By Sue Murphy
Boy, have we had a lot to process lately! Unexpected changes, tangled up emotions – what is a body supposed to do with it all?
Well, maybe put it on paper.
Numbers are good. Numbers are useful and charts and graphs and actuarial predictions have their place, but it’s been my experience that alongside the adaptive, functioning adult in your brain, there is a not-so-sure person who may be quivering just a bit or would really, really like to break some dishes, or would just like to stand on a chair for a moment and scream, “SERIOUSLY???”
I also believe it’s important to somehow allow that poor little person to have their say. Luckily, there are a lot of “somehows” available. You could draw a picture. Notice I did not say, “color a picture,” which might be soothing, but then you are filling in someone else’s lines and I’m guessing that at this point you have a few lines of your own.
You could write a story or a poem or a letter to the imaginary editor of the “Gosh and Golly Gazette.” Give novel-writing a go. Round up a cast of characters, throw a few problems at them (no writer’s block there), and see what happens.
If you are so inclined, you could play the piano or the tuba or the bagpipes, whatever sound seems closest to what your person needs to say. You could belt out a medley of yet-to-be-written show tunes, channel your inner Lin-Manuel Miranda. I mean, the man took the story of a conflicted U.S. founding father and made it into an unequivocal international hit. Maybe you could, too, although I must point out that garnering the approval of others is not the point of this exercise. What we’re trying to do here is give your inner person a chance to get a few things off their chest or their jaw or their lower back or wherever it is you store up your tension.
I don’t care if you are always the last person chosen for Pictionary. I don’t care if your spelling is atroshush … or is it atrocious? Your dance moves may be the stuff of your middle school nightmares, but by golly, it’s not beyond you to dabble in some art form. No one’s going to judge you, and if they do, tell them to clam up and keep moving. Or let your inner person do it. She’s loaded for bear anyway.
Maybe the thought of an actual human being getting a glimpse of your inner person makes your throat close up. You’ve spent a lot of time and energy trying to appear solid and upstanding. If someone knew you were (shudder) vulnerable, where would that lead? Well, it just might make some other person feel not quite so alone, give them a moment of “You said it, sister!”
Oh, but what if your voice is completely unique, a wellspring of thoughts and angles that no one has come up with before? I’d say, “Thank goodness!” Look around. It doesn’t appear that we have the answers to all of our problems yet, so something new might be just the ticket. Your inner voice could be the gateway to a kinder, gentler world. (Cue the sunbeams.)
Or maybe your inner person just wants to spew a few pent-up adjectives in the privacy of your own home so you can breathe again. That’s OK, too.
All I’m saying is draw a picture, write a story, sing a song. It’s left brain therapy for your right brain angst. It can’t hurt.