Last night I was working on the part of the book about my time at Kansas State University and it triggered me. It triggered the feelings of loss and failure that came from the experience, and also the period of darkness in my life that followed it.
I got two tattoos when I was at Kansas State. When I got the second one I was falling into a pit of despair and needed to something to help me. I thought very carefully and got the Japanese character for spirit. My friend Kanna, from Japan, once told me it means “power of spirit.” The ability of your spirit to help you overcome adversity.
By the time I had fixed the typos in this part of the book I was crying. The big trigger was the need to talk to Walt, my doctor at the time.
For the majority of you, who have not read the book, let me explain Walt’s importance. He was my psychiatrist in Las Vegas for nearly four years. There is a chapter in the book called “Trusting Walt,” which gives a clue to his significance in my life.
I don’t know if I can articulate the importance of Walt in the sum total of my life. I feel if I could somehow allow people to look into my heart they would see just how serious the connections I’ve made with people are, and it would make sense. Walt isn’t the only person in my life I feel so strongly about, but his importance is embarrassing to me. He was my medication doctor. And went so above and beyond what he had to do it was really miraculous in a way.
Only people who have read Magical Shrinking can tell me if I captured the essence of what Walt did for me during my time in Las Vegas. Those people might understand why, almost 11 years later, I still see him as a powerful person in my life despite only speaking to him once during that time.
I’m certain he’s aware that he’s still important to me. I don’t see how he could not know it. I am connected to his ex-wife on Facebook and she relayed to me a message a few months ago that he’s proud of me. I know that she is proud of me as well. She and I worked together one summer with hypnotherapy. It was a life changing experience.
I sent Walt a copy of the book. Did he read it? If so, what went through his head as he read the story of my life? Did the parts about him come as a surprise? I doubt it. What about when I was sure he was an inch away from giving up on me? Was I right? Should I have called him those times when I cried in the ghetto because my life was such a train wreck?
I don’t know the answers to these questions. All I know is that I sent him a book. To the hospital where he works.
And I know that last night I wrote a letter where I laid it all out for him. What do I want? To talk to him one more time in my life. I want the chance to thank him. To ask him if it’s crazy that I wanted to talk to him so badly the day my father died. I want to tell him that he changed my life, and I don’t know that I’d be the person I am today if he hadn’t worked so hard with me.
I’m crying now at the power of these feelings. They aren’t tears of sadness, but of awe. I’m not sure anyone can ever understand how unlikely it was 11 years ago that I would have the life I have today. It seemed likely that I was either going to die or go to jail for possession of crack.
All I wanted was to do something that would make Walt proud of me, and it wasn’t promising. I allowed myself to sink to depths that most people never know. I cried after our sessions because I had become a shell of a person, despite how hard he and his wife tried to get me on track.
Do I mail the letter? Do I take the chance that he’ll never call me and I’ll feel that rejection? I don’t have to decide right now. Will he ever stop being so important to me? I don’t know the answer to that, and it’s okay. I probably don’t need to feel embarrassed because of this, but I do. It feels wrong to need something so badly and not know whether or not it’s going to happen.
All I can do is ask the universe for what I need and wait. No matter what, the power of my spirit will always get me through. Just like it did 11 years ago.