Writing a memoir (which I’m doing as part of therapy/coaching) while studying TSK, is exceedingly strange, but also one of the most interesting things I’ve ever done. I’m fascinated by the way I reach for something that at first seems so tangible and sure, only for it to wiggle and change the closer I get. Events that have preoccupied me, spinning into some mechanism that ongoingly has shaped my view—of the world, the past, future, and the characters of other people—often aren’t what I thought they were. Or, at least I can’t be sure. Layers appear.
There is the first level story, full of beliefs about motivations and choices, but inquiry invites the second level in, which questions that story. This leaves open possibilities and interpretations the character in the first level of the story refuses to see. The second layer asks “What if it isn’t, though?”, “What didn’t I see?” Or, S’s famous “What else is true?”
Something I’ve been working out over the last 3 years in particular (and part of why I decided to go through therapy at all), is that this inquiry level shouldn’t necessarily negate the straight story level. The story still matters. Even if the character doesn’t really exist and the events didn’t happen, the experience has some value. The linear story may not be strictly true, however that doesn’t mean one shouldn’t try to tell it (also doesn’t mean one should).
The value may just be in learning to allow stories and ‘me’ to be non-linear and even nonsensical to so-called others. The attempt in and of itself stirs joy, especially in those constricted moments when my character insists on believing there are no ways out of what can seem an unfairly fixed struggle. It may be time to actively challenge the idea that linear stories and formulas are what is being asked for at all.