I have been promising an oyster review for weeks and I am sad to say the one I offer you is one of duty rather than enjoyment. Patty and I met up without any fuss yesterday in the basement of Selfridges - many of you probably feel you have been there with us, and some of you have - and we ordered a dozen oysters. We had so much to catch up on and it was so lovely to see my buddy walking through the door, looking as beautiful as always. I will however, keep the review short. The oysters were creamy, served at a slightly too warm temperature and neither of us were impressed or able to finish our servings. We had some tasty bread and some dodgy butter concoction that I avoided but Patty tried and didn’t enjoy. We were overcharged by the establishment and overcharged with emotions. Our meeting was brief and sweet and we managed to visit the slightly overpriced and uninspiring Christmas shop on level 4. See attached photo.
I have struggled the past few weeks with inspiration for this blog. I have experienced some incredible personal breakthroughs and breakdowns and it is that which I wish to address this time. It is therapy time. Before I start this confession of sorts I wish to add a disclaimer. My expressions of unconditional love are genuine but were masked by the other persona I adopted. Some of the game playing and neediness that has ensued is not.
I have been seeing my current psychotherapist for six months and this round of counselling has proven to be without doubt the best ever and the most productive. I have bashed down walls, faced my demons and come out smiling at the end of it, albeit through a veil of tears. That is therapy at its finest; painful, satisfying and inevitable. I am never sure how it works or why but it sometimes feels like a magic trick, a sleight of hand, that turns your long held beliefs on their head and they run away screaming, finally released from the terror and trap of the mind. This week I had such a moment of realisation. Like many questions in life the answers are simple. But not easy. I never have appreciated those words more than now. Simple. Not. Easy. I reached a block in therapy and have skirted around things for maybe two months now. Every week I turn up, with set ideas in my mind of where I wanted things to go. Nothing happened. I remained in a state of unimaginable and constant anxiety, pretending to myself I was in control. What a lie. Freedom is a total lack of controlling. Freedom is allowing the truth to appear.
I have been conscious of a steel shutter in my heart that I can almost physically feel close down whenever difficult things come up. I shut down emotionally and what happens is that I then start a charade that I used to call my ‘reality’. It is a game I have played for so long now I am too embarrassed to tell you the number of years. There were reasons for it of course. Childhood and teenage trauma. I am aware of the deceit I displayed for others’ benefit as well as my own to maintain the status quo. It became my first nature, not my second, but it was all a facade. I heard myself say things and display emotions and behaviours, all the time inside, feeling nothing. This of course had to end. I have spent weeks discussing my fear of opening the steel door and I couldn’t see any way in, any way forward or any new direction. And then something happened. Through the gentle guidance of my therapist, I realised and accepted that I had taken on the thoughts and feelings of someone else, almost a possession if you will. Hence the clashes within myself, with myself. I finally acknowledged that this week and said my goodbyes. I no longer could hold someone else’s pain and suffering and live my own life. My fear of opening the shutter filled me with dread, as I imagined over time all my real feelings would have lost interest and disappeared. I left the hospital and walked down the street, in tears like so many other times. Suddenly the shutter went up. And the most unexpected thing occurred. Where I was expecting death and destruction, I found light. The steel door was not shutting down my feelings but keeping them safe from this perceived threat, which now no longer existed. I found my younger emotional self, alive, intact and ready to come out of captivity. The depression lifted and the anxiety abated.
Crash, bang. I returned to work after this beautiful revelation to be given a mid year performance review. As most of you know I have never settled in the job I currently have and it is for no particular reason. From the high I had just felt, I was to crash down equally low as I was berated and given a litany of my inadequacies in the workplace. I cried again, but this time of embarrassment and anger. I fought my case and went home to contemplate the day. The next day with my new found peace and inner strength, I typed a short and sweet letter of resignation. Life is too precious and too short to be undermined by other peoples’ misguided perceptions. I am not scared. I feel liberated and excited about finding out what is in store for me next. I resolve not to work in an office long term again doing meaningless things. Why such highs and lows in one day? Is this a coincidence? No.