how to avoid sharks at tea parties
Making nice is not the goal. No more smiling when you’re mad. That’s what I’ve picked up from Sharkey so far.
“Felt teeth on a shark? That’s a metaphor for something….” said one friend when she saw the picture of my newly unpacked stuffed toy version of Sharkey in yesterday’s story.
The fact is, real sharks have teeth like THIS:
Honesty has teeth too. You might hurt someone’s feelings with it. You might scare yourself if you looked behind those felt teeth you smile at everyone with. What would become of your life if you said out loud what you really think and feel? What if you admitted it just to yourself?
The other day I thought maybe the appearance of Sharkey meant I’d have to give up nice polite Bob. I decided to test it out. I said, “Good-bye, Bob.” Immediately I felt like I was going to cry. Here’s how it went:
me: Just like that?
Bob: Good practice
me: For when I leave therapy?
Bob: For the human comedy
me: Ok, let’s try it. I know you’ll come back if I need you. I know you’re just a smiley icon on my screen. Click, delete.
Sharkey: You wanna cry?
me: Yeah, kind of. Crying seems
Sharkey: Bob’s dead, hon. Eaten by a shark. Tragic way to go.
me: Fuck you, Sharkey!
Sharkey: Shut up and listen.
me: Ok :-)
Sharkey: No fake smiles
me: No, I HATE THOSE
Sharkey: No more tea. Especially not with milk in it. I’m not your mother substitute.
me: Forget it, Sharkey. I’m making some tea. I can’t do this. I need my Bob. Sharkey is just for when I’m scared or angry.
Bob: That was quick.
me: Oh, Bob. Thanks for sticking with me.
Bob: I’m real, not just an icon. I can never leave you. It’s not possible.
me: I’m confused. Like glop.
Bob: You want to go down. So go. Allow it.
I’m allowing it. I know that Sharkey came on the scene because my therapist told the little girl, “It’s ok to be angry.” First it was tigers, then a shark. I’ve learned to just go with these things that appear in my mind. Is Sharkey real too, like Bob just told me he is? I don’t know. I kind of hope not.
“Don’t ask too many questions,” Bob said to me recently. I knew what he meant. Questions are a way of staying in the head. We are going down, down into the belly where the fire is, where maybe I’ll find enough raw energy to power my vehicle for the rest of my life. I’ve been driving on empty, putting a dollar or two in the tank when I could afford it. Mostly not going anywhere. Where does energy come from?
Sharkey: Did you call me?
me: No, Sharkey, no. That was a rhetorical question.