The Not So Sage of the Sea

I like a pattern. Of all patterns, the ones which seem most miraculous to me, are the ways behavioural patterns manifest themselves.

For this reason alone, I love therapy. I know – it sounds so angst. No apology though. Therapists are the elephant whisperers of our internal lives. The way they see these behavioural patterns running through us is amazing. Especially when I go for years without being able to grasp one iota of it – except for its stench. It’s a miracle. Miracle.

I don’t get to see therapists enough. If I won the lottery I would see one every week. Even virtual therapy would do. I would lie down on my couch or on theirs, and the world would turn in our hands.

At the moment I find myself doing this pattern-spotting work on my own. I spot patterns like a bad bloodhound. I have managed to appreciate one though that recently lurks in the mental closet of my household.

It’s this: not allowing yourself to be happy. It’s a kind of penance. How often do we actively engage and recognise this in ourselves? Not very often I reckon.

Lockdown has been quite the purge. Plus for us, with all this to-ing and fro-ing of our decision of whether to stay or to go, feelings on Quest have been heightened.

Dammit though – feelings on Quest are always heightened! This trip since September can probably in hindsight be re-named the ‘heightened feelings trip.’ It would make complete sense for it to be poked at now with an extra, sharp stick.

We did speak to a therapist the other day. She mentioned the pattern. How sometimes you know you should be happy, but you aren’t. The person who feels it, the therapist said, is often mad (wait for it) – at themselves. Even if it seems they’re mad at everyone else.

Revelation! I’m no emotional sage. Most of the time too, my interest is in the pragmatic. I found out recently I’m a Virgo rising. I was like – thank you! I do like the consistency of being useful. Which isn’t always compatible with emotional clarity. Oops.

Still, we’ve had intense emotional waves under lockdown. We’ve never experienced uncertainty with our travels on this level. With a sort of anguished worry at the same time. And grief.

Now there’s something else too. As we’ve slowed down to lockdown’s immobile pace, another feeling has come up in the mix. A pesky one. It also knocks on the cupboard door. When we open the door, it whispers, ‘Perhaps after this is over, when we can move freely again and without fear, we’ll be able to start over. All of us. We can be who we want to be.’

Slam the door. Only if we can give ourselves permission to be happy. I know enough about nothing to know that. Step number one.