Monday, April 22, 2013

Somnambulist

I need to decide what to take with me and what to leave. Where exactly I'm going doesn't matter so much right now, that will figure itself out along the way; what matters is what I choose to claim as my own from now on- what I want, what I need, and what is no longer serving a purpose.

I went to my hypnotist, Kristin, and together we decided to take an inside out approach. To make changes that will stick, I need to change what I'm composed of, to gently break down old patterns and reorganize my thoughts towards a new goal. I needed to sit down and sift through my thoughts as if my head were a closet and a long winter was drawing towards an end.
I'm half asleep in the big chair in her tiny office in the rain soaked city. I am what they call a somnambulist- I respond very well to hypnosis. When my long winded and genetically predetermined struggle with sleep intensified following my breakup last October, I came to Kristin as an experiment, an indulgence, like a very expensive massage that could result in either magic or fraud.

It was magic. That night was my first night in months without the agony of insomnia, my first morning without the thick, slow-headed, heavy-eyed hangover of sleeping pills.

Completely, unabashedly drawn in, I wrote down everything that I needed help with and I saw Kristen again and again, ticking off the things we'd worked on like a grocery list. We fought shame and procrastination and fears of all sorts and heartbreak and self defeating habits. I kept sleeping. I didn't need to bucket through the Ambien like I'd been doing. Kristin was like a therapist, only she did most of the talking. And she always knew exactly what I needed the outcome of our sessions to be, even when I was stammering and excited and talking in circles.

There is a sudden change after each session, an overnight change, but nothing feels jarring or dramatic; you've been slightly reprogrammed, and suddenly the behavior you exhibited just two days before no longer makes sense to you. It doesn't even interest you. You fall asleep at a normal hour, you stop eating when you're full, you go for a run even in the pouring rain because you know it's going to make you feel better.

Good decisions come easily, and the burden and influence of toxic relationships in your life float away, so easily you barely notice. You study the bars and bars of text messages between you and the boy you were briefly and barely involved with, he's one of those self identified assholes, flippant and rude and constantly disappointing and debasing you, and you scratch your head, wondering why on earth you ever engaged with such a person. You delete his number and go back to making breakfast, or driving, or talking to someone at a dinner party or whatever it is you were doing that did make sense. You delete him from your life without a second thought, without so much as a moment of triumph or self congratulatory spark- you just slap whatever needs slapping, like a mosquito on your leg, and you move on.
When I realized, fuming in the kitchen with the dishes piled up on the counter and the spoons scattered across the floor, that I needed to clear the air of my life, I pulled off the yellow rubber dishwashing gloves and I called Kristin.

Curled up on her reclining chair, I told her about how heavy everything feels, how it takes me forever to leave the house,  and even though I feel buried under stuff I still buy stuff every day.

"Nothing is acute here." I tell her. "I'm not a hoarder, I don't have a shopping addiction and I don't have any social phobias, I'm just pretty pathetic with money, and I can't keep my room clean, I can't even keep sheets on the bed if I'm being totally honest, and I never go to sleep feeling like I've been an award winning employee or friend or daughter or writer or climber or anything."

 I exhale slowly, frustrated at my own in eloquence. "And I eat a lot. When I cook it's healthy, I do a lot of raw stuff, lots of kale smoothies and that trendy stuff, but I'll make like, a whole entire blenderful, enough for five people, but since I live alone I just drink all of it. Yesterday I drank like, three avocados in one day. It's fine, but it's getting really expensive."

(I think about how hard I will laugh about this one day, probably somewhere far from here, on the floor laughing about the time I saw a hypnotist because I drank too much fucking spinach.)

"Also, just in general, I use too many words." 

Kristin is smiling at me, she's bemused, lots of people are bemused by me. But she also is with me on this, my teammate. She doesn't get overwhelmed. She says, "I understand. Why don't we start at the most basic level. Let's start with what you eat."

From now on, you only put something in your body if it makes sense to do so. If you're hungry for food. It doesn't matter if it's healthy or unhealthy, good or bad, bought or made- it does not make sense to put anything inside your body when you don't need to. 
I should point out that I don't have a particular problem with food. I don't have an eating disorder, I'm not overweight, actually I eat really well. But I don't pay any attention to the extras- coffee and alcohol and dinners out, the cost of anything, the reason I'm even buying it. I see something and if I want it, I take it, almost defiantly. I deserve this.

That attitude is an invitation to weight, to extraneous, unnecessary stuff. There is throwing back two glasses of wine to melt the stress of a not particularly stressful day, meeting up for my fourth dinner out in one week, not because I really care to, but because I don't know how to say no thank you. A third cup of coffee because I'm bored. Produce wilting in the refrigerator drawers where I've forgotten about it.

Then there is all the hidden politics of food, the threats and headlines and ubiquitous fear of Monsanto, preservatives and paleo fads and all the insufferable conversations about where you get your protein?

I'd rather eat well and simply and avoid all of that altogether, as easily as stepping over a stream.

After this, says Kristen, all of this will be easy for you. As simple as yes or no. You will recognize when you are hungry, you'll eat and you'll enjoy it, it won't even occur to you to do otherwise. 
The idea, I suppose, is that when you peel back all the extraneous stuff, what you really actually need will be provided, because finally there is some room for it. Room in the house, in your head, in the back seat of your car and in your schedule, and on your hard drive and in your stomach and between your breaths. Places to fill with light, air or time. Or absolutely nothing, if that's what you think you need.

This was my first step in what's shaping up to be some sort of big multifaceted ill-conceived and oddly timed adventure. That and I sold my skis.

22 comments:

Sarah said...

Sold your skis?? That doesn't bode well for you coming back home to the northeast! ;)

I haven't ever considered a hypnotist, but it sounds so interesting!

And I can't wait to see where this life of yours will take you next Lina!! XOXO!

adventurekate said...

I am getting ready to move out of a cottage I have lived in for my last two years of college- graduation is nearing- and I feel the weight of everything I have accumulated since I have been in school. Now, it is time to start fresh, but how do I lighten my load without loosing the memories of my time here? How to hold on by letting go? I'm in the midst of the struggle with the physical stuff (purging!) but the emotional heaviness is still very present. Good luck in your ...trip.

Catherine said...

Hooray for Kristin! That story of the smoothie and talking too much just made me laugh out loud! This is sooo me!!! You should hear what I was telling my therapist... I totally love hypnosis... Actually, my dad practices hypnosis (I told you he is a psychologist, right?) and I have done sessions since I was 10. I hope my PM did not offend you. I really wasn't my intention. Take care!

EmHacket said...

Hmm. I have a couple uggy patterns I would love to change. I'm seriously thinking about hynosis now, Melina! Maybe I'll be a somnabulist too. Btw, following your blog makes me feel we're friends! I'm still going to send in for one of those amazing necklaces. One of these days. Love your style and personality. Also, I want to link this post up with one on patterns that I'm working on for down the line. Cool?

Melina said...

@Em

Links are Always cool.

The necklaces will always be available....

and you never know when we might run into each other in real life, so let's be friends, ey?

Try hypnosis. It can really, really, really help and hey, it can't hurt!

lina

Melina said...

Hey Catherine! Not sure which PM could have possibly offended me, but NO! you sure didn't!

xo

Michelle T said...

I'm bemused by you. :)
I'm also intrigued by the whole hypnotist idea.
Good luck on lightening your load.

Natalie Burke said...

Wow, this sounds amazing. I can totally relate with the eating/buying stuff and feeling like I have way too much stuff. I'm not a hoarder :) Good luck!

EmHacket said...

Yay. Link already posted. I seem to find that posting rather than mulling things over is more fun. Yes, good luck lightening your load. Freedom from the material world is precious...

a.sk said...

The past few weeks it's been like you're writing everything I've been experiencing...so weird yet awesome. Good luck on the next adventure!

Elizabeth said...

"...long-winded and genetically predetermined struggle with sleep..." YEP. I have yet to try acupuncture, and perhaps I should add hypnotist to my list? I've also never found a counselor I clicked with; I get along with just about everyone, but I'm 0 for 4 with counselors. I've been a little twitchy about the organization of my life and house since a breakup in Feb...kind of what you're describing...dreaming of new paint colors and different curtains and reorganizing spaces...get out of my head! ;) Liz

Lis said...

Could you provide your hypnotist's full name? Love your
Blog.

Carey King said...

Hey Melina
Sometimesyou want to send an email, then you realise despite the fact that you've just read the most intimate things about a person you don't actually know them, so super public comment will have to do.

I love reading your blog, being in my 20's its so refreshing to read about a girl in her 20's whose every blog post isnt about where she bought her jeans (not that I don't love fashion blogs) I just love adventure more.

Your post was so great today, mostly because I'm sitting with a half eaten bag of smartie eggs on my desk contemplating my second cup of coffee and reading your blog to avoid the work I can't seem to finish. I'm not saying I wont finish the eggs because of your post, but all of the above just made so much sense.. Lifting off the extra weight you really don't need. Flip this year, seriously I'm giving myself a star for making it through all and being so happy but I never thought to remove the weight of it all.

This is a really long comment, mostly I wanted to say that its nice to finally meet another 20 something who I actually can imagine being friends with:)
#fitgirlsareawesome
:)

Sarah B. said...

"I think about how hard I will laugh about this one day, probably somewhere far from here, on the floor laughing about the time I saw a hypnotist because I drank too much fucking spinach". Ha ha ha yes!

Amy said...

It's so bizarre that I am reading this and feeling sad. This should feel good to read, right?
Thats just me though, I never accept change with open arms, for me or for anyone else. And this feels very change-y.
although, the other part of me is excited to see where and what will be your new adventure!
Also, 3 avocados in one day? Um, ya, here in Revy you would be out like $15 - hahhaa.

Jacki said...

Oh man. This is making me think I need a Kristin, too. So much of what you're writing lately is resonating with me and it makes me a little blue and a little (lot) hopeful for both of us because it seems like sh*t's about to start HAPPENING!

Melina said...

Hey @carey-

Thanks for your comment! Just so you know, you're welcome to email me, I read and respond to every email.

thewildercoast@gmail.com

xo

Gabi said...

i'm a kindergarten teacher reading (and now typing) this while my lil' guys are at lunch ... thought you might get a kick out of that : ) i tried acupuncture for the first time last week and am going in for session two today ... i have miserable acne - i'm almost 35, so BLAH on that - am trying it as a sort of detox ... not quite hypnosis, but sort of relatable ... i say go for all journeys that you can imagine & desire!! okay, i'm going back to organize the cubby area ... XO

Tonya said...

This post fascinated me! I really can relate, although my situation is very different. I recently left a very fundamental belief system, to really no belief at all. However, I am raising 8 children who are somewhat confused by my 180 and I feel like I am spinning most days. Mostly just because I have 8 kids LOL Plus, I over think everything! Hmmm, may look into this hypnotist thing.

Anonymous said...

Wow, you and I are so different. But that's not a bad thing! I started reading your blog because I love adventure and the outdoors and interesting photography. However, I've learned so much more about people and how they view life from reading your blog (and others). You are a thinker and so am I, but from other sides of the brain. I'm all logical and effient and not very emotional or anywhere as creative as you. I'm an engineer. Just wanted to say thanks for sharing your life. Its important to understand how others view things and deal with issues (see, I'm focused on the process!). Anyway, good luck and hope you find a "process" that will lead you to peace!

thejoyofcaitlin.com said...

Wow, this one took me for a ride. Thank you for speaking so openly and honestly about your feelings around food, I can really relate. While my behavior and feelings are somewhat different, I struggle too. Then I feel guilty for struggling when I think there are so many people who don't have that luxury, first world problems, etc. I appreciate the way you state your goal as clearing the clutter to make room for what really matters, even if it's nothing. "The idea, I suppose, is that when you peel back all the extraneous stuff, what you really actually need will be provided, because finally there is some room for it. Room in the house, in your head, in the back seat of your car and in your schedule, and on your hard drive and in your stomach and between your breaths. Places to fill with light, air or time. Or absolutely nothing, if that's what you think you need." Great great stuff!

John said...

Stop listening to witch doctors...