I haven’t known how to write much of anything lately. My brain has felt akin to a void. A cloud of nothingness hovers over me, leaving me haunted by the ideas it once held. As someone whose mind is on fire most of the time, the surplus of activity is something I’ve always been able to rely on in order to write. Hell – that’s why I started so young in the first place.
I write to release. I write to declutter and make room. I write to make sense of it all. I’ve never thought to encourage further reflection because it often happens without my consent. Then, this week happened and I found myself without words or much thought at all. I just felt emptied out. Rather than using this space to reflect on something more specific as I normally do, I instead want to discuss the idea of personifying thoughts which is likely why I miss them so much. Hear me out for a second –
My therapist and I often speak of each person being the mother of their thoughts. As a natural-born caretaker, this concept fit me like a glove. It made it easier to challenge ideas that ruminated in my head, to speak to them with compassion, and to maintain a sense of control. As a mother, I want to give space for my thoughts to say what they need to say and to feel what they need to feel. It’s just as important for them to speak their truth as it is for me to guide them, perhaps even in the other direction.
When I have a negative thought, I console it right away. I give it room to breathe, to cry, and to give me some sort of explanation for how it got to this point (if it’s ready to, of course). What made it feel this way? Is this something that happened recently or a trigger set off from years ago? How can I help?
I have a child that’s a bit of a smartass but always ready to problem solve. I have one that is a sensitive soul, often found sitting in a corner crying. Another child that is steaming hot, ready to explode with rage at a moment’s notice. I have a toddler and a teenager. I have a free-spirited kid and one who begs me to check the map for directions again “just to make sure”.
Understanding my thoughts as my children allows them to not be in charge of me, even though they’ve tried many times before and still do. Could you imagine if my toddler-thought took the steering wheel and directed my path? Even the smartass who thinks she knows it all has a lot to learn. She can be the babysitter sometimes when I’m exhausted, but at the end of the day, I’m still the mother.
Another great part of this concept is that I am still human, which means I am not- and will never be a perfect mother. Sometimes I get overwhelmed by all my thought-kids and lash out on accident. Sometimes I’m convinced that I’m not a great mother and maybe they do know more than me. Every now and then, I let them indulge too much in their emotions. Sometimes, I’m so hard on them that I don’t let them feel safe to feel at all. Other times, I wish to sneak out onto the porch, set my feet up on the table, pour myself a glass of red, and take a damn break.
I’ve gained a lot of compassion towards my thoughts by practicing this method. I’ve also gained a lot of compassion towards myself as I work to guide them. I can’t be a perfect mother and I do not have perfect kids, but I love them anyway. I love all of my thought-kids even when I can’t stand them. Lately, it’s felt they’ve gone on vacation and I miss them, even though I’ve been needing some space for a while. I’m sure they’ll be back soon and I’ll get back to my daily life as a mother of thoughts, but for now, I’m going to enjoy the quiet.