In Freud’s Interpretation of Dreams, he quotes poet-philosopher Friedrich Schiller; “You worthy critics, or whatever you may call yourselves, are ashamed or afraid of the momentary and passing madness which is found in all real creators, the longer or shorter duration of which distinguishes the thinking artist from the dreamer.”
I’d like to call your attention to this particular part; “ashamed or afraid of the momentary and passing madness”
I often say that people who do not want to “dig deep” resist because they are afraid of what they might find. This is an underrated benefit/product of a good counselor-client relationship. One of a counselor’s main responsibilities is to do what is in their power to make you feel you are in a safe environment. This is not only referring to the actual physical setting the counseling is taking place in (a basketball court in the Bronx vs. a private office in the country), but also how far into your soul you can search with the assurance that you won’t be lost, or at the very least alone. Soul-searching is scary. So scary most people don’t do it. They do not feel safe enough to venture the unknown territory of their subconscious, for fear of what they’ll find, usually pointed toward some sort of suspected inadequacy. A counselor doing his or her job will demonstrate characteristics such that the client feels understood enough, attended to, and not judged. It is only under these circumstances that they may take a glimpse into the deeper parts of their hearts and minds, the parts that are less well known than the fluffy stuff, and as such seem overwhelming and disconcerting to navigate.
I’ve been experiencing some severe writers block lately. When I came across this quote, it hit home, hard. Every time I sit down to write, the inner critics go to town, detailing to me what I should do and how and why and “Don’t do that they’ll think it’s stupid…Make sure and do this to help them better understand!” For this reason, something that was crystal clear in the middle of my workout becomes muddled and misshapen by the time I get to the computer, if I can even keep the critics quiet long enough for me to sit down. What’s the result? Frustration, stagnation, and STRESS. I’ve been producing abnormally high amounts of adrenaline the past few weeks, which I can directly connect to the increase in stress I’ve been experiencing with this writer’s paralysis. Why can’t I say what I think? What am I afraid of? I’m afraid people will think I’m nuts. I’m afraid people will think I’m stupid. Why? Because when I told people what I really think, they gave me puzzled looks and blank stares. So I stopped telling people. It made so much sense to me! Did I not articulating myself well enough? Even when I do, the ideas are usually so incredulous that their response includes a million and one obvious reasons why the idea wouldn’t fly.
When I was younger it didn’t bother me so much. I took it as a challenge of sorts. I’d prove to them my idea could work! And I often did. Then somewhere along the way, I ran into a bunch of dream kickers. If you can picture it: my creative mind was like a schoolboy in the fetal position behind the playground, being kicked by a gang of older boys so they could commandeer his lunch money. It’s human nature, basic behaviorism – you do something and get kicked enough times, you don’t do that something anymore. For me, that meant no more talking about radical ideas. Then, somewhere down the line, I started to question everything I thought. If I was wrong about the big stuff, couldn’t I be wrong about more?
The schoolboy starts to look more like a 14 year old girl and the gang of older boys is penetrating her psyche. The heinous act they commit is not only traumatic for her, but they have stolen something from her that she can never have back; her innocence. And with that…her child-like wonder and creativity. I don’t know how long this has been happening, or how it got this bad, but that quote was my “wake-up call”. From now on, I’m fighting back.
Let them think I’m crazy. Let them think I’m irrelevant. I don’t care, because I just want them to think. Let the madness begin.