I call this style of writing DJ fiction, because I feel it’s just like a DJ spinning records. Everything is true, but I mashed together a lot of different eras of my life to create this hybrid form of writing to tell a story about finding yourself.
I walked into the psychologist’s office and slowly sat down. My mind whirled like I was getting strapped into a broken amusement park ride and I wasn’t sure I’d be safe. I always have felt embarrassed and ashamed for being in places like this.
I confronted these same feelings of inadequacy every time I entered this room. How had my life come to this point? Why did I have to talk to a psychologist to sort out my deepest problems? Why couldn’t I figure it out on my own? I was a smart, successful, rich human being at this point in my life. But the question that plagued me was, if I was so intelligent and successful, why couldn’t I figure myself out on my own? How had I lost my life direction so badly that I had to rely on a psychologist’s advice to help me find myself again?
The office door opened, and the psychologist I had met with the week before entered the room. She walked gracefully, and sat at the desk across from me. She was at least five years younger than I was. Her hair was blonde and curled; her eyes were green. Her pupils jumped quickly like a cat’s eyes whenever she scanned the room, looking for new information to absorb. She seemed extremely aware and alert, especially when she was evaluating the people like me who sat in front of her.
“Good afternoon,” She said, opening our conversation. “After meeting with you last week, I have a plan of action I’d recommend you to take.”
I listened closely. I tried to move my eyes as swiftly and confidently as hers, so I could match her intensity. I had gotten to this point in my life being ultra-competitive, and I couldn’t turn off this behavior now. Last time I was here I played the part of a calm listener. But this time I wanted to know the truth.
I interrupted her as she spoke: “Do you think I am crazy? That’s ultimately why I am here. Am I what normal people look like in today’s wold? Or am I crazy? I need to know.”
I watched her absorb the question. She had always reminded me of a shark swimming around her office. The way she moved, and the way her mind aggressively analyzed the information, it was swift, confident, and a little scary. I had always felt like I was also swimming in her office, but like a bait fish, unable to compete with her.
This question clearly shook her. Her confidence disappeared. I was now in control and leading the conversation for the first time. A tiny revelation dawned in my mind: She may have a doctorate in psychology, but a person who is searching for real answers to the deepest questions life has to offer has just as much power as anyone else.
She tried to regain her confidence as she shook her head, no, but I heard her voice tremble:
“I don’t think you’re crazy in the traditional sense. You’re successful in the world society has created. You comprehend laws and social norms, and stay within them for the most part. But I do think you suffer from an abnormal amount of confusion and pain. I believe the source of your pain is from having done everything that’s ever been asked of you in life, but you’re finding you’re still not happy with the life you’ve found. That lack of happiness is what brought you here, and making you feel like you’re walking on the edge of craziness sometimes.”
I inhaled a long deep breath. The fresh air made me feel like I was flying around the world inside of myself. The pictures on her office walls caught my eyes as I soared. They made her look like she’s traveled the world. The Great Wall of China. The Eiffel Tower. She must have traveled a lot in High School or College. Because in my experience, there’s less time to see the world, and enjoy your life, as your career and responsibilities grow. As you get older, like in my life, you feel like you’re slowly dying, and the dreams you once had shrivel and die with you as you age.
Only a few seconds passed between our exchanging of sentences, but it felt like an eternity. The silence made me think about my life, my unhappiness, and my recent fear of craziness. She was right to a certain extent: I’ve been hiding from most people my entire life. I’ve become afraid of myself. For years, I’ve given people an image of what they wanted to see, rather than the person I used to be when I was younger and more hopeful. In fact, I’ve been hiding so long behind this advertised billboard version of myself that I don’t even know if a “real me” exists anymore. That’s it, I realize. That is the craziness I am afraid of: the possibility that a “real me” no longer exists.
The real reason I am here suddenly hits me: I needed to talk to someone I don’t know. Someone who doesn’t have an opinion of me one way or another. I thought maybe a psychologist could tell me if a real human being even existed inside this fake, advertised, billboard version of a human being that I’ve become. Maybe they could help me unlock my true identity from this cage I had created for myself.
I felt vulnerable. I needed help. “What do you think is wrong with me?” I asked her.
I looked so deeply into her eyes that I could almost see the blood droplets sloshing around in her mind as she thought. The fresh blood stimulated her brain cells, and new ideas started flowing into the communication parts of her brain.
“Even though you’ve found a lot of success in your life,” she said, “You sacrificed a lot of yourself to do it. You’ve learned how to accumulate money, power, and status, but you have no idea how to accumulate happiness.”
Her answer stabbed like it was a knife, and I was losing the fight against my own life. She was right: I was rich. Powerful. Respected. I had become the person I thought every American dreamed of becoming, but on my journey to attain that, I felt ashamed that I had chosen success above self. In pursuing only success, I lost my answers to the questions of: What makes me happy? Who am I? Why am I me? Why do I do the things I do?
As I realized all of this, it was like I was fading into the background of the room, and I traveled further into myself than I’d seen in years. Deep, deep inside my soul, I met the child that I once was. I didn’t think anyone would like me, and I didn’t think this child could be successful. So I locked myself away in a dungeon deep inside my soul, and I grew into someone I wasn’t, so that this fake version could be successful and adored by the world.
I approached the cage of this imprisoned child, and I unlocked it. I felt the child I used to be, timidly step into freedom for the first time in years. I felt the child roam around inside my skin, and I felt terrible that I had banished this child away for so long. Even though I thought I was free my entire life, I now realized I had been living inside this dungeon of success trumping self for most of my adult life.
I felt sick. Now crazy, and sick.
I had spent most of my life in a job I hated, desperate to create a successful appearance I hated. I bought things just because I wanted people to want to be me.
In my delusional way of thinking, I believed that living this advertised version of myself was my purpose in life. But this fake version of me didn’t bring me any happiness or fulfillment. This fake purpose of living my life was really a prison that kept me from experiencing the life that the child in me once dreamed about.
I heard the psychologist’s voice echo in the room. I opened my eyes. “You’ve been distant for awhile. What just happened?”
I felt the doors of my personal prison open, and I stepped out of them for the first time in many years.
“For too long, I have tried to find my identity and happiness through other people’s opinions of me.” I said. “That may have been one of the greatest mistakes I ever made because it stole the freedom from me to become the real me.”
“So if success over self does not lead you to the life you want, what way of life will lead you there?” The psychologist asked.
I smiled with a genuine grin for the first time in my adult life. “I need to find out what the child inside of me really wants me to do with the rest of this life. I think that’s the only person who will ultimately know what my real purpose of life is.”
My prison doors swung shut behind me. I was now free, and I would never enter them again. “Thank you, Doctor. Thank you.” I said.
I got up, and left my prison in my past. I started back down the path to find myself again, and I realized this is the only real way to find happiness and purpose that is real.
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Nicely done. Your attention to detail is amazing here!! I know it’s hard as a PF blogger to branch out into different arenas but you have a knack for it! His is a great discussion between wants versus needs that is poorly ignored in today’s society. That inner child within us is often screaming to be heard. Good for you to acknowlede it. 🙂
PS – I read this earlier but plane wifi wouldn’t let me comment!! :). Happy New Year to you and the Mrs!!
It’s pretty awesome that you stopped in to comment, because there’s a few sentences of your writing I found that helped inspire this story. I’ll share what I mean here: I originally wanted to write a story that could define the meaning of “being comfortable in your own skin.” A few different characters swam around in my brain for a few days as I tried to find a plot. I saw a heavy drinker who became sober, or a drug user, who found a better way of life. But then when I started writing, these two friendly people meeting in a psychologists office came to life. The first draft was basically a skeleton of what happens here, but I wanted to flesh it out with more PF psychology.
I was actually reading one of your posts this week which had the inspiring words, “I now see how other’s buy expensive clothes or pay outrageous prices for grooming to feel pretty when the main issue is their confidence. I see how people buy a bigger home or expensive car, but what they are really wanting to prove is their success… but success doesn’t come in the form of a mortgage car payment.” I actually copied and pasted those sentences, and printed them out on the spot, because they inspired me, and I used them to see the mind of the main character talking to the psychologist, so I just weaved that inspiration into what may have been making that person think they may be going crazy.
Read it again, and see if you can spot your own mind and art, helping create the mental makeup of a fictional character afraid that he may be going crazy. In my original story, the person was also a man, only because I am a man. But then I got a message from a woman who said she could totally identify with this character, and was sad to see that the story made the main character as a man since she was a woman and felt this way, so I decided that character should be gender neutral. That character now can really be any one of us, questioning the sanity of our own decisions and paths of life as we pursue the great American dream.
Wow – glad you were able to take something away from what I often perceive my writing to be as emotional and sometimes circular to the point of exhaustion…I guess that is because I live it. I quite like how I sound from your point of view! 🙂 I can definitely relate to this character, whether it be male or female…we are all one and the same. I haven’t had extreme success, but I have always searched for happiness and have often come up short. Psychology/sociology are my favorite subjects to play around with. The human brain is so strong and resourceful it can talk you out of your own happiness if even a fleck of doubt is stirred in. But how to you guard against a single fleck? How do you make happiness be the shield against doubt? I haven’t yet answered these questions but I feel I am getting closer. A big part of it is letting go of outside influences unless they suit your needs. I love to hear everything positive these days but am happy to skip over the negative. It isn’t becasue I am perfect or think any less of anyone elses ideals, it is just because we are bombarded with hate and negative every day that I don’t need to add it directly into my life. I loved reading this and hearing a new perspective from you. At times I feel we all have multiple personalities (not in the bad way) and we need to speak from their viewpoints more often. Nice to see this side of you!
I stumbled upon your site from your purpose website. You are a powerful writer and I can’t wait to read more. 2017 is going to be fun reading your material 🙂
Now we’re really friends! I fist started writing at that site when I first got home to Minnesota four years ago. I used to write about purpose 100% of the time, until I discovered that lifestyle started leading me to wealth, which made me realize my true calling was writing about the path to wealth AND purpose. That revelation this past summer led me to start this site. Wealth Well Done is my home now, and I am EXTREMELY happy here. I am so grateful, and appreciative to have you on my team of friends, friend. Let’s create a lot of fun stuff in 2017!
I think it’s pretty incredible that your psychologist had the willingness to answer your “what do you think is wrong with me” question. Many would answer with “What do YOU think is wrong”.
Kudos to you for accepting that you were leading a rich life, yet acknowledging you needed something more. You had the wisdom to seek assistance and found it. Soul searching is an introspective process but sometimes we need an outsider to look in for us.
Thanks Mrs Groovy. I think the real compliment that you’re giving my writing ability is that I wrote a 100% fictional story, and I made it so life like, that some people may have actually thought it was reality. This is a style of writing I am perfecting I call DJ Fiction. It’s 100% storytelling fiction, but it’s inspired by real life events. In this case, I have talked to a psychologist at one point in my life. I have also questioned my own sanity and path at life at times. I just took all those feelings that I’ve had in reality and turned them into a unique fictional story that I hope people can identify with. Don’t worry I’m not crazy now, and I don’t talk to a psychologist. I am just special, unique, and have a lot of fun writing. All of my posts are 100% true. But when I say that I am writing DJ fiction at the beginning of the post, that just means I’m publishing a parable story I am creating to tell a point. Thanks for stopping in. I am just putting the final touches on tomorrows post. It’s titled: “Overcoming Perfection: Get your Priorities Straight!” And this This is the first sentence on tomorrows post: ” This story shows the pyramid you HAVE TO LEARN to overcome perfectionism and build your wealth!” Make sure you stop in again and check it out tomorrow.
My wife Amanda says hello!
“What parts of American culture make you feel crazy?”
If by “crazy” you mean “angry,” it might be briefer to summarize the parts that DON’T! 🙂
Haha. I can always count on your to be honest @Froogalstoodent. Remember anger is just a feeling that is ultimately telling you, don’t be angry, work to find a better way. That’s what I tell myself at least. It puts the control back into my life to find a better solution than the one that is offered to me by others. That’s the beautiful thing about American culture. You don’t have to take the way that’s offered. It will be harder, but if you want, you can take your own unique ideas and create your own way with them. 🙂