5:30 AM and I wake to titles for posts swirling around my brain. Royal Trickery grabs me by the eyeballs and won’t let my lids close back over them. I wonder about that word, “royal.” It suggests power to me. I have just learned that a good trick, played splendidly, changes the course of lives. That’s certainly power. So royal trickery makes sense to me.
It didn’t always, though.
In the early days of serving as a psychotherapist, a colleague shocked me by suggesting that I needed to be more manipulative, more calculating with my clients. She suggested that trickery should be in my arsenal of therapeutic weapons. She says, “You might call it “manipulation”, Deb, but sometimes you have to trick people in order to get their attention.”
“Hogwash” I say.
“No way,” say I with true blue, straight arrow, goody-two-shoes conviction.
“Never,” say I again to make sure my stance is absolute.
I change my mind as years of experience flow under my feet.
Far away from home only last weekend, I miss a ferry and have two hours to wait for the next one. I whip out my seldom used cell phone and call my daughter. My granddaughter answers.
“Oh, good, Gemma, you called right back,” she says.
“Yeah. Aren’t you calling because you got our message? We called you only a minute ago.”
Don’t you love it when stuff like that happens?
“No, Pol, I didn’t know you called. This is soooooo cooool that we knew it was time to talk. But why did you call?
“ I have a friend who wants to commit suicide,” she says mincing no words. “Mom, suggested I call you.”
“What?” I almost shout into the phone. I’m horrified because we’re talking about 11 year olds here.
“Yeah, she just “texted” me. Cut herself about an inch long and a half inch deep. What should I do?”
We talk about lots of options. I remember a “trick” I used to”play.” When a client said directly, “I’m thinking about killing myself” I’d reply, “Good for you!” They’d look at me like I was nuts, and then I could go on with something like: “I’m so glad you’ve finally gotten sick and tired of living how you have been.” Their horrified expression would morph to curiosity.
As if a mighty wind had blown open a long locked door, we could then walk over that threshold and examine what part of them did want to die so the rest could live more fully.
“Listen,” he says, “You’re not supposed to die. You’re old enough now that part of you needs to die so that you can have a big life. You think all of you needs to die. All we have to do is figure out which part of you needs to die and we’ll throw that off the bridge. Then you’ll cross the bridge and keep going.”
Sometimes, when we’re curled tightly and all bottled up, we need to let someone else know we’d like their help, an option the snake doesn’t have as it pulls off and wiggles out of its too tight, too dry skin.
Your stories here might help someone else, you know?