A fragment

Posted on July 17th, 2011 @ 23:24 in Uncategorized

Alright. I’m only posting this here cuz 1. someone on Twitter has been badgering me that I should update and 2. I’m probably never going to do anything more with it so that way at least it doesn’t disappear forever like so many other things that never get past 500 words. It started out as a 100words.com thing (so you’ll get to see that at the end of the month) which I thought could be expanded on. It’s also inspired by… well… stuff my therapist has said. But it is of course not autobiographical. *lol*

“I want you to sit completely still, close your eyes and tell me what you experience. Trust your senses. What do you hear? Smell? How does the ground feel? Then look inside yourself. How do you feel? Describe it using a piece of music. A colour! A weather phenomenon!”

My therapist had decided this weekend workshop would be good for me. To get in touch with my emotions. I spend too much time in my head you see. Apparently this is a serious problem and must be fixed. This is why I am currently sitting on a beach with 20 people, being asked to describe how I feel as a colour. We are supposed to take turns and I’ve positioned myself strategically so I’ll come towards the end and can listen to what the others have to say. It might inspire me. It might give me enough time to think up a bullshit answer.

Joseph who’s going first is here to fix something too. His marriage is breaking up and his wife has given him an ultimatum: either he starts communicating with her or she’ll move back in with her parents. How on Earth this ended with him being here I don’t know, but he has high hopes. I suspect he’s more worried about losing his maid and cleaner than his partner. He sounds hesitant. Glad to see I’m not the only one who’s uncomfortable. “I… I feel green.” I think he’s making it up. Kaycee, who’s “facilitating” the workshop, isn’t impressed either. “Start with the outside world, Joseph. Smell, touch, hearing… and remember, it’s not a competition. Be honest with yourself, that’s why you’re here.”

“Right. I can hear the sea.” This one’s easy, what else are we supposed to hear? Maybe it’s just to get us used to the idea. “I can smell… well, the sea, too, and a faint smell of… something not nice.” Joseph has such a way with words! While we’ve found a fairly deserted stretch of beach for our little exercise, there is a chemical plant a bit further upwind. “Okay, Joseph, I want you to describe the smell. Pay attention to details, everything counts. Is it pungent? Sickly? Sulphurous?” My strategy is starting to show its drawbacks. All the good descriptors for industrial waste stink will have been claimed by the time it is my turn!

But perhaps I need not worry. “It smells like my first job.” Oh do tell us more, Joe. “And like the stuff my wife buys to unblock the toilet.” It can only get better from here! Kaycee’s eager to move on too. “Right, let’s get to the sense of touch. Anything?” – “Um, well the sand is surprisingly hard and uncomfortable, but nice and warm.” He pauses. “That makes no sense, sorry.” – “Don’t apologise Joseph, there is no right and wrong answer. Just be honest and open. Now tell us how you feel inside. Remember what I told you earlier.”

What Kaycee had explained at length in the two hour long morning session was that we had to “literally go inside ourselves”. She hadn’t actually meant literally of course, but I had wisely refrained from correcting her. Besides, aren’t we already inside ourselves? Literally? Not according to Kaycee. We spend too much time in our heads because our minds are not comfortable within our bodies. Consequently there is a disconnect between mind and body and they are no longer able to communicate. The one doesn’t know what the other is doing, which leads to imbalance and misery all round.

Now despite my valiant efforts to ridicule this whole enterprise, I will not deny that Kaycee’s theory is intriguing. It’s no less valuable than any other attempts at explaining my complete and utter inability to express certain emotions. I don’t even know if I am truly unable to feel them, or if I have just lost the vocabulary to describe the feelings that are still somewhere inside me. The most irritating thing is, we can intellectually circle the issue for hours without ever getting anywhere at all. The supposed feelings it’s all about, they seem forever out of reach. So this workshop is sort of my last hope, a lifebuoy thrown out to the little girl overboard just before she drowns in the floods. I’m going to find those goddamn feelings or die trying.

“Lucy?” Oh dear, looks like it is my turn and I’ve completely zoned out during everyone else’s bit. I missed their helpful clues! I’m on my own! What am I going to say? For lack of a better plan, I just sit there with my mouth open, saying nothing. Annoyingly, Kaycee thinks she’s already got me aaall figured out. “Now don’t worry about expectations or not finding the right word. Remember, not a competition. There is no stupid answer. What may sound silly to you may actually be a helpful assessment of your feelings.”

Right then. I can do this. I have to. The easy bits first. No idea now if any of the others have used the same words before. Who cares. “Soooo… I can hear the waves and the wind, and the seagulls. I can smell the chemical waste the Danvers company is dumping in the sea.” – “Okay. What does it smell like?” – “Like radioactive detergent. If radioactivity had a smell.” – “Okay. What else?” – “I can’t smell anything else. My arse is numb. My neck is slightly stiff.” – “Physical sensations, good. What else?” Alright, let’s get to the nitty-gritty. I’m doing my best to ‘look inside myself’ and ‘listen to my body’. “I feel… apprehensive. I was nervous earlier, but then I got lost in a train of thought and forgot all about the nerves, about everyone else here. I got irritated with myself once I started thinking about why I was here. And now I’m just… unsure of myself and of this whole thing.” – “Okay. A lot of words there. Now try colour, weather, music.” – “Um. I’m mustard. Not frightened enough to be yellow, but not comfortable enough to be blue or green. Not angry right now so not red. Therefore mustard.”

Oh God, why do I talk so much? Why can’t I just say mustard and leave it at that? See, that’s part of my problem! Words words words, but what is it they hide? Keep it short, Lucy! “I am windy, like gusty winds. As for music, I’m Mozart’s Haffner Serenade.” I kick myself inwardly as soon as I say it. I could’ve just said Britney’s Toxic or Hazy Shade of Winter by the Bangles! But I’m done. I’ve done it. Wow. “Thanks, Lucy,” and Kaycee moves on to my neighbour, a spoilt 19-year-old on her gap year.


Katja said on Jul 19, 2011 at 5:39 pm

You should continue writing, I like it. It’s very entertaining.

Clarissa said on Jul 19, 2011 at 9:16 pm

Thank you. 🙂 Mayyyyyybe I will. Some day. *ahem*

LJ said on Jul 21, 2011 at 3:38 pm

Really enjoyed reading that.

Clarissa said on Jul 21, 2011 at 5:20 pm

Why thank you slore 😀


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