This is my Therapy

Why do I write?

A HUGE reason why is too process what I see, what I think, how I feel…

And The Gay Adventures of Peter Pan is my therapy. I project myself onto on my characters (hopefully in a healthy way), and allow them to act out my own unhealthy habits. My insecurities, impulses and secret thoughts…

So I thought I’d share some of what I work through with my characters:

Captain Hook – I love Hook and find him the easiest to write for. Having Hook take his denial to an extreme (literally burying his head in the sand or refusing to believe there’s a boulder in his path), allows me to see and express my tendency to plug my ears and hum when there’s something I “don’t want to know.”

Hook allows me to express my denial, my fearful choices, my lack of self-esteem, my tendency to cling to the past and over-analyze, my desire to be seen in a positive light even if I’ve done something incredible stupid, and the list goes on and on and on.

Hook is a way for me to view how past experiences can strongly influence current life decisions. The reason Hook’s choices are often so backwards is because he’s forgotten his past and therefore re-written his memories to be what he wished they were.

brain

Peter Pan – Like Peter, I often wish I could just run around and climb trees. He’s a good way to connect with the id and stay in the moment.

But he also provides an outlet for the part of myself which tries to wall off my emotions and unwanted thoughts. His strategy? If it makes you feel bad, block it out.

I was cut off from my emotions for years and only recently began opening up more and practicing my vulnerability. I think it also helps to write for someone who’s such an extreme. In comparison, I feel a little more grounded.

John Darling – John is my geeky and socially anxious side. He doesn’t fit in at school (and neither did I), but he doesn’t know how to “fix” that. When I write for John I get to let out the part of myself that wishes I were more easy-going, but in the end wants to control everything. “If I could just control myself more, then I could be more easy-going!!!!!”

John has to suffer through everything he hates so he knows he can survive it. A large part of social anxiety comes from mental exaggeration. You go over and over the same thing in your head and create a story to go along which can make even the tiniest thing seem insurmountable:

A pause in a conversation is the scariest thing in the world. And don’t even get me started on public speaking…

Conceptual image of human brain in colorful splashes

Smee – Smee is my shadow (the part of myself I’m not in touch with). Smee gives and gives with no expectations. He trusts people implicitly.  I have trouble trusting people, and learned to give so I could get something in return.

Writing for Smee, I feel like I’m finally beginning to understand what it feels like to view the world through a lens of love and trust. And I have to say, it feels pretty good. It’s not like Smee never gets hurt or taken advantage of, but his general experience is joyful and my general experience is one of anxiety and suspicion.

***

I’m basically “writing what I know,” but metaphorically.  I’ve never lived on a tropical island or been a pirate captain, and I haven’t yet learned to fly. Instead, I’m writing from my many years of experience of being imperfect.

A special thanks to my anxiety, depression, and negativity for being both my inspiration and an endless source of new ideas!

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