I may have experienced worthwhile insight, thanks to my friend Bruce. And I’ve a huge new love: chef Massimo Bottura.
A few posts back (here), I pasted an article about “the holistic voice doctor” who helps people impacted by emotion-based voice problems that resonated with me. I have been sharing it with friends and a couple of them have made the same assumption. They believe that my voice problem betrays a subconscious desire for attention. I don’t agree with them.
On June 14th 2015, my show closed with a matinée performance. On Thursday June 18th, reflecting back on the experience, I wrote this in a post on this blog: “I found it hard/sad to accept that my motivation in doing many of the things that I have done in my life was to get attention. I no longer want to do things for attention.” You can see it in the blog archive.
Also, this is what I wrote in an email in February: “The worst part about my new hobby [cooking/baking] is that people feel compelled to make compliments about it. Their compliments make me uncomfortable because they make me feel like I have done all the work for their compliments and I haven’t.
“I don’t cook for anyone in the way I don’t write for anyone now (except on my blog). Now, all my writing is just for me. I write for a couple of hours each morning and often I erase it the next day. I just love starting my day writing for a few hours. It has been a life-long hobby or my source of income.
“And now baking is like that. I love the process. But I cannot eat all I make. If I want to cook, I have to have friends over. If I want to bake, I line up neighbours to take the food. But I wish they did not feel compelled to make fussy compliments.”
I am convinced that my voice problem is not about getting attention. I have many other means to do that. But I do believe, more and more, that Bruce’s article is right about emotional issues — but what emotional ones?
I have had voice issues for thirty years. Over the years, my periods of voice loss have gotten longer and worse. The problem has become serious in the past three years. At one point a while back, I wondered if I might have throat cancer. Don’t we all do that? And part of me thought, "I hope I do. It will finally be over."
“It will finally be over.” That is what I said to myself. It was kind of chilling.
Almost immediately, I wondered what "it" was and decided I was sick of my past. I was tired of the burden of my own history and my obsession with my past. And I was tired of some secrets so I wrote my play about my past and put it on in 2013. I thought it might purge me of my emotional burden and it did, I think, to some extent. The fact that the story got bought as a screenplay certainly helped boost my self esteem.
I have always felt unwanted. My birth mother’s desire for independence has felt, all my life, like a personal rejection. That is likely due to the failure to bond with my adoptive parents. My mother’s psychiatrist characterized my adoption as “custodial.” I asked him what “custodial” meant. “Loveless” he said.
They were fucked up, so it’s no surprise to me that I am. But I have tried to make the most of my life. I’ve done things I am proud of and, more importantly, I’ve enjoyed terrific friendships. Since retiring, however, and since abandoning travelling and creative projects, I spend most all my time alone.
Feeling alone; that is more likely the emotional issue at the heart of my voice problem IF my voice problem is emotionally based. Other causal options (surgery; allergies) remain possibilities until a diagnosis is made.
I wish I had a partner or best friend. Sometimes I think: I should have moved into PAL, a residence for retired performing arts professionals I helped create. But the thought has always been anathema to me. I see so much neediness, unhappiness and egomania at PAL. I have shuddered at the thought of living there.
I crave aloneness, and fear it. Once when I went in for allergy testing, the technician asked me about my favourite foods. I asked her why she was asking me that and she said, “Often people crave the things that cause their allergies.” How ironic is that, Alanis Morissette?
It's all making me think counseling is in my future
Now, about Massimo Bottura … I’ll do it in a separate post (below).