Inception-What is Down Below

***warning:  spoilers***


If you have not had any therapy at all, have not dug down deep into your psyche, this movie is possibly not for you, save a Hollywood experience.  If you have had therapy, and you’ve worked through a significant amount of stuff, you will get it.

In this scene, Leo (Cobb) is going down into his stuff.  Into stuff that is so hidden, that it haunts you daily.  That you have to keep it locked away for only you.  I’ve had that stuff.  And it’s scary as shit.  The stuff that you don’t want to admit to your closest fellows…that MAYBE you will admit to a therapist, but it’s locked away because somehow, you have been able to deal with it on your own.  Until now.

Before he goes down into his psyche via his dreams, however, he tries to take someone through THEIR own.  Trying to get into the bad guy’s dreams to find a safe combination.  And, I’m looking at the movie, and there are TONS of bad guys in the snow.  In a blizzard.  And they are trying to keep this guy protected, while our guys are trying to shoot down the defenses.  The metaphor of the snow…the ice…the frozen…the way to keep all our secrets in stone.

And, I’m sitting in the movie, and I realize that with all the therapy work I’ve done, both as a professional and on the other side of the chair, I really have few secrets left in my psyche.  I was thinking of the baby that died when I was 12, the boy next door…visions of snapshots that are my childhood.  How my Dad used to step on that first step as he came home from work.  Mom’s spaghetti sauce bubbling on the stove.  And there’s really little down there, because the first rule you learn as a therapist is:  you can’t go into your clients’ psyche unless you go into your own.

But then something else came up.  When did I know?  When did I know he was having an affair?  The affair that lasted 8 years on and off?  I knew early.  I confronted him early.  And he denied …for years.  But, I knew.  I watched Cobb miss his children, and how he couldn’t have them back until he let go of the past.  Really let go of his wife.   He says to her:  “I miss you like crazy, but I have to let you go.”  In a sense, I need to do the same thing. 

As much as I am still hurt and angry, and feel like a mama bear trying to protect my children, I am in no position and have no control over this.  I receive more bad news in the mail via his antics, and I have just decided to give up.  To stop fighting, to stop swimming upstream.  However, if I’m going to get better, then every time I get disturbing news, I have to stop bringing this old story back in to my psyche.

I’ve only known about it for a year.  But, it was down there…a long time.  And I wonder if my whole marriage was a sham, but I know and remember good and sweet times.  And I have to let him go.  He did drive me crazy.  I hid way down deep what I knew.  And I knew all along.

Bravo to Inception.  Way to take us down there.  And, in the end…the only way that Cobb transcends his history is to let her go…and to forgive himself.   

And, so it is.

…in search of


t I am a therapist.  You may not know this.  I’m licensed with my state, although I became inactive due to jumping back in to teaching when my boys were starting school.  I thought it was the right thing to do…to be home when they were home…to have summers off, to help them with homework.

Early on in my zeal to meet my own needs, I took a job as a college counselor.  My boys were 2 & 4, and they had to go to preschool.  All day.  I look back on this now, and it is the biggest regret of my professional career, and has kept me in the Mommy Hall Of Shame for a long time.  That I wanted so much to have the *title*, I sent my 2 year old, in the most critical stage of his development, to be with other people.  I was a Play Therapist, and for years had been preaching that the worst time you can leave a child is when he is two years old.

*a disclaimer*  I am not bashing myself.  Today we had our weekly family meeting, held in the spa:  My youngest ran the meeting:  “Okay who has a thumbs up?  thumbs down?  weekly props to another family member?  something you want to say to someone?”  It’s cool, because my boys can say anything they want during the family meeting and it’s not construed as misbehavior.  They get to have their feelings, and I taught them that.

While I was a therapist, I was always doing some of my own work…the theory being that you can’t take clients to their dark place if you are not willing to go to your own.  I processed every shred of childhood pain, I dealt with my shame, I moved on.  A friend told me today that people often are dragging a suitcase full of their own unresolved shit around with them like a ball and chain, and that sometimes when someone is spewing on me, it’s because their own suitcase is jam packed.  I realized that, while I still had my issues…I no longer had a suitcase…that I had figured out a lot of things.

One day I stopped working on my stuff.  Stopped dealing with my own feelings, and started sucking it up.  I became a teacher, and shelved that therapist person.  How did it work out for me?  My dysfunctions became clearer, I wanted to drink, I was insanely controlling.  The rest of  the story was played out one day at a time as my marriage ended.  It’s taken 2 years to restore order to my psyche.

Today, as he drove away after visiting the kids, I grieved.  A moment for him, but a long time for the girl I used to be…the one who could stay present in the room, who was afraid of nothing…who was honest.  Now my satchel is sort of a mess, and I need to find someone to help me restore order to my world.

This week, I get to go back to therapy and find that girl.  If she even exists any more.