I have been struggling with intense writers block for almost a month now. I have opened Word documents and stared blankly at the page, waiting for inspiration. I have closed down the computer and ignored my writing, in the hope that inspiration may arrive, and I have written all my deepest and darkest thoughts in my journal to make way for the words of wisdom which have so eloquently arrived on the page for years. When the path that one has chosen in their career consists largely of writing, having writer’s block can evoke a state of panic, and even shame. Then, I did a quick Google search on how to overcome writer’s block where one suggestion was to read a book, which didn’t really fill me with motivation. But in an exquisite case of divine intervention, yesterday I found myself with 20 minutes to kill while standing outside of a bookshop.
I haven’t bought a new book in a long time because I have promised myself that until I finish what I have on my book shelf, I don’t deserve a new book. As I was browsing the aisles, I was committed to buying some light fiction reading to use during my down time. Once I had selected the book and with nothing else that appealed, I moved into the “Motivation” section and remembered that I had been waiting for a particular book to fall into my lap for some time now. And there it was, almost like an epiphany shrouded in golden light, Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Ways We Live, Live, Parent and Lead by Brené Brown. There was no question that I was going to buy the book… however reading it was a different story.
This morning I tentatively opened the pages and began to read and within the first chapter my urge to write returned. What am I reading that has made this difference? Well, she talks about vulnerability and how in order to be vulnerable we need to experience shame and a whole lot of other emotions that I personally spend a lot of time avoiding. How, particularly in the academic world, there is this unspoken rule that we never show our human selves, rather preferring aloof professionalism mixed with stoic detachment. Being vulnerable means opening up and allowing others to see the part of us that we tend to hide or keep secret.
As a therapist, this is something I have even been taught during my studies. As therapists we are not there to share parts of who we are, but to be there for the other person. As therapists we must remain like a blank slate so our clients can experience the fullness of transference. As a therapist we use our experience of the client as a reflection of what happens in their life, rather than as what happens in our own life. Which has lead to my tendency to write about subjects in a way that removes my subjectivity as the writer and turns into more of an advice column. Which is weird in a way because everything I write stems from some personal event or inspiration anyway, but I have been careful not to expose myself in my words.
So, to be honest, when I ask myself why I am making this a blog post on my sex therapy website there is one clear message that emerges. Much like in life and in my profession, vulnerability is required for sex to move from being a perfunctory activity to a deeply connected and real experience. While so many of us feel this desire to protect ourselves, and in some way believe this will keep us intact, in doing so we rob ourselves from feeling the full extent of our pleasure. Getting vulnerable, including leaning into feelings that are uncomfortable and messy can truly change the game. And while there is a part of me that believes there needs to be a more “important” message in this post, I am going to lean into the feelings that “non-perfection” bring up for me and quit writing while I am ahead. But stay tuned for more!