The Honest Truth: A Truly Difficult Challenge for Writers
(Selfie of author with Hobbit, my tiny sleeping therapy dog)
Dr T J Jordan
When I write, I write from my life. I’ve tried different approaches — staying away from the first person, assigning names to the characters, trying to stay in the third person without using names. Even wandering into attempts at fictionalizing my stories. None of those approaches have worked for me.
And I don’t resonate well with the idea of using a pen name. Nor do I feel a need to hide my identity, ergo my choice of a personal candid photo for this piece. But I do not mention the names of my lovers, nor do I provide revealing information about who they are or have been.
There are four privileged professions in which confidentiality is assured: law, religion, medicine, and psychology. As a clinical psychologist, I have been trained to help people get to know themselves better, and to accompany them into the dark corners of their lives which they fear visiting alone. The people with whom I work guide me along their pathways. I’m simply the one carrying a light to help make things a bit clearer and less frightening.
But along these pathways, I learn a great deal about people, and I am enormously grateful for their confidences and openness. And for these opportunities, I owe a great deal to my clients as well as to my lovers who also have honored me with their trust.
My new lover tells me that knowing him so well makes me wonderful at knowing where to kiss what hurts him while making me dangerous since I also know his vulnerable places, where to strike when I’m angry. I understand that, and try very hard not to go where he has been hurt by others before me.
But one of my firm beliefs is that not one of us, no matter how deeply we love, will live through our relationships without wounding each other from time to time. Because we’re human, and humans are imperfect. A colleague of mine likes to comment, with a glint of humor, that we all are damaged goods. Nobody gets through life without some battle scars.