This fictional conversation was inspired by the writing prompt: “Imagine your inner lizard is a character in a fictional scene, write about a moment when something triggers its fear.“
Brian sits next to a crying teenager, comforting them. A parent approaches.
Why you tryin’ a tell people how to live their lives? Who died and made you God?
Well, actually, we’re all God, in a sense. You see the universe is a fractal and we are all just individual reflections of a greater reality.
Sounds like garbage. Some woo woo crap.
I assure you it’s not its…
Well, do you have all of your vices under control?
Well no, but I —
Exactly, so you come in here, a bag of dysfunctions yourself and you think you can tell me or my kid how to live?
I don’t think I’m a whole bag of dysfunct—
My God, such arrogance. Who do you think you are?
I’m sorry, I am definitely not trying to tell anyone how to live, or how to behave? Only what works for me to lessen my own suffering.
Well, la dee dah. Who asked you?
I didn’t have to be asked, it’s sort of my calling.
*Parent rolls eyes
Well, like not a calling, but you know, like a purpose. It’s like, what gives meaning to my minutes.
Meaning to your minutes? Are you a poet now too?
Well, I’ve never been published if that’s what you mean, but otherwise, yeah, I guess I’m a poet too.
Listen. You are a dysfunctional poet who isn’t even sure if he has a god damn mother fucking calling or not, so while you figure it out, how about you stay the hell away from me and my kid.
*I don’t look up, I can’t. I just nod.
Come on, Karen, we’re going to leave. This man-child can’t help you. Some degree from the Martha Beck school for energy specialists or whatever, forget it. I’d rather you get a nose job and have friends.
KAREN: Um, thanks. I think.
Parent and Karen walk off. Karen looks back and waves at me. I smile back, hoping she’ll remember the body compass techniques I taught her for when she’s picking her major.
I take a few deep grounding breaths as the thought storms rage. The accusations, like gale force winds, knock my illusions and assumptions around like straw in a hurricane.
Am I a fraud?
Do I have a right to charge people for something I feel called to do?
Am I dysfunctional?
Am I really that dysfunctional?
Do I have to be fully functional to help people?
I’d like to think of myself like a fountain of healing. But like a soda fountain.
So yeah, I’m not in tip top condition, the Sunkist is broken, the Diet is empty and if you try for Hawaiian Punch you get squirted in the eye. But all the other flavors work perfectly and no matter what you choose I can help quench your thirst every single time.
The soda fountain analogy falls apart here because soda is toxic and poisonous and all the things are wrong with it, but besides all the foundational ways in which this analogy doesn’t work, it also does work.
And that’s a lot like being a life coach while still trying to get your own shit together.
*A new client calling on my cell. This time I answer with a new greeting:
ME: Hot Mess Life Coaching, helping you keep your shit together while mine falls apart. How can I help you?