Sunday, October 11, 2009

Mermaids, the Red Book (and how!)

Oddly, I began by writing out the answers to the Proust questionnaire, which, as you can see, are going un-posted as of this evening. I'm not exactly sure what I'm doing now by writing, but in a time of transition, I've got to look to a mirror. At least a little.

Embarking on Year Two of living in Wichita: a place I've variously said I'll never live again; or, I won't live here unless married or with the most fabulous job; or (this time), only for three years and that's final. So it's not a love affair without challenges. In truth, it's way less than a love affair... more like a comfy marriage where you ignore the deep problems and make sure the yard is up to neighborhood standards. And take a lot of trips so you don't have to get to know each other that well.

My life here in Suburban Middle America is pleasant, mostly. I have precious little to complain about, and have met new aspects of myself over the past year that have surprised me. I am torn, sweetnesses. I left Pacifica a new girl: divorced, more sure of my professional self, deeply valuing my education and proud of my accomplishments. I've had some health issues arise but even these are short-lived and manageable. My friends who play tennis are happy to see me on the court again. I now have routines focused on being here and present in a mindful way, instead of "present" somewhere else. The Taurus in me should be thrilled, right? Right?

As some of you are aware, I started writing and researching mermaids several months ago. New Year's with Crystal in SB was a catalyst, as was a dream Kristi had about me living underwater. I knew something was calling me, and I had to pursue it after recurring dreams and waking synchronicity compelled me. Mermaids are actually pretty perfect for that kind of thing. Some days I feel really split between this person with business sense and practical knowledge (including clinical), and this other fringy person who wants to steep in writing, myth, fairy tale, symbol, and everything the unconscious has to offer. My days of philanthropy are spent in this action-packed triage mode of offering a hand with my sister's former preschool (special needs kids) that declared bankruptcy a few months ago. Am I helpful there? I hope so. I am certainly not a mogul, a lawyer, a banker, or a CPA. But I do what I can, every so often taking a moment to hold in my hands these photos of my sister from that long-ago time, reminding myself to be strong and keep doing my best.

So why do I come back so often to mermaids the moment I walk in the door? Who the hell in Wichita, KS, wants to know anything about that? Who wants to know about it ANYWHERE?

I've considered mermaids in different ways. From the viewpoint of the sea-nymph, from the view of the sailor at sea or spectator ashore, and from my own personal perspective. What might it mean to feel affinity with the depths and rhythms inside myself and others, armed only with a comb and a mirror, a voice and play? What does it mean to surface and long for?

I've looked for counseling work here, and so far have been met with strange looks, protestations that I am "over-qualified" due to my DBT/psychoanalytic supervision, and some who just can't get in touch with how my education and work hangs together in any kind of practical way. It has been discouraging at best. I've had times of hating this town, times of feeling very pitiful, times of despair, and times of going back through the tenets of all that we learned and studied trying to see what the hell and why.

There are moments when you waver, and times when you must let your soul speak, despite the consequences or further misunderstandings or ridicule. My inner Ayn Rand showed up in a debate I never should have participated in the other day, and I was informed that I was "stupid" by a person I've never met. Which is fine -- being underestimated is not new to me. However, it brought up even more dichotomy within me. I know part of individuation and growth is to live with the tension of the opposites, and embrace your own peculiarities and eccentricities. To know what you know and love what you love with no apologies.

I'm wondering if this is where the midlife crisis begins.

Anyway. I'm going to try a few things and see what works. I may not be 'landlocked' in order to find the perfect mentor in depth psych, but I can certainly add a few things to the collective discussion. I nakedly admit to anticipating the "Red Book" with fervor. I desire something soulful to touch me deeply again. Jung started writing it at 39; I'll start reading it at 39... I already know that by revisiting my old, beloved psych books, I fall back into the cadence and language I know and love.

I'm finding that this mermaid call is a much truer compass for me than the one found on the boat, much truer than consulting the charts. All I want to do is see the sun peer down into the shadowy depths. I want to sun on the rocks all day, combing my long hair, peering into the mirror. I want to swim with dolphins and sing to the sailors and if they follow me to safety or to their peril that is the chance taken. I want to wander the waves and arrive wherever I am meant to be -- uncharted territory or no.

And, most of all, I want to hear that song resonate within me, and sing it for myself (& for others who seek soul and meaning).

I appreciate your reading through the ramble, my dears.
Love and light.


Rachel said...

I don't know you, but I'm glad you're pursuing the path of the writer in you. I'm from Wichita too and am kind of in awe of your choice to go back with a maximum of 3 years allowed. I have times when I visit there and fantasize about a life there where one feels like an outsider and an insider. Oddly it seems somewhat appealing, and yet another voice in me say - don't ever do it.

I look forward to reading more.

Stephie said...

Thank you, Rachel. I have decided to put my writing into action as a kind of meditation, hopefully as a way to enjoy the journey while on it. So there should be more, and more often. There is something surreal to being an outsider/insider all at once. Strange, really. Thank you for commenting, and I'm interested in reading more of where your writing takes you too.