I’ve wanted to rename this blog for a long time. Shrink Unwrapped referenced my day job, which I’m not writing about here. Does being a shrink inform these posts enough to justify the title? Is being a shrink essential to who I am?
Who am I? I can’t seem to find the sweet spot answer. The Me That Knows says, What’s the dif? The Me That Craves keeps falling for cons conflating form with function.
Being a psychiatrist is not neutral, like say, a librarian or plumber. Along with the competence that results from life and death responsibility, the role carries a heady perfume of Answering The Call and Doing Good. I do valuable work; therefore, I am valuable. Very seductive.
There’s the momentum of thirty years, my adulthood.
The work is consuming. As residents working hundred-hour weeks, we joked: The longer you stay, the longer you stay. As if that would change when the residency ended.
The more you know, the more there is to know. The more people you help, the more there are to help. To be a healer is to be given access to infinity.
My mind wonders, Should I ground in that? Merge with that? My body shudders: Moth to flame! Danger! Danger! Guess not.
Though I wish I could go deep in one thing for a lifetime, like Donald Westlake wrote or Georgia O’Keefe painted, it’s not my way. I am given to enthusiasms. Decades long enthusiasms. So I don’t flit. But I do keep adding. And with each addition, I ask anew: Is this It? Is this Me?
Something in me remains persistently befuddled. Doctor: Who, me? Writer: Really? And just last week: “You’re a dancer!” I am?
This started in kindergarten. It’s the teacher’s fault. She handed me a sheet of paper and said, like she was giving me a present, “This is your name!” I got all excited. I decoded the squiggles into individual letters: D a n i e l a…??? Dismay swamped me. The letters floated blackly on the whiteness of the page. This is Me???
Before, my name and I were one. After, two. There was no going back. I became, for better and worse, self conscious.
Loss of innocence aside (It had to happen. Oh, well.), names are useful. As a symbol of a thing’s essence, names specify, speed and smooth social transactions. When picking up a pizza, going through airport security, or hearing Hubby bellow for me from outside the house, Daniela gets my attention far better than Hey You! And like clothes, names shield from weather, and drop hints about the values and agenda of the wearer.
Which brings me back to the blog rename. As a title, Shrink Unwrapped was dressy. I admit to a pang letting it go. But it would be easier to get up from the floor and dust off my butt wearing something loose and comfortable. So, for now, Plan Be.
"Flowing water never stagnates, and the hinges of an active door never rust." ~Confucius
PHOTO CREDIT: Dr. Ignatius M. Skinny
So many books, so little time. Frank Zappa
Summer, fall, winter, spring, the season makes no difference: I read daily year round. If anything, more in the winter, when short days, long nights and weather help push back the world’s demands.
When asked why he kept his home stocked floor to ceiling with cases of liquor, W.C. Fields said, “Once, during Prohibition, I was forced to live for days on nothing but food and water.” Substitute books for booze, and you’ve got me.
But I have it better than Fields. Because a drink— no matter how good— is used up once drunk.
While a book, if it’s great, just begins to dish up its treats on first read. Alas, great books are rare; that’s why they’re great. I hoard those, not to collect, but to re-read, again and again and again.
Which do I love more, the first read, or a re-read? Are they comparable? Does it even matter? There’s so much to love about reading.
For Debbie: This is her fault.
Want balanced advice from ShrinkU? Too bad. You get lame jokes only.
Dear ShrinkU, I woke up blue this morning. What should I do? Yours bluely
Dear Blue, Shower.
Dear ShrinkU, I’m always right and yet, a colleague calls me "The Claw.” What’s wrong with him? Wronged
Dear Wrong Question, Consult a vet. Declawing is affordable.
Dear ShrinkU, This North Country weather makes me crazy. Cold yesterday, warm today. What next? South of the Border
Dear SOB, The weatherman says: Hot tamale.
Dear ShrinkU, Every time I have a guest over, my poodle humps her Pooh bear. I’m so embarrassed. How do I stop them? Blushing
Dear Blush, Tell them to take it to the bedroom. Unless that’s where you’re entertaining.
Dear ShrinkU, What do belly dancers and roller derby dames have in common? Richard
Dear Dick, Estrogen. You’re welcome.
Dear ShrinkU, I used to be round-shouldered and organized. Exercise straightened the slump, but now I'm all discombobulated. What the—?
Dear What The, You’re bent out of shape.
Dear ShrinkU, Here’s a toughie for you. I’ve lost 200 pounds. How did I do it? Weight Of World Off
Dear WOW, Easy. You got a divorce.
Admit it, you want to know how low we'll go. Send us a Dear ShrinkU via the Comment link below. When the groaners pile up like a multi-car crash, we’ll post them.
ShrinkU: Visit our campus in Wry, corner of Ham and Cheese.