Ambivalence is such an uncomfortable place for us to be. We enjoy certainty and dislike change. And when change happens, we would very much like it to please happen immediately and exactly as planned, ideally with us knowing exactly what and how it will happen beforehand (yes, yes, we know that’s impossible, but like the queen of hearts, “sometimes I’ve thought of at least six impossible things before breakfast”).
So therapy, an endless sea of grey areas and sitting with uncertainty for unspecified periods of time, is often agony for us. At times we insist we cannot go on, but nor can we go back. Stuck in forward motion. Everything a paradox. Loss of control means gaining of control and walking straight towards what every sense screams is DANGER is the only way to remain safe.
It turns out that safety is not running as fast as we can for as long as we can. It’s not fearlessness. Safety is stopping and learning to live with the things we have been running from. Learning to stand still and feel pain. And to be afraid, but do things anyway.
By daring to feel, we slowly learn that no psychological pain can kill us, unaided. No matter how much it feels as though it will. And we learn that all emotions pass in the end, even the ones that feel like they will last forever and always, and tear our insides to shreds as they rip through us over and over again.
Art Journal Sketch Series. Watercolour Pencil on Paper. © Katy Matilda Neo, 2017.