A Client's Growth: A Story of Vulnerability and Courage
Hello again and happy December! Besides the hustle and bustle that is this time of year, I realize that this is also a time for deep reflection on the year that is almost coming to a close. The holiday season is often a busy time for us all, with shopping lists, holiday dinners, and working more than recuperating; it's fair to say this time of year is one that requires a little bit more dedication to self-care than we need during the other 11 months of the year. As a therapist, the holiday season is also a busy time for fitting in client appointments and ensuring my client's feel supported for what may be a triggering time of year. Although we all view this time of year in different shapes and forms, I was challenged to do some reflections and deep thinking on my own. I often find myself turning to my journal during times of reflection, and I usually encourage my clients to do the same. It is through our writing that we often find ourselves in new ways or express our deepest held emotions. Letting go of these emotions and long-held fears can be scary and uncertain, but it is through this reflection that we often find the most growth in ourselves.
Looking back on 2019, I can say it has been a year of craziness! There have been moments of growth, moments of personal change, and moments of realizing my purpose here on Earth. Although this year has taught me a lot about myself through my experiences, my first year as a therapist in private practice has also been enlightening in terms of what I have learned from my clients as well. As a therapist, I am fortunate enough to say that in my experience thus far, I learn as much from my clients, as my clients may learn from me. I like to view the therapeutic relationship as one of teamwork, balance, and working together towards a common goal...YOUR EVERYDAY HAPPINESS. Life happens, stress happens, and we are constantly living in a state of flux. Our sessions, much like our lives, are ever-changing. These sessions give me a glimpse into the lives of others on a level not many human beings have the privilege of witnessing. In looking back on this past year, I can honestly share my deepest gratitude for all the people I have worked with and continue to work with, in the year to come.
As part of my role as a therapist, I enjoy bringing value to my client's personal strengths and talents to enhance their therapy on a higher level than just chatting about the tough stuff. In a recent session, a client of mine shared that in her recovery from an eating disorder, she would use poetry to express herself, her deepest fears, heaviest emotions, and aspirations of hope. I had the pleasure of being a one-woman audience as she read her poems aloud for the very first time in our session. It was a beautiful moment for her and I, as this moment taught me so much about human suffering and human growth. Those lessons are not gained by reading a textbook or researching treatment methods and modalities; these lessons are gained by listening, being present, and truly caring for the personal experiences of the person sitting across from me. My client opened her heart and soul to the therapeutic experience; a task that involves great vulnerability and strength. I wanted to honour her courage and share her words with you today. Please take a moment to read this beautiful compilation of words and reflect on what they mean to you during this season. Morgan, thank you for your bravery, willingness to be vulnerable each and every session, and for sharing your story through your words. It's an honour to share your work for the first time on my platform.
FLIGHT ON CROOKED WINGS
What is this life worth living
When your own skin makes you crawl?
Of climbing up a daunting mountain,
If in the end you know you’ll fall.
When I speak, nobody hears me;
My screams come out muffled and get lost.
So I found a way to numb the pain,
Caring less what it would cost.
Part of me knew from the beginning,
That it could be my end—
But we’ll all go down together:
Myself and I (my only friends).
See, I’ll know when I need to stop,
Before it becomes too late.
I am in complete control.
I will seal my own fate.
This has all been a long time coming,
Since I was too young to know
How to guard my innocence,
That had unravelled from its bow.
But that’s all in the past today,
All I have is here and now
To forget about those yesterdays,
If in the end, you know you’ll fall.
As I watch the numbers drop—
I tell others not to worry:
I told you I’d know when to stop!
You warn me that I’m looking tired,
That I have lost far too much weight—
But your concern inverts into a compliment,
Serving as the monster’s bait.
Many see my wayward progress,
Not knowing this is just the start—
(Only a few bricks have been laid
On this wall around my heart).
I spit as you try and block me,
Through the clutter in my head;
And despite of all that’s killing me,
I think I’ll hate you instead.
For my distaste for those who stop me,
Still compares hardly in the end,
To the disdain that’s scratching at my soul:
For myself and I (my only friends).
I look into the mirror,
Pale face blushing with disgust:
The reflection makes my fist clench,
Knowing if I could only just
Let you see myself through these eyes,
Placed above my hollow cheeks.
Above the mouth that food won’t enter.
Above the grinding of my teeth.
If you could see yourself through this fog,
I’m certain you would understand
That I gave up before I started:
It was never really in my hands.
There’s no need to try and save me—
I have already been saved.
At least that’s what it tells me,
As I falter, and begin to crave:
The smell of fresh cut grass outside,
The sun that used to tan my skin,
(Before I saw the dirt on it,
And knew the tainted never win).
So I surrender to the darkness,
A cold blanket of my very own;
I have full reign within it,
To converse with rabid thoughts, alone.
Sometimes, my heart, it skips a beat—
But one is nothing right?
Surely it will all be worth it
If I keep up this good fight.
I have always pushed the limits,
They say I’m doing it again.
People have started using “if”
In places they should be saying “when”.
Still this does not deter me,
In fact it encourages my goal:
I will use your words in spite of you!
And dig myself a deeper hole.
I stand up from my righteous bed,
And everything is black.
My whole body, pins and needles,
Resists the desire to fall back.
My heart it skipped two beats this time—
Why should I give it a second thought?
For it has only caused me trouble,
Broken before it was even bought.
Nightfall becomes my alibi,
Here I fade into my dreams.
A place to escape my gaunt reality,
That is bursting at the seams.
With words been left unspoken,
Secrets buried, mine to keep—
Flirting with the nothingness
I can’t even find through sleep.
Each time the daylight shakes me,
From my nightmarish revere
I am taunted by the distant fire
That still burns inside of me.
Still, I choose to ignore it—
In pursuit of happiness unknown;
Aching to fill the void inside,
Beyond the skin and bones.
My heart it skipped three beats this time
Waiting for the stars to come.
I am the lonely soldier
Who found my song, but not my drum.
I take one deep breath, ignore it—
Twilight, will help the panic fade;
But drifting I sense something different,
Here in my sweet Cimmerian shade.
It does not take long to notice,
What has caused this throbbing change:
It’s the minacious light inside of me:
Poised and vibrant, in close range!
Reflecting off translucent apathy,
Its beams reach farther than I’d thought;
Highlighting stark, exhausted rubble,
Of my untidy battles fought.
An unwelcome surge of vision,
(Climbing over heaps and piles)
I found only one structure standing,
At this tip of many miles.
Quite regal and quite sturdy,
At attention those walls stood—
Walls far thicker than a castle’s!
All for the sake of damaged goods.
As my eyes consume the barrier,
Behind which, scarce petals cling
I spot a hole with one brick missing:
Piercing the imperfection stings.
“How could I have missed it?
I was so careful as I built!”
Then curiosity gets the best of me,
My head falls with a slow, defeated tilt
Allowing me to gaze
Into the abyss of my mistakes,
Trapped in this vast tunnel of clarity
I squirm to will myself awake.
But as consciousness repels me,
(Fastened tight inside this trance)
I peer inside the hole I left:
To see a million snowflakes dance!
Each one so very different—
Oh how delicate they flew!
All stopped precisely as a petal fell
And as I watched, I knew
That the hole was not a defect,
No, it was my last chance,
To brush the dirt off my shoulders,
And for my future, take a stance.
The crystals on each snowflake,
Gleam with possibilities not lost;
Realizing the shelter wrapped around me
Still houses the dreams that I had tossed
Down on the ground behind me—
They’re neither trampled, nor disgraced!—
I am encompassed by this moment
As I stare death in the face.
With just one petal remaining,
It’s grip is threatening to give;
A weary tear erodes my soul,
And I know I am meant to live!
For that tear became a snowflake,
(Dissolved so sweetly on my tongue)
I kicked out one brick, then another:
A million bells were rung!
And in tune with their tolling,
Burst an inspired, unchained song;
Notes weaving amongst the fragments,
That sat unclaimed for far too long.
My heart did not skip a beat today.
I found my drum to keep my time.
Petals of vibrant, neon colors
Are no longer sooty from the grime.
For that’s all in the past today,
All I have is here and now,
To forget about those yesterdays,
And instead remember how
To count my blessings through the blizzard,
That introduced me to the hope of spring,
And showed me nothing is impossible
As I take flight on crooked wings.
© Morgan Leone
To book a session with me before the holiday season, please contact me directly by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or using the New Client Waitlist Form on the homepage of this website. I am now offering phone and video sessions during the holidays!