhere at the back of my mind, I worry that one day this journal, too, will be read by someone other than myself; that accuracy will be paramount, lest I be thought to have made things up.

I’ve talked about this with A. in my therapy; this self-imposed obligation to express myself in a very precise way, to make sure that I don’t make statements I’m not entirely sure about. The fear that should I be found to have made a mistake it may also be assumed that I might have got other things, important things, wrong.

Of course Adult Me knows that everyone makes mistakes sometimes, that everyone stretches the boundaries of truth sometimes, and that doing so does not mean that nothing she says will be believed, but Little S.. well, Little S still fears that Adult Me might be wrong. And so, every so often, Little S goes to battle with Adult Me, and every once in a while Little S pops up in Adult Me’s journal, checking that there are no discrepancies, making sure that she could never be accused of making things up.

It can be hard, that internal struggle between Little S and Adult Me. It can be tiring, confusing and sometimes painful. It’s a constant balancing act, ensuring that Little S feels heard, while allowing Adult Me to move beyond the childlike constraints of Little S’s experiences.

Anyway, it’s time for both Little S and Adult Me to go to bed now.

We have a whole day of packing ahead of us in the morning.

Sleep tight!

xx

Creative Process – Writing Like You Read

Just got back from a very interesting reading / talk at Jewish Book Week, which is underway here in London at the moment. The author, Nicole Krauss, was there to talk about her latest offering; Great House. Having not read the book, nor her most well-known novel to date – The History of Love – I went to this event based on the blurb I read on the Jewish Book Weekwebsite, because something sparked an interest in me, and I was curious to hear the writer talk about her books and writing them.

Being a writer myself I am always interested to hear about other writers’ creative processes and how their particular novels / short stories / poetry come into being. I find it fascinating to find outall the different ways in which people go about their writing. Some seem to very purposefully decide on a topic to write on, do all the necessary research and then set our on their narrative journey. Others, like Ms Krauss, it seems, do it almost the other way around; the writing comes first, then they proof it, to make sure that non-fictious places tally with reality and work within the storyline. Others, still, do something in between, and I suppose that all of these variations, all these different methods, is stuff that falls within the definition of artistic licence.

Listening to Nicole Krauss and fellow author Naomi Alderman [Disobedience, The Lessons], who chaired this event, discussing their particular ways of relating to their writing and the worlds they create made me think about how I write.

One of the things I’ve always been very aware of is that I enjoy writing in much the same way I enjoy reading; the sense of taking a step out of my day-to-day life, into this parallel world which, although it exists in black and white in a very tangible way, for the most part is created somewhere in my mind, at the very moment of reading or writing.

In fact, I would say that I actually write in the same way that I read; I rarely know what will come next. I may have a general idea of the direction the plot may take me, what the essence is, what the message is, but it is not at all uncommon for one or more of the characters to wreak havoc with my plans by not acting or reacting in the way I had intended. I’ve spent more frustrating hours than I care to remember, trying to find a way around these curveballs, to get back on my track, only to – ultimately – scrap my original idea in favour of allowing the characters to remain true to who they are, to be congruently themselves, through and through, rather than force my own personal morals or thought patterns onto them.

One of the things both Krauss and Alderman seemed to agree on was that readers generally have a deep-seated wish to understand the various characters as aspects of the author, that they inevitably offer some insight into who the person who conjured them up is, and that they [the readers] somewhat stubbornly refuse to accept that the characters were, in fact, borne entirely out of the writer’s imagination, and are not necessarily semi-transparent carbon copies of the author’s own self.

Now, while I kind of get that – not every character has the characteristics of its creator, I must also concede that in myparticular case, most of my characters do carry a fair bit of me inside of them. It’s something that shines through somewhere between the words and the commas and the semi-colons. That is not to say that they are all me to the same degree, but they do have a certain something about them, that absolutely comesfrom me. Even when I write characters who are, on paper, [no pun intended] as different to me as day is to night, when I read back, often years later, I will discover that they trigger a memory of the person I was at the time, traits of my personality that I may not particularly wish to admit to having, but nonetheless it is plain to see that I possess.

Anyway, it’s getting late and I’m rambling – an unfortunate side-effect of writing like I read; I tend to not edit myself in the moment, but just write whatever comes to mind, in rather an insequential manner..

Thus, I must stop here, or I may never stop..

I leave you with a painting I made earlier today. Another illustration of my creative process: the painting is called “Fire” and is about feeling destructive, and so, my way of painting this was to paint in layers.. so, even thought you can’t see it in this the final version of the picture there was actually a night sky and a green luminous tree in the background – before I “set fire” to it..

Be good to yourselves,

xx


PS. I have already packed both Krauss’ The History of Love and Alderman’s Disobedience and I hope to be able to read them over the next few days, when I’m in Gothenborg.

Another Day, Another Blessing – Writing Myself Out Of A Phunk

Another day, another smile. Another blessing. Met up with a friend at a café yesterday, and it was great, as always. I have this café which has become The Café, the one where I usually meet with my friends. And it’s kind of nice. I know the place, the staff, the menu. Very reassuring.

Woke up on Sunday, a day which was ridiculously sunny, and I though, let’s do something nice today. So I decided to try to organise a little get-together for the women from my poetry group. We last met as a group at the reading back in December. We’re overdue a meet. Said and done. Got my phone out and sent a mass-text out, suggesting we meet up. But as soon as I had done that, that little negative voice in my head started making itself heard, and I almost immediately decided that it had been a silly thing to do. People won’t want to meet up, they’ll think I’m being pushy, they’ll have forgotten who I am altogether.

Thankfully the anxiety levels didn’t have time to rise too high before I had the first text back, in the affirmative. Then I had another. And another. Great! People want to meet up, they don’t think I’m pushy – and most importantly – they do remember me.

Next step was figuring out a time and place. Well, a time, at least. The place was basically a given, since most of these women will have shared a hot chocolate with me at The Café at least once before, so it made sense to keep it simple. Time was a bit trickier. As it always is when it comes to finding a time that will suit as many as possible, but after some fiddling and a few phone calls to a few people a time was agreed; next Sunday, early afternoon. Works perfectly for me since I’m basically incommunicado over FriSat, closing down for shabbat and also taking some proper me-time. So meeting up with friends the day after, once I re-connect my various devices, is always nice.

Finished the Maroda book this morning. And as always, it was with a slight feeling of loss. I absolutely love reading books that make me think, both on a more general level, but also to reflect on my own personal situation, and this book certainly did that for me.

As I’m writing this, I realise that this doesn’t feel like a real blog entry. It’s a bit too positive. And, in all honesty, up until I sat down to write this, I really wasn’t feeling all that up-beat; feeling a bit caught up in some sort of greyness, clouding my thoughts in quite a bad way.

But hey, if it works, it works.

Be good and well.

xx

Writing And Music

I woke up this morning feeling I had to write, so I got out a little something I started some years ago [not DGB, for those who were wondering] and just began writing. And it felt great. Been suffering from some serious writer’s block this year, and haven’t been able to produce anything worth anything for what seems like forever.

This little thing I was working on this morning, it’s nothing too terribly special, not Booker Prize material by any stretch of the imagination, but it feels good to be writing again. It may not amount to anything – more often than not what I write doesn’t, but at least I will have had this morning of complete all-consuming writing. And that’s worth a lot.

Saw Heather Nova live at Union Chapel on Friday, and it was really really good. I enjoyed it immensely. Such a wonderful venue, such a fantastic musician. But, oh so emotionally draining. You see, Heather Nova’s music has been with me for a long time. I’ve grown up with it, emotionally. And so, to hear it performed live, sitting so close to the person who wrote those words that have got me through such terribly desperate times, well, it’s a very powerful experience. I have yet to go to one of her concerts and not come out completely and utterly emotionally exhausted.

Because of this, up until now I’ve always gone to her concerts on my own, knowing that the potential for becoming overwhelmed is pretty high; I’ve simply not wanted to go with anyone who doesn’t get as moved by her music as I do.
But, next week that is to change.

By sheer coincidence I found out that of all the places in the world Ms Nova is playing in Gothenburg on Saturday, and as I’ll be over there to spend some time with my sisters (and *B*, and T) at that time, it seemed like an ideal chance to test my ability to share an emotional experience with another person. My youngest sister, who grew up listening to whatever I served her, has a similar appreciation for music to me, and so it made sense that we go to the concert together. Said and done, I called her up in the middle of the night, to tell her this, and the sum total is that we are now both preparing mentally for this little excursion.

So there you go. Excited trepidation.

xx

Freestyling R D Laing – A Poem In Knots (But Not So Much In Knots As R D Laing’s Knots)

He likes my blog
Therefore I like him
She doesn’t like my blog
Therefore I don’t like her

Because he likes my blog
He must be interested in me
Because she doesn’t like my blog
She must not be interested in me

He is upset with her
because she is not interested in me
because she doesn’t like my blog
when he likes my blog

She is upset with him
because he is interested in me
because he likes my blog
when she doesn’t like my blog

I love him
Because he is interested in me
Because he likes my blog

I hate her
Because she isn’t interested in me
Because she doesn’t like my blog

She hates me for loving him
because he is interested in me
because he likes my blog

He hates her for hating me
for loving him
because he is interested in me
because he likes my blog

In anger
she goes away
to write
a freestyle poem
based on
Ecrits
Even though
neither he
nor she
is interested in
nor
remotely understand
Lacan.

xx

Recipe For A Good Therapy – An Entry About Finding The Right Ingredients

I’ve been seeing A. for a couple of weeks now, although it feels like much longer. Maybe that’s because I’ve been seeing her twice weekly, I don’t know. What I do know is that the twice weekly format seems to suit me, as does A. Or, rather, two sessions a week suit me because I think A. suits me.

It all feels very different to what I was doing with B., which was essentially going there each week more or less because I felt I should. With A. I go because it feels like it could lead somewhere. There’s potential. Real potential. Which is good.

But there is a whole range of emotions that have come into play since I started seeing A., not just “feeling good”. One of the most prominent feelings is in fact fear. Because of that potential I spoke of earlier this is much scarier than what my previous experience of therapy has ever been. I mean, with B. I knew that I was never ever going to go deep enough to really touch any nerves, and even with D., as well as we worked together, there was always a part of me that was acutely aware that at some point our sessions would be coming to an end, and so, in many ways that, too, felt relatively risk-free. I am sure I’d have felt differently if at the outset I’d known that I was looking to do long term therapy with D., but as that wasn’t the case, I never really felt particularly scared at the prospect of going down a path that could stir up some really difficult things.

Still, as frightening as it is, setting out on this journey, I think it will be worth it. I think that it’ll be very hard work, and, I’m guessing, at times excruciatingly painful, but I also hold firm that it is essential work; a sense that to go forward from where I’ve been I must accept that the only way out is through.

Ok, so now I’ve established that therapy is damn hard work I can move on to the lighter side of it. Because, contrary to popular belief, therapy is not all about constant hard work. It’s one of the ingredients, one of the main ingredients even, but it would make for a pretty bland soup if it were the only one.

Personally I like to stir in some humour into the concoction. I think that was one of the things that made D. and I work well together, and was also part of the reason why B. and I just never connected. So, needless to say, a sense of humour [preferably good] is something I look for in a therapist. And, thankfully, it appears A. does have that too.

Speaking of ingredients; below is a poem I wrote two weeks ago. The person who runs the creative writing group I’m part of asked us to write a poem in the format of a recipe.
It’s not the type of poetry I normally write, and not one of my favourites, but it’s a challenge to write according to a set standard.

Hope you enjoy it!

xx

Recipe for a good therapy
[Serves 2, best prepared while on the couch]

Honesty.
A big chunk of it, doused in transparency and generously seasoned with genuineness.

Courage.
More than just a little, from the strongest concentrate you’ve got. (Look deep into the cupboard of your soul to get the best you can find).

Trust.
Start with a single pearlescent grain, allow time – years if needed – for it to mature, solidify and grow.

Humour.
A bit of sunshine just around the eyes, a good laugh now and then to refuel your resolve.

And, finally:

A cupful of magic.
Self-made from scratch (not the mass-produced pre-fab supermarket variety!)

Add one by one into a large cauldron, keeping it on a frustratingly low simmer. Stir slowly, observantly, with great love and care.

Watch your life transform before you

In its own good time.

Jag Ska Måla Hela Världen Lilla Mamma – An Entry About The Joy Of Being Creative

I’ve been painting this morning. A friend of mine gave me a blank canvass for my birthday and I’m putting it to use today. I haven’t really been painting much before, at least not on canvass with real paints, so it’s something of a new hobby, but I really really like it. There’s something so pleasing about messing around with paint. The freedom of it, the way the brush glides across the canvass, the way something is being created right in front of your eyes.
And, also, it reminds me of my mother.

My mother paints, you see. Lovely watercolours. And it’s something she’s passed on to me. Not necessarily the artistic talent, which she has an abundance of – but the joy in being creative.

As a child we were allowed to – no – we were encouraged to be creative. We’d paint on the window panes of our playroom with watercolours and soap (stops the colours from running). We could paint anything we wanted. No restrictions. Mother would paint a season inspired theme on one of the windows and we’d paint on the other window.

And when it was someone’s birthday, before the party started, she’d cover our enormous kitchen table with drawing paper and draw circles in front of each place and let us draw our self-portrait before sitting down for cake. Sometimes – depending on how messy the paper was after the cake eating was over – she’d cut the self portraits out and give them to each child to take home at the end of the party.

At midsummer she’d use the big roll of drawing paper and let it run right across the kitchen floor, so that my cousin and I could make a huge “Happy Midsummer!” banner. I still remember that feeling of laying or sitting on the floor, just drawing all around me, enjoying being in the painting. When we were done she’d help us take the banner outside and staple it to the front of the house (yup, she actually used a staple gun to nail it to the outside wall of our house!) so that people driving and walking past could see our artwork.

It was never about creating something aesthetically pleasing, it was all about enjoying what you were doing and being proud of what you’d made. For example she insisted on us alwayssigning our artwork, because, no matter what, it was something we had created ourselves and so it was something no one else could have made, something to be proud of.

Unfortunately that is something we often lose as adults: the natural ability to be proud of things we have made. Rather than saying that Yes, this is something I’ve done and I rather like it we tend to quickly brush it over with an embarrassed It’s not very good, is it? Too afraid that people will think we are boasting or blowing our own trumpet, so to speak. It’s sad, really.

The last few days I’ve been working on the cover and layout for a poetry collection. I’ve been really thoroughly enjoying it – it’s been a creative outlet for me – but when the person who is running the project said I should put Cover & layout by Ssomewhere on the booklet I immediately went into Adult Mode and thought that No, I can’t do that. People will think I’m showing off. But then, yesterday, while finalising the layout I thought of my mother and how, despite all of our differences, that is something we do have in common; the joy of creating. And how, no matter how many other things were going wrong, she’d always encourage me to be proud of my art. So there it is now, on the back cover, in black and white: Cover & layout by S. Because, in actual fact it was made by me. And I am proud of it.

So, here’s to the joy of creating and letting your inner child rule the adult you every once in a while!

xx

Uncertainty – An Entry About Dealing With The Unknown

I often don’t know what I’ll be writing about when I sit down to blog. Today is one of those times. It’s more a case of finding myself overwhelmed by a need to write; that there are a lot of feelings swimming around inside of me, and somehow they need to be expressed or at least explored. It helps me figure out what’s really going on in my mind.

This morning I spent about forty-five minutes trying to find a suitable psychotherapist to help me do this in a more controlled environment, since sometimes when I write I take things a step further than I was actually ready for. So, deciding on a therapist is a pretty important thing. Especially since the person needs to be someone who can read you well enough – gauge where you’re at – to be able to help you decide what you are and aren’t ready for.

The thing is though, that although there are absolutely tons of psychotherapists about, well – until you actually meet them you can’t possibly know that they are the right one, can you? Sure, I have a wish list of sorts at the back of my head (has to be female, have a certain amount of life experience, preferably be interested in a psychodynamic approach, and so on), but, as I said, until you’ve met a person, how can you know?

So, that’s something that’s definitely weighing on my mind. The fact that I haven’t yet sorted out a therapist, even though I know that the last session of counselling with D. is drawing rapidly nearer.

And of course, that in itself, the ending of counselling, well, it’s a pretty big thing. I really don’t like endings. I accept that they have to happen sometimes, but I really don’t like them. (On the other hand, I can’t say that I know of anyone who does like them). For me an ending is like, I don’t know – it’s just enormously frightening. Particularly when it is the ending of something which I have experienced as being very positive. It gives me a feeling of being abandoned. Or maybe abandoned isn’t the right word. But something similar to it. And it makes me feel incredibly alone and vulnerable. Especially when I don’t know what’s round the next bend.

I’ve been thinking about that a lot lately. That one of the things I’ve really been struggling a lot with in life is the fact that there are so many loose ends. So much uncertainty. Both in my present situation and in my past. And I think what I want to get out of therapy is some sort of closure. Not in a done and dustedsort of way – I don’t believe that’s possible, since life is a journey and as a person I am constantly changing, constantly evolving. A better way to put it is perhaps that I would like to have a bit more order in amongst the loose ends. And I think psychotherapy could help me with that.

I think I’ve made a pretty good start in this round of counselling. I feel a lot more aware of how things hang together, how they all interrelate. At least on a surface level. I guess, with psychotherapy, I hope to get a deeper understanding of it. How the finer (or often not so fine) details have lead me down a certain path, has steered me into a certain way of behaving, of dealing with things.

Apart from that, what else is going on? Well, Christmas is getting closer by the second. And Christmas means going home.. My mother now knows that I will be in my hometown over this period; she was told earlier in the week. What I don’t know is what her reaction to that was, but, me being me, well – I do worry. I worry that it was really hard for her, I worry that I’ve really made her upset this time. And also – yes – I worry that my decision hasn’t had much of an impact at all. Because that would probably be the response that would mean the most..

Still, I am going home. It was my own decision. And I think that, as challenging as it will be, it is the right one. I think I need to reclaim my turf a bit. I also think that I am a lot better equipped to do so now, compared to earlier in the year.

I just hope I won’t forget it once I’m there.

xx