Who am I?
It's a question we've all asked at one time or another.
Speaking from a survivor's perspective, I can honestly say I am defined by what has happened to me. In a way, we all are.
But the question remains - Who am I?
After a few decades of thought, I have come to realize that I am something of a traveling sentient. Explain? Sure.
I feel it is my role to help someone heal, however that may be defined. I gravitate towards those who just want a listener.
Oh yeah, I am a good listener. It got me nothing by way of a well documented non-prom date but that's another story for another time.
As the disease and its fallout twisted and turned my internal vision of who I was physically, I discovered something deep within that may not have burgeoned without the ordeal to bring it forth.
Empathy. It makes me a good writer. It makes me a good listener. It's the ability to share what another person is going through.
I don't say this with ease. I can't really explain the situation properly. It just happens.
Throughout my life, I have been surrounded by people who 'told me' things. They told me how to run my life. They told me what medicines I will take. They even told me what I may be incapable of doing.
All were well intentioned. But the people that truly stood out in my life are those who simply listened.
So, today, I listen. Many times I can't do a thing about someone's situation. But I've found that people just want to be heard. It's a catharsis we all need. At least I do.
Perhaps I should leave that to the shrinks. The galaxy knows that I've seen enough of them myself. But I am compelled. It is like being magnetized, drawn to a crying spirit.
Yes, there is a downside. What trained counselors are taught very early on is the art of not getting involved. To be a passive ear, gently guiding some soul to the other side then once your job is complete, letting that person go to stand on their own.
Downside? You have to let go. Many souls have crossed my path and I have had to learn that when you extend a hand, it is simply to get that person to stand. Once they learn to walk, you have to take your hand back and wave goodbye.
Internally, this hurts. I've had to wrestle with my own inner demons and regale myself with tales of why letting go is a good thing for all.
It doesn't make it easier but if I am obliged to carry on this skill, then I'd better learn what the pros already know.
Still, the lesson is here for all - we just want to be heard.
Have you heard anyone today?
**** The Patient ***
The patient explained that he felt overcome by a terrible sadness, that he didn't want to get up in the morning. He could not see any point in his existence.
"With your condition I would normally prescribe a course of my patent powders," said the doctor, "but it so happens that I have recently come across something which will alleviate your condition much more quickly.
"You must," he continued, "go to the Covent Garden theatre to see the pantomime, Harlequin and Mother Goose. This is the happiest thing I have ever seen performed on a stage, tears of laugher ran down my face. Why, sir, I can almost guarantee that watching Grimaldi the clown will cure you completely!"
"Ah, but doctor," said the man sadly, "I am Grimaldi the clown."