I was going to blog about Lou Dog but I’ve written so many stories about him as the protagonist, all nonfiction because that damn dog saved my life. I’m falling asleep early lately and waking up in the early morning/very late night and liking the pattern of observing others from afar while I know they sleep and heal and dream of whatever needs integrated, whatever needs attention. While they sleep, I reflect. I sink into sadness, I sink into playfulness, I write, I dance, I social media like a bad habit, I take baths. In my watching from afar and in my folding back into myself I’m starting to feel more clear, confident, concise. I’m starting to understand, at least for myself, the unraveling of me and maybe how to approach intimacy next time. The edge, the place I seek, is where I individuate, stand in myself, keep a clear confident head, even in the arms and heart of another, the canyons and peaks of a new geographical area, the thick air of my dark thoughts.
I’ve been quietly studying for the National Counselor Exam, experiencing significant distress in the section on children and attachment. I make comments here and there in my new office where I share a space with two other child welfare case workers and while they work on active cases I feel my eyes blur and stomach hurt as I move through childhood trauma in reading and memory. Replicating a feeling in graduate school, in the fraternity and sorority life office in the basement of the University of Wyoming where so much change occurred, so many memories and emotions sifted through like cake flour. I would sit listening to conversations about Greek Week, reading and taking in concepts of moving toward and away and fearful-avoidant attachments. Oh my god its me. But I need to remember now as then, we were all secretly diagnosing ourselves and each other. I know now—humanistic, client-centered, and existential—I don’t have to diagnose clients in a way that will harm them and I can collaboratively diagnose, if I diagnose at all.
Now, as then, I move through my feelings on attachment disorders, my potential attachment disorder, and its bearing on my last relationship. And then I smile quietly because I know if this is the case, I’ve made relationships with secure individuals and sometimes to tell the truth to others doesn’t keep things easy and brings about more bitter truth I’m not keen on hearing, either. I feel especially aware of anything I’ve failed at in my life and even stop writing to think of my best friend in Texas and how I’m missing out on the life of her child because I feel I can’t get well. I create this unwell person around her because she has always been the sage and my substance abuse affected her and others. I’ve apologized, maybe its time for action. I can only do so much to make it right and then we have a leap of faith. And I keep working or we grow apart. We grow apart as I grow further and further from any suburban lifestyle whether I like it or not, and whether she does either—I do not know. I feel all the separation and loss of my father, my best friend, my lover, my dog. It’s important to move through the negativity, the loss, the grief. Branches can only grow as high as roots grow deep. Nothing is ever good or bad, only thinking makes it so.
I pass the National Counselor Exam, and complete week one of my training. I knew I would pass the exam because it’s my life’s work. I’ve been taking standardized tests and studying my entire life. I’m proficient. To be in that place of mastery feels good. In the training I become heated during a discussion and find myself vindicated when I’m right. Here’s where the work lies—I’ve got some good shit to say but I can be kind, confident, and clear when I say it. I can read the books, and remember my theory of change and conceptualize all my relationships and my own mental illness or lack thereof, and unpack how I create all my own problems. We have a choice in any moment how we will respond to ourselves and others. Breathe in, breathe out, and in that tiny catch in between I have time to cultivate my awareness to be mindful of my language—say only that which will truly help the other person or myself. I know the pendulum still swings back and forth in the realm of attachment but I do not apologize for feeling things deeply but do feel regret for clinging to the deepness longer than the present moment. Sometimes, there are lessons and goals to be pulled from experiences, but who I am doesn’t give a shit about lessons or goals, but cares: how are we? how am I? how is this universe? Right here, right now.
“We must exist right here, right now!”