In yesterday’s writing, I mentioned almost off-handedly about a version of me who hides in the closet, praying she won’t be found.
I remind myself of my coaching clients who will wait until the very end of the session to say the most important thing, the whatever-it-was-that-needed-to-be-said-all-along important “thing.”
I imagine in their minds it is a gift (or perhaps a fire, a monster, a treasure, an enormous neon lightbulb, a map) between us only visible to them.
Maybe that is how I would be best in making friends with that little girl, hiding in the closet. Recognizing the gift sitting in between us> Perhaps I am meant to patiently sit with her as she gains comfort in being with me again.
Have I mentioned to you my background of working in mental health?
Years ago I spent five years working a Deputy Conservator: in some places the title for this is “Public Guardian” which set me apart from mental health clinicians – I didn’t have to abide by the same “stand apart” sort of guidelines I understood them to have.
I was as close to a family member an employee might be.
One of my favorite clients was a woman who had schizoaffective disorder. This is a combination of schizophrenia and bi-polar disorder. She wound up in the hospital after an episode where she refused to eat or drink because she believed her food and water were being poisoned.
She often spend most of her time in bed, isolated.
One day I went to visit her in the hospital and I simply lowered myself to the floor – butt on the cold linoleum floor, back against the wall. I said “I’m here with you, in case you want to talk.”
And I sat there on the floor, looking out the window across the room. There was no view – just bricks from the other part of the county hospital. It was quiet and peaceful. I had no expectations for the visit, I just thought she might isolate herself not because she had nothing to say but because she felt safe there. I wanted her to feel safe with me, so I joined her in her safe place and took a position of respect toward her safety.
Something in that “no questions, I’m just here stance” opened her up to me. She talked and talked and talked and talked and talked and talked and talked.
I found out more in that visit (and yes, I stayed seated on the cold linoleum floor for the entire conversation) than any of her clinical workers had I believe because I specifically didn’t ask questions.
I was just there with her, patiently waiting. I was able to advocate for her better after that because I had been patient and waited for her to speak and be heard. That silence spoke love to her.
My brother John never mastered language like other people. We spent hours together in silence and yet in that silence so much love was spoken. He inadvertently prepared me for silent love.
When we were the only two children at home while our older three siblings were at school we were together in companionable silence. At my parents fiftieth wedding anniversary party I sought his companionship when I got overwhelmed by the hub bub. We sat in companionable silence and then joined the others, together. As he was dying, I would visit him in his hospital room. He had a tracheotomy for nine months and was unable to speak with conventional language, yet we still spoke in silent love.
All this is to say, the little girl who has been hiding in the closet may have been waiting for me amidst the many episodes of my life to take the time to be quiet with her, to love her into being comfortable enough to speak.
To love HER into being comfortable enough to speak, I am actually loving MYSELF into being comfortable enough to speak.
This is an exploration of self via free flowing personal narrative. I’m using the “5for5BrainDump” model which grants a person the gift of 5 minutes of timed writing to dump whatever comes onto the page without editing, forethought or judgment. What appears on the page and out of the rambling mind is remarkable.
These thoughts are posted unedited and will occasionally include an extra session or two to get to the depth the person feels necessary. Sometimes, the person (in many cases myself) backs away from the writing because… it is uncomfortable, she feels like something is about to crack open or she becomes bored and drifts away momentarily.
It is important to give license to stop and continue, stumble and continue, rant and scream and cry… and continue. This continuing is where the transformation happens.
Julie Jordan Scott inspires people to experience artistic rebirth via her programs, playshops, books, performances and simply being herself out in the world. She is a writer, creative life coach, speaker, performance poet, Mommy-extraordinaire and mixed-media artist whose Writing Camps and Writing Playgrounds permanently transform people’s creative lives. Watch for the announcement of new programs coming in soon!
To contact Julie to schedule a Writing or Creative Life Coaching Session, call or text her at 661.444.2735.