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Emails to my Therapist

Split Personality

Overtly being oneself is a great thing and necessary, I think, for a happy life and having any kind of satisfying success in the world.

At the same time, I’d like to think it was possible for all of me to fit in at one place sometimes. With my most high-serious chums, the flip, brash part of my nature kicks in; I’m all McDonald’s and bubblegum music. On the other hand, with my most unhesitating, just-do-it, no-nonsense friends, I’m more likely to become Ms. Brooding Artist.

Probably just a playing out of my own conflict about having such disparate halves. I’m actually pleased that it’s so, serves me well in a lot of ways. But it creates a sort of friction too; I’m ever pulling the wrong club out of my golf bag. And, curiously, doing it on purpose.

Decades ago, I told my therapist Nick Stratas as we walked out his office door that I had a strong identification with two people: 1) his famous-opera-singer sister Teresa Stratas and 2) the then-governor of North Carolina, Jim Hunt. Different jobs. And it would appear, very different temperaments. Therapist’s response in short: “inner conflict.”

I had the same conversation around that time with my brother Franc Payne; I told him that my problem was that I had our father’s tumultuous interior and our mother’s stoic exterior. He said, “you’ve got your daddy’s hormones and your mama’s Methodism.” Neither of those descriptions do justice to either of our parents. But they do make a fair sketch of me. I’m assuming something of this sort of mixed-bag-ness is true for everyone. Which is one of the challenges of “being one’s self.”

How about you? How many people do you embody? Or do you feel yourself to be all-of-a-piece?

(In any event, thanks for listening. This has been a great relief.)

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Categories: self expression, self-management

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