First Posted 08-Sep-2014
I got accused of writing pretty word salads. So . . . these word salads are a symptom of my schizophrenia? Good to know. Can you put some money on my commissary so I can get a new tinfoil hat? My old one is tuned to the Alpha Centauri Top-40 and I can’t change the channel. Also, I’m behind on my study of the Communist Manifesto. I get the audio feed from a Borg Cube broadcasting out of Proxima. And I really miss listening to China National Radio. Thanks. That’ll be great.
Word salads are a game played by some who are inside to get things they need. One reason I quit therapy is that I began to feel like a Rhesus monkey trained by a busker to perform for the staff member. Hey, when you put money on my books, can I get some of those hot peanuts? Those are great. We are going to be great again. I promise you that.
The words are game, meant to manipulate the staff to get what the prisoner wants. There is art & beauty on occasion, but with it is a fair amount of lies, game, cons & fraud. I have been in a prisoner at risk for writing pretty word salads which fail at informing or entertaining and instead, become obfuscation.
Though, I’ve been on the prisoner side of that conversation, where I am accused of not being honest, not being real, with the hidden subtext that the staff member is fishing for a particular answer in a rather codependent way. Or, to be less obtuse, success depends on feeding the right words to the staff member. Which, having been inside and staff having control over the degree of misery while inside, makes the wink & nod game of saying what the staff wants to hear, an important game to master.
Examples. A staff member who frames many things in terms of having been abused/being an abuser and has some history there. A metaphor that relates, maybe: when holding a hammer, many things start to look like nails. I can only write what is on my heart as I do these posts. I may, in the moments that these words accrue in my browser as I create the post, be full of s*#t. I have very little control over what my reader experiences as he or she reads these words. So, sometimes, I get accused of things that are reflective of the reader’s gestalt and only somewhat depictive of mine. A second example: a staff member that is a recovering addict and tends to arrange their narratives and therapeutic practice around the 12 Steps and Recovery. So, the group led by the 12 Step Staffer tend to gravitate toward narratives revolving around addiction and recovery. And the one who gravitates toward abuse will tend to collect prisoners who are fellow travelers.
Good or bad? Neither, I’d say. We all have our ways of narrating the events of our lives up to the moment in which we are telling them. These narratives can be helpful or hurtful. The art is in being conscious of our own narratives and how they affect our behavior and choices. Am I full of s*#t? Maybe. It’s my s*#t, though, something that in the creation, felt real, felt more substantial that pretty word salads of wind and water.
I don’t do therapy anymore because I seemed to be ripping off the scabs of the same old wounds again for the benefit of the therapist. I felt chained to the more painful aspects of my past because that’s where the work was, that’s what could be healed, again, by this new therapist. I got tired of living there, in the darker parts of my personal Valley of the Shadow of Death. I hungered for light, for salt, for a Way of life I could embody.
So, now, when someone who has some training in the methods of secular psychiatry or talk therapy comes at me with a demand to get real, to be honest about my issues, I don’t leap onto the couch and start spilling my guts. I wonder about that someone and what of their lives, of the way they tell their story, would cause them to believe that I need to do that again. I feel the tug on my leash from my busker and yank back. My heart breaks for them a bit because now, having renewed my work learning to live as a disciple of the Way, I realize that they are somewhat lost and reflecting an unhealed narrative still overshadowing the light & salt in their lives.
Pretty word salads? Jingoistic jargony code language overly full of Christian words? Perhaps. Obfuscation protecting me from being real about my issues. Maybe so. My truth, my narrative, though. Real for me in the moments that I write them and if I’m lucky, informative or entertaining for someone else upon reading them. If I’ve done that, been informative or entertaining, my pretty, wind & water word salads are enough. If not, that commissary money will help make me great again. It’ll be huge.