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.

The trial.

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?

I look.

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.

The Fluent Self