The Sandbox

Amnesia, Art, Healing

5/7/17

6:53AM

Authenticity

A

So…what did Teresa’s email say?

MLG

Fetching it now. 

Hi S, 

Thank you for sending the link to your transcript today and the earlier Scotty transcript. They were both unbelievably moving. And thanks for letting me in. I like my promotion from Sandbox Attendant to the next pay grade :-).

I can say, as you have said, that at the same time you were trying to survive your therapy you were also trying to make sense of the small memory pieces that came and went and were confusing. Both struggles were happening simultaneously. 

I made note of how you compared your leadership in saving XXX Park with your skills in honoring and respecting all of yourself, responding politely to MT by saying you were going to continue with the Sandbox. I have always been impressed that you innately knew that was the wise thing to do, to respond internally with respect and compassion and gratitude.

Pretty clearly the memory of the "Great Fire" is very important, since you've called it the centerpiece. Exactly what that means will probably become clear. I wonder too about the funeral image, what it contains, what it means.

And your description of the trip to Park Bench made it clearer to me that the vigil there is as much for the unremembered past as it is for Eileen's hurts and gaffes. And I wonder what  Sandbox City might stand for, what past, lost positive experience it might be capturing, in addition to the original hopes for help from and connection to Eileen.

Here's my favorite passage: "It is easy to get bitter and old and to drop everything, to give in, to capitulate. But life is to be lived for it is indeed, a sentence that will one day end. There could not be more important work than the work you do, S." I wholeheartedly agree. I'm hoping in time your healing journey will start to feel a little less lonely. 

I look forward to seeing you on Tuesday. 

Teresa

A

This is not an example of someone mailing it in. 

S

Not. At. All. She read everything—had insights and questions. I bolded the questions. Park Bench Park remains this sad place in my mind and heart—a melancholy in some ways non-remembrance. But also there is memory; the memory I had of this very brief period of time where I was allowed to build a city in my mind that I loved. I hadn’t really completed it but it is mapped out to some degree; a ski town with mountains made up of all the snow that I’d shoveled every single day—snow that cleared from this emotional driveway in my mind.  

I thought I was creating this masterpiece—on a good day—and I thought someone was there with me which Eileen was—and wasn’t. 

I knew that if she was really with me it was wrong. And when it became truth that she was more there than she was supposed to be I screamed out that something was wrong but I was always upset with myself for doing that because all I ever wanted was that. 

A

You screamed out because deep down it wasn’t all you ever wanted—it was sinister—and it wasn’t about you and helping you. That’s why you screamed out. You were unwilling to let this get out of hand. 

S

I think that first part of the book, the part I kept and preserved, Part One, kind of written in this fantasy tone, me talking to and finding Parts of self—me giving them names, this allowance in doing so to talk about what I could remember and in talking/writing about it, remembering perhaps more. Anyway…I think that period of time to me represents being lost in this writerly world…me kind of lost in my own imagination…maybe…but it went on…I remember feeling encouraged to sketch out what Sandbox City looked like…and I think there was part of me inside that wanted to live in Sandbox City…part of me that believed that if I could sketch it all out and write inside of it that it could be my world, possibly. 

Dunno. 

A

How does Sandbox City feel to you now?

S

It’s always felt sad. And when I think back to the period of time where I was focused on creating it—gave it the name Sandbox City—there is a sadness to that too. I can feel the different types of sunlight that fall onto the city, the different seasons. 

There is an office in the center of the city, it is where I worked with Eileen but also it was this office that was kind of like my parent’s office where they worked day and night. 

There is a sadness…the office is close but…not. 

I think I never once considered that as a kid I missed my parents. 

But I think that missing them is what caused my dissociation—a splitting away of me from me. 

I never did end up writing that masterpiece that I wanted to write in that garage

I never did end up becoming anything, really, very artistic. Only once was there some attention paid I think to helping me—that one summer I was sent to a kids’ art camp which I hated. I was sent because my parents were told I was creative and talented. But I felt I had expectations to live up to—and I hated being given paints and told to turn something out given that I was talented. 

I rejected it all. 

I guess I tried to write. I did write some poetry. And I wrote a book eventually that got published. And I had a syndicated column. 

But none of these things really expressed me—I never really found me which I think art is about—self expression and finding. 

Until…the Sandbox. 

For the first time in my life the Sandbox was something that was completely…me. I don’t like saying it was a container because that seems to imply that I needed containment but…it was and is a vessel that seemed to finally fit—or flex—or something.

A

It is less about where we pour out self and more about the act of pouring. 

S

Truth. I suppose I was finally ready to allow myself to meet my…self. 

MLG

We started pouring out, in words. And we made a place to put us. 

S

Yeah. Basically. 

A

We created a world in words because, S, this is who we were, who we are, who we have always been. We just did not know this until…it happened.

MLG

The Sandbox is a vessel

And a mirror too

The Sandbox is me, Authenticity, Blanket, Shard

And…you. 

A

Agreed, Monkey. The Sandbox is also a story we started years ago that continues into this very morning, about discovery and about healing. 

MLG

The Sandbox is a vessel

And a mirror too

The Sandbox is me, Authenticity, Blanket, Shard

And…you.

The Sandbox is a story

One we find and tell each day

The Sandbox is a place to go

Where we can find our way. 

A

Very nice, Monkey. 

T

Do you feel less alone with my message? 

S

I think so, T. I think you’ve needed to be a Sandbox Attendant for two years—a trainee—so that I could learn how to let you in without feeling such horrific, wrenching dependency. I think I am capable of maybe letting you in and allowing you to help without it devastating me. 

I think I was devastated very long ago. And devastated not so very long ago.

T

Grin. Purr. The part that’s been missing is this…this letting me help, letting me in, letting yourself feel and understand how enormously hurt you are—wounded—from what happened to you—long ago and not so long ago. 

S

Oh, T. I was so disappointed and sad—beyond description—beyond understanding—well beyond what I could even hold. I’ve put it all into the Sandbox to be held for me—to be stored for a later date when I could come back and sort through. And the other day when I sent you all that material—about that period of time where I was being so mishandled by Eileen but also dealing with memories coming back—I saw both that I could hold it all and, with your response, that you too could hold it all. 

T

Yes. 

S

These are not fish that swim away, T. The memory of what happened to me that summer—three years ago nearly—the memory of being so trapped in confusion and pain—the memory of being dropped and picked back up and dropped again by Eileen—of being stuck in that vortex—oh my Not Gods it’s very clear to me now. It is exactly as you summed it up: 

T

I can say, as you have said, that at the same time you were trying to survive your therapy you were also trying to make sense of the small memory pieces that came and went and were confusing. Both struggles were happening simultaneously. 

S

I feel the fish swimming, I can feel a lot of them swimming, flits of summer inside of me, of my mom being there…then not. Perhaps these are tiny, slithery fish because my time with her was so fleeting, so flickering. 

A

Yes. 

S

This all makes me very, very sad. I am on an inner tube with her in the pool. My time with her is brief. 

MLG

We played with our mom. 

This we cannot forget. 

We catch this fish. 

With tears in our net. 

S

These fish really, really hurt. Something must have happened. I just don’t know, exactly, what. 

A

My guess, S, is that it is the year of the garage memory…you are alone in that garage. An entire summer is stretched out in front of you. You are given nothing…no instructions…nothing…you take blank pieces of paper into that garage…and a book…but you have…no one. 

S

I don’t know what’s going on except I am really sad and I’m crying right now. 

A

Allow, allow, allow. 

Despite my disappointment from the other day, I continue with my fish, with my exploration into form and surface. And, as I explore, I begin to make these fish more my own. 

Despite my disappointment from the other day, I continue with my fish, with my exploration into form and surface. And, as I explore, I begin to make these fish more my own.