Dancing with your most fantastical desires feels foolish. Do it anyway.
It is actually spooky, the timing of every letter that you post. I had to stop reading it momentarily and look up and laugh at how insanely perfect this message is for my life right now. So, thank you God, Universe, higher power that keeps bringing the perfect guidance and wisdom over and over again. Thank you, Polly, for giving such thoughtful responses to worries that are often hard to admit and shrouded in shame. I really appreciate what you wrote about unfinished projects not being an indicator of being a quitter.
My inner Hannah Montana wants to write a novel, learn how to play the blues really well, do a one woman show, write a play... despite never having been a theatre kid or a musician. But I started teaching myself piano in August and am trying to stop beating myself up for all my half-finished writing projects. My inner Hannah Montana is REALLY passionate about bringing out other people's inner Hannah Montana. And part of that is not letting your creativity be a double life, a secret part of you- but actually owning it as who you are. An affirmation that I keep repeating to myself these last few weeks is: when I associate with people who honor their authentic selves, it gives me the permission and motivation to be my authentic self. So, a big THANK YOU to LW for owning this and writing about it. Get out there and do your thing!
Dear LW, if you do what Heather suggests you do in her first sentence, and your therapist isn't open to exploring that discussion, please find yourself another therapist. Therapy is great - if you have the right person who's working with you. And it can take a while to find the right person. Good luck with bringing out your inner Hannah!
This: "defining success as fame and money and status means trying to turn yourself into THE ULTIMATE GOOD CHILD, the most loved, most approved of, most obedient, most widely admired human around." I guess its a better alternative to wanton sex and drug addiction (the other solution for the abandoned child) but 50 years later I am still seeking to achieve it. Thankfully I did an enormous amount of work to not pass on to my children...
My inner Hannah Montana wants to be a super therapist who combines art, astrology (!) and somatic experiencing.
The other HM wants to be an illustrator who draws from life in cities, and shows people the magic and stories in everyday moments.
The other wishes I was a Mom who homeschooled kids and made everything in her house with her own two hands - clothes, furniture, food, the works...
Seconding Lisa above, find a therapist who engages properly. My dreams are in deep opposition to my day to day, which is an economist bureaucrat working in a fairly avoidant culture... not sure I want to change though - I like many aspects of it. Especially that I can experiment quite a lot with hobbies, since I don’t need to make money off them. But you need to find out for yourself what this dream means to you.
Thank you LW and Polly for this. My dream is to be a writer. I have 2 incomplete fiction writing projects and a million more ideas, and frequently beat myself up about not making enough progress (despite working full time and being a parent). This post was really helpful to get some perspective. If anyone has good recommendations for online short story writing classes I would love to hear them!
i'm certainly no therapist but when a few years ago suffering from fairly debilitating anxiety/depression i turned to one she offered one bit of truth i took to heart and may in small part offer clarity to Hannah. I had droned on for a few sessions about feeling trapped in an actual physical environment that was failing to embrace the continuity of personal emotional history/events and seemed to accentuate deeper unresolved issues. She made an astoundingly profound (for me) observation in that final session (the 4th?) and most gratifying as a year later i acted on it (with not extreme prejudice but forcefully enough): "Your soul is bleeding out HERE."
So maybe a change of venue, either entire or piecemeal could be helpful.
It was my last session as by then she had encouraged dialogue on other neutral topics and we entered the political realm where she admitted her admiration for the President at the time and his "accomplishments". I rolled my eyes towards the wall where her various psychology degrees were tastefully displayed and asked her one question: "Do you think Donald Trump is a narcissist?"
She looked me dead in the eye and shaking her head with the tolerance you reserve for adopted feral cats wanging around on stuffed wood...f....ks and instantly responded (i absolutely kid you NOT) "Absolutely NOT Apple."
I think we both kinda knew that was all she wrote but she was worth every penny of the $30 visits and we parted on fairly amicable terms ie she made sure i paid the receptionist and didn't refill my styrofoam coffee cup.
I said "what I really want..." in a women's group on Friday, and one woman said, later, "you're already doing it". And it's true, I am doing the thing, sort of, for little pay, and without credentials or the confidence that I know what I am doing or that it is working. So what was it that I really wanted? I think I wanted some external form, some prestigious title, that I and other people would admire so I could finally stop striving to be worthy and check out emotionally...forever.
I'm always trying to find some key that solves life forever, but that way of living is really a sort of death-in-life because everything creative or uncontrollable (really: alive) has to be shut down to prioritize the search for the holy grail that doesn't exist.
What if I could wake up from this illusion? What if I could do what I feel inspired to do without worrying much about the outcome? That sounds amazing.