Note: If this post makes no sense, which it probably won’t, go read this one.
That post also makes no sense but it kind of sets the stage for this one. No pun intended. Since it also has a deus ex machina and confetti, it’s fairly awesome.
One more thing. “Senegor” = defense attorney.
I got a summons the other day.
To the internal court of working-stuff-out.
As usual, I was being called into the division of unresolved resentment, hurt and related stuckification.
I didn’t want to go.
In fact, I may have thrown a smallish hissy fit because you know what, I didn’t really have time for it.
But one of the longest bits in the Book of Me is pretty emphatic about how taking time for destuckifying makes everything else go more smoothly.
So what are you gonna do?
Procrastinate for a while. Screw around at the Twitter bar. And then show up.
The way inner trials work isn’t really what you’d expect.
For one thing, no one’s on trial.
That’s because there’s no such thing as being guilty. Because guilt is not allowed at court.
I mean, you can’t forcibly keep it out. Obviously. But when it shows up, everyone at court drops everything to acknowledge and consciously interact with it until it dissolves into nothingness.
And then the janitor mouse comes and sweeps up any guilty residue and we all applaud.
Not having guilt or having to worry about being judged makes the whole thing better.
Yup. There’s no judge. Not really. And no one you could properly call a defendant.
Just the two sides. Or however many sides are involved. And the witnesses.
Seriously. What’s this about?
I sat myself down in the gigantic throne, smoothed my skirts, adjusted my tiara.
Me: Your Honor.
The Senegor: Your Honor.
We all call each other Your Honor here. It’s fun, most of the time, but it also makes things completely confusing.
Me: So. Who are you defending today? Aside from me, of course.
The Senegor: Who do you see right here?
It’s me. I’m twenty six years old. On the red couch in my tiny apartment in Florentin. Putting out a cigarette. Trying not to cry.
Me: Aw. Poor thing. That was a hard time. What are you defending her from?
The Senegor: Is it true, Your Honor, that lately you have been telling your various internal parts-and-aspects of yourself that things are going to be okay?
Me: I’ve been trying. Yeah. I mean, that’s correct, Your Honor. Is there a problem?
Things will be okay.
The Senegor: My client feels very strongly about this. We cannot have you or anyone else making this kind of assurance to the future selves of my client, Your Honor.
Me: What’s this about?
The Senegor: Do you or do you not remember telling her at the time that things would be okay?
Me: I did say that, probably. I wasn’t really sure what to say.
The Senegor: And were things “okay”? I mean, I love you, Your Honor. I’m just not convinced that this was necessarily the correct strategy to have taken. She’s feeling really upset because she thinks you lied to her.
Me: Ohmygod. I was just trying to help her get through the hard.
The Senegor: What I understand is that things did not get better. I mean, they did —eventually — but for the next six months or so, they just got progressively worse.
She doesn’t get the job. She loses the apartment. She loses all her money. She loses her friends. She ends up with nowhere to live and no place to go. And that’s just the beginning. Can we really call that “things being okay?”
Me: You’re right. You’re absolutely right. Things were not okay.
Faith. Honor. Trust. Stuff like that.
Me: May I remind you, Your Honor, that this was an especially shitty time? And that you and I were both unable to provide comfort or reassurance in any form?
The Senegor: You’re right. You’re absolutely right. We didn’t know what to do.
Me: And things are different now.
The Senegor: Things are different now.
Me: You know what me-from-then needs? A sense of what things are changing for the better.
The Senegor: You know, I think that might help.
I think about it for a while.
Me: Maybe we can infuse her life with things like faith, honor, trust, love, comfort … so that when she’s ready for them, they can be there waiting for her. That way we don’t have to make promises we can’t keep.
The Senegor: It’s worth a shot, Your Honor.
Me: You rock, Your Honor.
I talk to myself. A lot.
Me: Permission to approach the bench. Granting it to myself. And permission to address myself. I mean, my past self. Granted. Good.
And then I talk to me-from-then, who won’t look at me. Just like then-me who was surrounded by icicles.
Me: Oh, sweetpea. I wish so much I could wave a magic wand and make stuff better for you. Can I tell you some things?
Me-from-then doesn’t say yes. But she doesn’t say no, either.
So I go on:
My love. I was wrong to say that things were going to be okay. Your hopes were raised and dashed so many times. So much hard.
And you turn into someone who is tough as nails from all that hard. I’m not saying it’s worth it. Just that you get a lot of strength from it.
And later on, there comes a time when you need to add things to those resources of strength.
The time will come to learn about stuff like faith. And safety. And trust. And timing.
Because you will have a different relationship with yourself and your stuff. And you will know in a deep, grounded, beautiful way that things are going to be okay. And they will.
This knowing does not negate your pain. It does not contradict your experience. It is a new thing that gets to co-exist with what you know.
You are allowed to have your pain. And you are allowed to have your anger and resentment and hurt. And we can still have this new thing of knowing and trusting and belonging.
Things get loud. And then quiet. And then there’s popcorn.
The Senegor: Your Honor, can you offer my client some more reassurance that she was doing the best she could with the tools she had at the time?
Me: Certainly, Your Honor. That is the opinion of this court.
The Senegor: Then I think we’re done here. Are you going to write about this?
Me: Well, I guess I could turn it into a blog post …
Shout-ey voice: Why would you do that? What’s wrong with you? Why would you write about this? This is all a waste of time. And anyway, there’s no point. Nothing can ever really change.
Me: Objection! That’s one of my monsters speaking. It’s trying to make me feel guilty, Your Honor.
Everyone: Hub hub hub hub hub.
Me: There will be no guilt in the court! We need to go talk to it and find out what it needs.
And so we did. And then the janitor mouse came. And then there was much rejoicing. And popcorn.
I wish I could have such a vivid internal drama.
.-= Eric Normand´s last post … Dance of Shiva while waiting for tea =-.
Oh, beautiful, this Court of You! Thank you for sharing your process, Havi. I love the ways in which you’re gently, lovingly moving all of your selves into the life you want, infused with the qualities of faith and trust, safety and comfort, love and belonging.
Bringing all of your selves home.
You are so brave for sharing your process!
It was incredibly inspiring to read and it resonated pretty deeply with me. And my other “me’s”.
I have Dissociative Identity Disorder and am constantly having to have similar talks with a certain alter.
The gentleness and love with which you handled your past-self was so beautiful it made our eyes get misty.
Here’s to healing, comfort, and faith. <3
.-= Kai´s last post … Building a blanket fort takes time. =-.
I think this kind of internal storytelling, whether it be a Court of You, an internal monologue, a journal entry, or a letter to one’s self, is a powerful healing tool. (At least I know it has been for me!) I hope other people give it a try after reading your post.
.-= Michelle´s last post … Monday Mapping: What I’m Working On This Week =-.
I so want a janitor mouse.
.-= Riin´s last post … Woohoo! =-.
I love this post. I love it! Funny, moving, kind. Room for all those parts of you, of us to show up and be given their rightful attention.Totally makes sense to me anyhoo. huuuge thanks for your supportive Sunflowery words earlier in the week here. I was moved and thankful!Words that warm and hold.
.-= Leila Lloyd-Evelyn´s last post … I LOve to FEeL HEArd DON’T YOu? =-.
Hey you guys.
@Riin – A janitor mouse is a Very Useful Thing, yes. Everyone should have one.
@Leila – mwah!
Hugs all around.
I continue to be astounded by your internal process.
Astounded, I say.
(For the most positive possible definition of “astounded”.)
.-= Chris Anthony´s last post … On adulthood =-.
My Sideshow Freaks are now wandering around the fairgrounds, muttering meaningfully about Courts of Private Opinion. They want to know if they can set one up on their own, without Permission from the Ringmaster.
I’ve told them they can set it up, but not use it. Yet.
Meanwhile, one of them has gleefully installed a Blinding Light of Police Interrogation. They’re taking turns sitting on the Witness stand, being FLASHED, alternately pretending to have their memories wiped (ala Men In Black) and yelling BRIGHT LIGHT BRIGHT LIGHT (ala Gremlins).
At least they’re having fun. For now. But I fear we’re going to need a lot of popcorn by the time they’ve finished mangling this concept.
Janitor Mouse For The Win!
I like at the end when you call out the monster. Since I’ve read the monster coloring book I’ve been doing the exact same thing!
First I hear the voice and I reflect for a moment and then I say (inside my head) “It’s only a MONSTER!”. And I feel so much better! It’s almost kind of fun except for the part before where I almost believe the thing being said. 🙂
Fabulous post. And perfect timing as usual. Thanks!
Funny I never entertained the career of “court jester” until now…hell, I’d even settle for the role of bailiff!
Thank you Havi.
I used to go through something similar daily but it has started weaning back to about every few weeks. The wisest thing somebody told me two years ago was that things will be okay but probably not tomorrow just hang on for the ride until it arrives.
.-= Deb´s last post … Getting Things Done vs Making Things Happen vs Forcing Solutions =-.
Hmmm. I had a similar experience talking to my 3-year-old me just last week. She likes to pretend she’s a monster, so I learned to take her out of the costume and have her crawl into my lap for a cuddle.
I love the idea of a court with no judge and no guilty party.
And I hate that “everything’s going to be OK” thing unless I ask to hear it. Sometimes I ask my husband to tell me those exact words when I’m mired in hard. The tricky thing is believing that the hard will be over without demanding a timeline for it.
.-= lynn @ human, being´s last post … Mother’s Day in Pictures =-.
I’m wondering what happens if you let a crack team of specialist Heinzelmännchen loose in your psyche to clean and polish and make everything clean and orderly?
It was the Janitor-Mouse that made me wonder.E
Thank you, I love how eloquently each part speaks to the other. One of the best things about being alone is bursting out laughing while reading and not having anyone look at me oddly. I laughed at the granting permission to speak to myself and approach the bench. It’s delightful. I’m so glad you don’t listen to your monsters and share your process so generously. I feel hopeful hearing about your experiences and how gently you interact with your different paths.
OMFG, I just cried for my 27 year old self while reading that. She and I seriously need to have a talk.
This is the best thing I’ve read all week, Havi. And I’ve read a lot.
Thank you. xo
.-= Meg´s last post … Janey Loves Her Daddy =-.
Havi, this is great. I’m currently reading your Procrastination Dissolve-o-Matic–slowly because that’s the only way my mind will let me–and I am learning to love me. I need to love my past-me’s too. I’m sure I can name a past-me (or three) that need hugs and love.
I think the idea of “everything will be fine” is always true–it usually just takes longer than we want at the time we’re telling ourselves. I think some of my past-me’s would be proud of where I am now–some of them, maybe not so much, but then I’ve changed a LOT in the past ten years.
Thanks, Havi. I always look forward to your posts.
.-= Kari Wolfe´s last post … Self-confidence and Bootcamps! with Leo Babauta and Mary Jaksch =-.
Thank you for this, Havi! I am often very aware of all the younger selves who hang around with me, and I do try to listen to them, and to encourage them to listen to me. Oh, yes, and I definitely have an inner Senegor as well, though I didn’t know the term until you introduced it to me today.
.-= Kathleen Avins´s last post … Still here =-.
I love living in the HaviNation…
Three-year-old me (Lucy) and eight-year-old me (Sarah) are very happy and excited that they followed this conversation with no problem. Or at least Sarah did and she explained the confusing parts to Lucy who mostly just wanted to say hi to the mouse (and Selma!)and have a popcorn.
They like you a lot. And they send hugs.
That was so beautiful, it left me speechless. (Well, almost. Not so speechless that I couldn’t type that it left me speechless.)
.-= Melissa Dinwiddie´s last post … Your Bliss is your responsibility—don’t shut it off! =-.
Love this. Feel ouchy for that Florentin-you. My cast shall all call each other Excellency when speaking directly, and refer to each other in the third person as The Distinguished Delegate from [the Time All Your Roommates Kicked You Out], etc.
Possibly spent too much time at the UN.
Thank you for sharing this.
.-= Sandra´s last post … The Hard, The Quality and The Creamy =-.
I enjoyed todays courtroom drama!
Thanks for sharing that with us.
Also I wanted to tell you that
I love, love, LOVE my monster coloring book!
I’ve had an interesting reaction, one of my monsters has started singing nonstop! Silly rambling songs about silly random things, oh and giggling, lots of giggling. I think he really enjoyed seeing himself on the pages, and thought himself a handsome bloke!
Three cheers for happy monsters!!!
Thank you for being you. Thank you for being brave and for sharing you. Thank you for helping without trying and for trying without helping. I appreciate you.
Thank you so much for all that you share on this blog.
I just acquired my Monster Coloring Book (deluxe), because you use exactly the same language for monsters that I do. I’d gotten as far as “you can’t just kick their asses, you’ll have to negotiate and address what they’re not feeling safe about” but then I didn’t have any SKILLS for that, so I’d been stuck at that point for years. YEARS.
I managed to find a small enough monster to talk to last night, and we had a little talk about why it’s so desperately life-and-limb important to the monster that I call people on the phone whenever I’m out by myself. It’s not interested in moving yet, byt we talked, and I felt honestly moved to give it a hug, and then we called my mom.
Your Honor, in the words of Smokey Robinson, I second that emotion.