This post is not intended just to be a place for me to gloat about having the incredible fortune to see Morrissey perform live in L.A. on Friday night, or to tell you how unbelievably AWESOME it was to sit just eight-rows away from him and to be able to see his eyes when he sang, “Everyday is like Sunday.” Nor is it even about how Morrissey is more like a beloved friend to me than a performer and how it feels a little odd to see so many people who also consider him the personal soundtrack of their life. And I wouldn’t even dare to try and explain to you my love for him or what he has meant to me since I first heard the Smith’s when I was 15—-it is just too big and, dare I say, transcendent to try and explain. Even after going to the concert with me, I don’t think Keith still fully understands my relationship with Morrissey. He knows that I love him. He knows that I swoon when I hear him and yet he is, I think, a bit baffled by the fact that I have no interest in meeting him ( I just couldn’t bear it if Morrissey the person did anything to ruin Morrissey the myth) and I am certainly not sexually attracted to him( not that he isn’t lovely—it’s just that my love for him is more pure and spiritual than that).
Yes, he sang many of my favorite songs. And I felt overwhelmed, as I do every time I see him, by hearing in person the songs that are the soundtrack to my life. However ,it was this song that made me think of so many things and really experience just how far I have come. And this is what this post is REALLY ABOUT:
In 2008, three days before I saw Morrissey perform in Chicago I had undergone an embryo transplant and when I heard this song I sang along as if it was a prayer. I thought maybe that hearing this song sung by Morrissey and singing along with him, that maybe…just maybe. Only it didn’t–our shared prayer didn’t give me what I wanted.
Ever since then that song has been associated with my infertility. However, on Friday night when Morrissey sang this song I didn’t feel sad. Yes, I felt some sadness about the past,and about not getting what I wanted. But I also felt an incredible relief that I wasn’t praying with Morrissey to get what I wanted. What I felt instead was a clarity that there was nothing that I wanted now. As soon as I realized that, then the tears came. You see, it is a lovely thing to want for nothing. Thank you, Morrissey, for helping me to see that “I haven’t had a dream in a long time”… and that is a very good thing.
Last night Keith and I were going to dinner and I was driving there, only I didn’t know where there was. I asked him where we were going. “I don’t know,” he answered. “Well,” I said somewhat seriously, “then I will just keep driving until we figure it out.” Keith tried to be helpful by telling me all the places that we could go. He named all the places that we usually go to. As he listed the options I was dissatisfied with all of them. I didn’t want to go to Glendale or Pasadena. And I certainly I didn’t want to go to Zen Sushi for the ten-millionth time. “You knew last night what you wanted. It was easy when you knew what you wanted.It was easy.” The other night I knew I wanted a baked potato and a salad for dinner. It was easy. I wanted it and we went and got it.
This little experience of ‘destination unknown’ got me thinking about the bigger experience of knowing where I’m going and how it is a whole lot easier to get there if I know what I want. I know that sounds extraordinarily obvious and I wouldn’t blame you for wanting to leave my post and going off to see what Justin Bieber is Tweeting. But before you do, let me try to make my case in more than 140 characters that even if you don’t think you know what you want that you actually really do. I know that knowing what we want isn’t always so easy. There are a plethora of reasons we don’t let ourselves know what we want. Wanting can be uncomfortable. If we feel the want then we feel the lack. That lack can create uncomfortable feelings( grief, depression and despair) and so we deny the wanting. Also, if we feel like we can’t have it because we are “too” something ( too old or too lazy or whatever too-too you turn to) or that someone will stop us from having it, then again, we press down the desire into our unconscious. And, there are somethings that no matter how hard we try we can’t have them( in my story that would be baby)….but there is a value to looking at that we can’t have and discover if there is a deeper want that can actually be met.
I am a big advocate of asking my patients what they want, or for that matter asking friends, family and people I get in conversations with in the nail salon, as knowing what we want most tells us so much about us. As -Arsène Houssaye. said,”Dites moi qui vous aimez et je vous dirai qui vows etes.”( ”Tell me who you love and I will tell you who you are.”). Our desires inform us of so very much about us, they reveal our wounds, insecurities, and our deepest soul desires that we might not dare to say. Even the seemingly most insignificant desires can be loaded with meaning. My desire for shoes, skincare and lipsticks are NOT just about those things. There is a story that goes with the desire. I have a narrative about who I will be with each and every object I desire. As does everyone, a cigar is never a cigar and a desire for a new handbag is never JUST about the handbag.
If I asked you for a list of what you wanted most, could you tell me? Do you know what you want most? I believe, whether you can name it or not, that you do. I believe that you know exactly what you want. Forgive my inflation, but I feel sure that if we were sitting across from each other and I asked you the right questions that I could get you to tell me what you really-really-really wanted( that is, if you trusted me and KNEW that I would not malign you for your wants, which I assure you I wouldn’t). Maybe you wouldn’t admit them right away, but just having the conversation about what you want most would likely make you aware of your top two unspoken desires.
If you did tell me, perhaps you’d write off what you really want as silly or ridiculous and implausible, as a sort of disclaimer of your deepest dreams, and tell me that you know that what you want is unattainable, but I bet you know it. Knowing what you want is a really good first step. Truly, it is easier to know I want a potato for dinner than it is to drive around saying no to every suggestion I am given. And, yeah, it is easier to know that I want a potato than it is to admit I want something that is going to take hard work, determination and risk in order to achieve.
In January, after reading, Dorothea’s post, “Ready or not—Intentions 2013“, that I had a bit of break through about what I wanted. Yes, I have a long and, to my mind, an impressive list of accomplishments that I achieved in 2012.I almost always know what I want to do, be an have, even if I ignore that wanting. However I wasn’t focused on what I really-really-want. After reading Dorothea’s post and her previous post Intentions check in 2012 I was a bit unsettled, I took a new list of my goals for 2013 and I found them too broad and too unfocused. In wanting all of those things I felt sure that I was diluting my focus. I wanted a list like Dorothea’s. I wanted 2013 to be used in a way that felt meaningful and significant and as nice of a goal as redecorating the kitchen is it is not what I really, really want—that is not a goal that enlivens me or gives me purpose. So after reading Dorothea’s inspiring post I wrote a new list.
My post-Dorothea-post list was very different. It was mean and lean and clean, only 25 objectives versus the 250 item list I had pre-Dorothea. One thing significantly different about the new list was that all the items on the list feel hard to claim. They feel scary and too much and, I think, that is exactly how I know they are right for me. What we want most almost always feels ‘too much’, we dare not dream it. I had a good friend who was incredible at doing makeup. One day she whispered to me her greatest hope, “I wish I could be a makeup artist.” “Are you kidding?,” I replied. My friend immediately inferred from my gobsmacked reaction that I was saying that there was no way that she could make that dream a reality, which couldn’t have been further from the truth. She wore her dream on her face and all she had to do was to march herself down to the MAC counter and she would be one big step closer to making her dream a reality. But for her it felt impossible. She didn’t see how close she was to making her dream happen. I assured her that she could and that she would be amazing at it. Sadly my assurances weren’t enough. She was too scared to risk having her dream not come true and so she chose not to try. Today she is an office manager. I see this over and over again in my work and in my life, people’s dreams are so close they can touch them and yet they dare not make the call, take the step, or ask their friend in “the business” about “how to break in”. Just that one question could open the doorway to their dreams and they don’t dare. And it isn’t just about “them”, I do it too.
Part of my anxiety about naming one of my intentions is that I feel like I have had this goal so many times before, in different forms, and that something in me has stopped me each and every year. Even as reminders of previous failures to produce paraded through my mind, I knew I wanted it just the same. I wanted it more clearly and strongly than I did that stupid baked potato that I was willing to drive cross town for. The intention was, ” I will complete the book proposal for my self-help/memoir ,”What happens when dreams don’t come true and how to live happily ever after anyway” and submit it to agents.” Even to write that here on the blog, where I know I am among friends, makes my heart race a little as I wonder if you will judge me for daring to write it down. And even as I type that I know I am projecting my self-judgement onto you. What do you care? You, lovely you, likely want to see me succeed. Your not judging me, are you? If you are, could you not tell me. I think I ‘d rather not know.
The other scary thing about really getting clear about what you want and where you want to go is that you have to do stuff in order to make it happen. That wasn’t always obvious to me. There was a time that I thought that writing it on a list and saying a few affirmations was enough, happily that was a long time ago. Now, happily, I understand that it takes work to actualize intentions. Everyday I ask myself, “what small action can I take towards this goal, no matter how small.” And when I have gone two days without taking an action I think of what I tough-love writing teacher I had taught her students about goal setting, “Write all of your goals on an index cards, a goal for each card. Go through the cards everyday and write down one action you took towards the goal. If at the end of the week you have not taken an action on a goal then say out loud: “I don’t want to achieve this goal” and then tear up the card.” Okay, her advice is a bit tough. I haven’t actually written any of my intentions on index cards. But everyday when I review my intentions and I find myself procrastinating on sitting down and working on my proposal, I do think of the index cards and I ask myself if,with my lack of action, I am actually telling myself that I don’t want to achieve this goal. This thought, especially if it happens two-days in a row, almost always gets me moving.
With hindsight and eight-hours of sleep, I think that I actually did know what I wanted last night when we were driving around. I was extremely tired when I got home. I don’t think I really wanted to go out. I didn’t know it then. I just knew that when I asked myself where I wanted to go for dinner that “nowhere” is the only answer I got. And, I can see, again with hindsight, that “nowhere” is actually an answer. I didn’t really want to go to dinner. I wanted to put on flannel pajamas and watch Downton Abbey( again). I was actually too tired to eat or to chew or even to get undressed( I may or may not have slept in the sweater that I wore to dinner). Yes, I know I needed nourishment. But I also needed to not sit at a table and look at a menu and talk to a waitress.
Dream number one was a bit on the X-rated side. I won’t go into lurid detail. I will just tell you that Javier Bardem and I were doing things that birds and bees and educated fleas do. What felt important in this dream was the level of connection Javier and I had. And Javier’s instructions to me felt VERY important. Javier was very keen on me “opening up to him”. It seemed that he was trying to open me up so he could fill me up(metaphorically). Please, stay with the metaphor—this isn’t about sex, it’s about metaphor—really. In the dream it felt like Javier and I were very connected and I trusted him and I did open up to him. I told Igor all of these associations. Continue reading ‘Three Types of Men: Foreign lover/Abusive father/Good father’
I don’t know what I am at him. I want to say angry but that doesn’t feel right.
Here is what I know. When I started seeing Igor I wanted to go home. Back then I knew where home was. I hated where I was. I still wanted a baby even though I knew I would never have one. And I knew I wanted to write and publish a book. Back then there were things that I knew that I wanted.
Now, two and a half years later, I don’t want to move back to Chicago. Now I am okay with being where I am. That may sound like progress to you but to me, as of last week, I started to wonder if it was apathy, surrender, and a general loss of hope. I have no desire to have a child, I am too old and that ship has sailed. And I have absolutely no desire to publish a book. None. And I would like to blame that last one on Igor only all the credit for that lost dream goes to iPad. As soon as I started to read books on iPad I no longer had any desire to publish a book. To want to publish a book in today’s publishing world is like wanting to break into silent film just as the talkies came out. Books, I am afraid, are a dinosaur that is moving into hospice care ( Borders is shutting down stores and when you go into Barnes and Noble and they are selling a device that will soon make their store unnecessary, and Amazon is now selling more electronic books than actual books). As soon as I read my first book on an iPad I just didn’t care about publishing anymore, video had killed the radio star. I am already working in the realm of digital media. I have two blogs and a web page. That is much online presence as I want. I don’t want to publish “books” for Kindle. Does that mean I am old and outdated? Or does it just mean I know what I don’t want? Continue reading ‘I’m something at Igor’
“Here is the dream”, I tell Igor, “I am at Bloomingdales and I am on a big sofa and I am trying on shoes in the shoe department.”
“Which Bloomingdales?” Igor asked.
“I don’t know”, I answered surprised that he knows more than one location. I just can’t imagine Igor shopping at Bloomies.
“Sitting next to me is an African-American woman, she is sitting to my right, and she is trying on shoes. I overhear her telling the saleswoman that she isn’t going to take the leopard print boots. I get excited and I tell the saleswoman that is helping me that I want those boots. I imagine that they are the Cole Haan leopard boots that I didn’t buy two years ago and how I have lamented letting them get away.”
1. Dorothea was 100% right on. I took her dream interpretation with me to Igor’s as I knew she was right. He isn’t usually interested what any of my friends think about my dreams but when he heard Dorothea had made an interpretation he clamored to hear it. The truth is that I think Igor is a bit smitten with Dorothea(ever since he heard her first dream interpretation he has had a bit of a soft spot for her).
This is what genius Dorothea said about the dream I wrote about on Monday:
This may be my own tunnel vision here, but I think this is related to the feelings you’ve expressed in the previous posts. To pull in another character from Greek mythology, perhaps you are feeling like Icarus — you are scared that you are flying too close to the sun. You’ve exposed your true (and lovely!) face by giving up your anonymity. You’re feeling good about living in (sunny) Pasadena. You can read these as assertions of your ego: “Hey, look at me, I’m writing this cool stuff that I want the world to see!” (for which the world is better off)! “And I’m going to claim Pasadena as mine, too!” And this makes you vulnerable.
My name is Tracey, aka La Belette Rouge. I am a psychotherapist and the author of Freudian Sip @ Psychology Today. I blog about psychology, my therapy, dreams, writing, meaning making, home, longing, loss, infertility and other things that delight or inspire me. I try to make deep and elusive psychodynamic concepts accessible and funny. For more information, click here .