Change without a Sound

My narrator doesn’t have to make the same mistakes I do. Perhaps he learns from what I do in anxious moments when what feels most pressing is that I do something, anything, to relieve myself of the tension that I imagine threatens my mental survival. If only life in the imagination were so simple. I imagine the two of us alongside each other, each one lying on a couch, struggling to say whatever comes to mind. Is there anyone seated behind us, listening? This last sentence might suggest the source of much of my daily anxiety. Am I alone in my mind? Who says this, me or my narrator, or both of us simultaneously? We’re in this therapeutic process that I call my writing together, aren’t we? Writing these paragraphs is therapeutic for me. The image of him on a couch alongside me changes things in my mind. How might my narrator and I learn from each other? I don’t think my words on the couch create change in him. Something inside my narrator, who might be part of my unconscious mind, changes before or after words, or both. And in a mysterious way, when he changes I change, and vice versa. We impact each other in a nonverbal way. I imagine that I say all of this on the imaginary couch, and my narrator, alongside me, experiences my words in his body instead of in his mind. Mental work happens later. In this metaphor for how my mind works, my narrator and I have the same psychoanalyst, who listens to both of us simultaneously. Maybe I feel listened to when I write my paragraphs, which becomes therapeutic, and sometimes leads to mysterious inner change.

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