The Sandbox

Amnesia, Art, Healing

12/27/16

7:19AM

Authenticity

A

S, how did the rest of the day go? The night? And this morning?

S

I cried a lot in the morning. This gap, I keep feeling. Between where I am and where I feel I need to be with my work. 

A

Tell.

S

It’s the muzzle on me. My inability to do something with all this work—to package it properly, to make something of it and of me. 

A

We are the package. Who we are in the world—this is the package. 

S

I get that. And Pete points that out—beautifully and when I need it. 

A

It is not enough for the man in the forest filled with paintings to simply be in and with his work. Not enough for him to know and to demonstrate each day his talents to his own self? 

S

I guess. 

A

This man in the forest is nothing unless he can show the world his work? 

S

I guess not. 

A

Would you prefer to be talented and unknown? Or known and not as talented. 

S

Unknown. 

A

Let’s delve deeper. 

S

Okay.

A

How does it feel to see this man, this talented painter who paints prolifically each day from his heart, cry each morning? How do we view his gap—between the work he creates and the lack of an audience for it?

S

I am definitely more able to see that it’s the work that is critical; much less so the audience. 

A

Where our grief comes from, the deep grief, is perhaps related but…different.

S

It’s about what we’ve been talking about these days; witnessing. Parental witnessing, mirroring back…the stuff I guess I missed but unconsciously for a long time seemed to really need. 

A

What is the dream? And what it the gap between us and it?

S

I guess the dream has always been to write a novel—or whatever it would be classified as—but some book that is able to properly capture the Sandbox. It is process and also a story. An ongoing story. The ongoing nature of it is one of the things most important to me—it’s my fluidity, my life’s blood in many ways—but also the ongoing nature of it makes it very hard to bookend it. 

A

Go on. 

S

And you could—and I have a long the way—attempted to write a book at least of what’s happened to date but even the rendering of such a book changes as my process changes. 

A

It’s a moving target.

S

Correct.

A

And we need that target to move. 

S

Yes. Changing and growing each day is…what this Sandbox—what my life is—about. 

A

So trying to capture this Sandbox in a book is…

S

It’s a bit like a sea anemone. Or some kind of very delicate sea flower that, when you barely touch it or when the water moves its filaments move. It’s elusive. 

A

Elusive. 

S

Yup. 

A

Elusive…this is the gap that we struggle with?

S

I think it’s part of that gap. It’s impossible to write a book when there is no ending nor do you want an ending. And it’s impossible to write a book when the author’s perspective continues to evolve. 

A

This makes complete sense. 

S

I guess the question for me is; how do I stop the pain of this gap—of me wanting to somehow deliver to the world—or let’s say some theoretical witness like Eileen—this blockbuster novel that not only describes but involves and brings them in?

A

We had that. Our Sandbox—this process—YOUR imagination captured the woman we thought we wanted with all our heart. Eileen could not exactly stay away. And, S, look where this got us.

S

Yes. And honestly a part of me loved that. And a part of me knew it would ultimately get me nowhere. 

A

And part of you wanted…what?

S

I suppose the fantasy would have been to have her take me home somehow. For me to live in this womb…where I was constantly being witnessed. 

A

In a sense, that’s what she offered when she asked for more money to read the Sandbox, right? I’ll witness you for as long as you want if you pay me more?

S

Yeah. 

A

And?

S

That hurts. 

A

Because on the one hand you knew that there was some genuine personal interest and involvement. But on the other, she was trying to make it purely professional by putting dollars between you and she. 

S

Yeah. 

A

How does this feel?

S

It really hurts, actually. It felt like a version of Notice. 

A

Which, as we were clear yesterday on, was in its purest form, abandonment. 

S

Yeah. 

A

Putting dollars between you and she was another way of walking away. 

S

That’s what it felt like. Feels like. But logically…I seem to have a hard time getting there. 

A

Imagine a very young child that brings home their work each day—paintings each day that create one landscape after another bursting with color. Each day he gives his painting to his mom and each day she is more and more impressed by his work—genuinely so—and interested and full of admiration and awe for the skill and talent that is shown. 

S

Okay. 

A

And then one day the mother changes without reason and says if the child wants to bring his paintings home that he needs to make an appointment. Perhaps pay her to sit down and view them. 

It may be an imperfect analogy but does any of it resonate?

S

I guess the formality of an appointment. The taking what was once organic and undeclared and true and so desperately undeclared but needed and turning it into something painfully “other.” 

A

The painfully other that you feel is abandonment. It’s what happened to you long ago when you were left to raise your own self. It was enacted several times in your therapy too that threw gasoline onto the abandonment fires of long, long ago.

S

How does my therapy now seem to avoid doing this to me?

A

You have a therapist who is smart, experienced and alert to your general damage beneath the amnesia and how any little move on her end could ignite flames. She understands her role, her obligation to you. She has a sense of her own self playing out in the therapeutic dynamic—is attuned to her own personal reactions—keeps them in check and is always, always focused on how every little thing could be impacting you. There is nothing casual, not a lot missed. She is…a professional. 

S

Yeah. 

A

Imagine your own self working with someone like you—imagine how sensitive we would need to be with someone who has deep trauma hidden from their own self. We would more easily be able to see for we are a kayaker—above the water with a perspective and energy that differs from the client who swims in the sea. 

S

So this all somehow does relate to this painful gap I feel; the gap between what my Sandbox is, this world I live in inside my mind and on the page on now one that I also put up and onto my website—and…the rest of the world. Me and all that I am in this Sandbox…and the world. 

What do I show—if I show anything. And how do I show it. 

But, most importantly…the question is…why do I show it?

A

Correct. 

S

I want to show off. 

A

Yes. 

MLG

I want to show off. 

A

Indeed. 

MLG

I want to the world to see how smart and creative and unique and exceptional I am. 

A

Yes. 

S

How would you show off, Monkey?

MLG

No need to package it much at all. It’s all there. Our work works. We shrunk things down to get to the bones of our story. Now we hang meat onto it.

S

I want to steer away if I can from this how to present and package this work. I want to stay with the what feels painful but productive. And that’s the witnessing piece. 

A

Okay. 

S

I am left alone at a very young age with my own creativity. I am dropped. At a very, very young age. And I am never picked back up again. 

A

Yes. 

S

Later in life, when I seem to be in a place of stability I’d never had before, my heart says it’s time to open back up and heal. And I reach for and I get someone who picks me up, who joins me, who allows me to be witnessed…and to create like I once wanted to so long ago. 

A

Yes. 

S

And I go. And I go. And I go. And I still go. Despite also being dropped by this person. 

A

Yes. We keep going. Unlike before where life was, creatively, in many respects, suspended. 

S

I lose my person—twice—but I keep going despite the loss. 

A

Yes. 

S

I keep going perhaps because of the loss. I keep going to…try and find her? 

A

Yes. 

S

This is the…gap. 

A

Yes. 

S

The pain is the gap between me and her. 

A

Yes. 

S

And I won’t bridge this gap…ever?

A

No. But we will understand it better. And understanding helps with the pain. 

S

It is a very, very deep wound. One that plays out daily. 

A

Yes. 

S

The man in the forest filled with trees paints to show his mom. But his mom is long gone, his mom left him when he was very little, at a time when he could barely hold a brush. He wants so badly for his mom to see his forest filled with paintings, to walk with him through the hallways made of trees, paintings large and small, blues and reds and pinks and yellows, every color and hue imaginable how he paints for her to see. 

A

Yes. 

S

He tries even to put up a gallery in town but his efforts fail. He gets discouraged. The gallery seems unable to contain enough work to represent all that he is. And ultimately, the gallery in town does not bring his mom back to him. 

A

It does not. 

S

I cry in the mornings for this loss. For something I might have had briefly once long ago—or maybe not at all but what I needed—but I had a taste of relatively recently in my life. It was there…then it was gone. I was unconsciously devastated by this loss in a very traumatic therapy that lasted a few years. Gasoline on a remote fire that has had me burning up in pages. 

A

Yes. 

S

I was maybe a talented little kid who was never allowed to erupt. So I erupt now, inpain and in process. But not in any sort of product that allows me to find what I need. 

A

Yes. 

S

Because what I need and desire most is gone. 

A

Yes. 

S

It feels at once so simple and clear but also too large to hold. To much to swallow the words for my own self. I can only seem to understand it as a fairy tale, can only empathize when I think about the man in the forest who keeps painting for someone lost to him so long ago, perhaps someone he never really had. 

A

One day at a time. One morning at a time. One entry at a time. We move towards Towards.