On Being Honest
I went to see my therapist last week. I went to see my therapist last week. I smile at this sentence because it's one I wouldn't have written ten years ago. Ten years ago, I'm not sure I believed in therapy. I only started going when Dad was diagnosed out of the blue with terminal cancer. For the first time in my life, I thought to myself, quite rationally I believe, This is big. This is something I need help processing. I've seen a therapist on and off since that moment and it's something I'm no longer sheepish about sharing.
Anyway, I went for my monthly appointment at the brutal, beautiful hour of 6am. I sat in that chair and I began as I tend to begin by saying something rather banal about the weather, by noting things are pretty good with me. But this time I backtracked. Not because things aren't going well. I trust they are. But, still, there is stuff. Harder, trickier, more interesting, if everyday, stuff to talk about and through, and my goodness, this was my chance to do just that. No more chit-chat, I implored myself. No more candy-coating. No more platitudes.
While I believe in the virtue of keeping our discussions private, I will say that we talked about overwhelm, anxiety, excitement, alcohol, fear, family, creativity, confidence, resilience, priorities and the necessity of setting limits. I told her, and reminded myself, that I'm happiest when I keep things simple, when I'm consistent about reading and writing and spending lots of time with my guy and my girls. At the end of our session, I felt a bit drained, but also remarkably peaceful. This is what honesty does.
I've been thinking lots about what it means to be truly honest with ourselves, others, the world. Is it even possible to be truly honest? What does this mean? Whatever it is and means, I know it takes discipline. It's so easy, it's so encouraged, to edit our selves and our stories, to package them more sweetly, more simply. We live in an add-filter world. What's more, not every moment is the right one to hold the messy truth of our real lives.
In any event, it feels right to think about all of this. Particularly now. A busy and bright season beckons and I want to face it and feel it with open eyes and and a big, honest heart. I don't want to bullshit too much about the weather and other stuff that doesn't really matter. A little of this, fine, but not too much.
Honesty. It's exquisite, ineffable stuff. It's important. Hard, sometimes. But we must not forget it in the shuffle of our busy days. We must make it a point to be real in this world that sometimes insists that we be anything but.