Monday, December 11, 2006

character development

As part of my healing, my counselor, Megan, wants me to start journaling out the conversations I have in my head -- the voices that direct my actions. As part of this, I've defined two distinct voices other than my own. The voices are: Vicki Should --the perfectionist, and E.D. (Eating Disorder) Love. (Thanks to the book: "Life Without Ed" by Jenni Schaefer for the inspiration and the name. This book is profound. It will change your life. )
Here are the profiles I created for them.

Her name is Vicki. Vicki Should. She is the picture of perfection. She is always collected, organized. She is good – not just good but successful at everything she does. She doesn’t lose her temper. Everyone likes her. She is thin, of course. Highly educated. Her house is always clean. She’s always ready for company. She manages her money and her household prudently and efficiently. She’s witty – never says anything stupid.
She never disappoints her children. She never disappoints anyone.
Vicki Should is perfect. Perfect in every way. And she lives inside me.
She’s the voice – the other. Vicki is the person that tells me that I shouldn’t do anything unless it can be done perfectly and if it can’t be done perfectly, I have failed.
Vicki is the person that says I can accomplish everything even though no human really could. If I were just better. Perfect.
I can be and have it all if were just more efficient.
If you saw her in the mirror, like I do, you’d say she’s breathtaking…striking. Until you looked into her eyes. They’re hollow. There is not light. No life.
Her goal, her mission is to destroy my self worth. My very essence. Then, her partner, her brother steps in.
ED Love.
He’s also thin. He’s suave. He represents the male love I constantly crave. Just when his sister has told me I’m worthless, Ed says,
“I can make you feel better. Just trust me. Let me comfort you. Let me hold you in my arms. Take care of you. Let’s go to the kitchen. I’ll fill you up with the warmth of a hot filling meal and sweetness in a big bag of chocolate. We'll eat until you can't eat anymore.”
If I’m at dinner Ed is the one who says,
“You’ll feel more confident in this situation if you keep stuffing yourself. You’ll show everyone how you’re in control of what you eat. That you’re not ashamed of what you eat or what you look like. Because you’ll keep eating until you’re stuffed just to show them all how much in control you are.”
The two of them weave this tapestry of dysfunction and deceit in my mind and in my heart. It’s what keeps me warm sometimes.
The image they leave behind is one of failure and worthlessness and it forces me to depend on them for my existence.”

When I journal like this, I go into a meditative state -- only partially aware of the words going on the page. I came "to" and was rather struck by what I wrote. It was really therapeutic to get these words, and the pictures I put out earlier out of my head. The next step was to make them public by putting them here. Once you send it out into the universe, you don't need it anymore. It's not a secret. "It" -- however you define "it" -- is just another step on the journey.

Art Therapy Number 3

I am on a roll now -- While I was in this "art zone" -- this is what came out of my head next. I think the heart inside the heart is where I keep the stuff I want to hang on to, but don't need anymore.

Art Therapy #2

Ok -- so in the next section of the book, this the conclusion to the story.

From the book: “And so, very slowly and carefully, you let go of the log and practice floating. When you start to sink, you grab back on. Then you let go of the log and practice treading water, and when you get tired, hold on once again. After awhile, you practice swimming around the log once, twice, ten times, twenty times, a hundred times, until you gain the strength and confidence you need to swim to shore. Only then do you completely let go of the log.”
I’m still treading water, I think. I know I haven’t swam to shore yet. The fear is like a giant anchor tied to my ankle. I’m not sure how to cut the tether.

Here’s what I’m shooting for though – planting my own flag on the shore –

Art Therapy #1

I'm trying something different. Something a little voice inside my head has been trying to get me to do for years. I'm playing with water colors -- pencils to be exact and I love it.

In the fabulous book "Eating by the Light of the Moon" by Anita Johnston, ( ) the author gives a metaphor that I can’t get out of my head – I’ll paraphrase it for you:

I’m on the banks of a swollen river when the bank gives way – I’m tossed by the waves and being pulled by a force I cannot control. I’m drowning. A huge log comes by and I grab on – I hold on to save myself
Finally, exhausted, I float into an area where the water is calm. I could easily swim to shore, but I would have to let go of the log. I can’t. I’m afraid.
(from the book)“How ironic. The very thing that saved your life is now getting in the way of your getting where you want to go. There are people on the shore who see yhou struggle and yell, “let go of the log!’ But you are unable to do so because you have no confidence in your ability to make it to shore …”

With that in mind, this is what I drew in my new water color book with my cool new toys!