If the last blog was the most difficult on e to write, this one feels much easier .It is the future. Which is unknown and unknowable. I can hope for a certain kind of future. I can save money. plan for old age. My children’s university fees. I can think about what I might cook for dinner tonight. But none of these is certain. My children might not go to university. We might go out to dinner. The banks could fail and my money disappear. My future is beyond my control. Aylesbury, or any other town, is not the same place as it was 50 years ago. Which does raise the obvious question about what defines Identity? Aylesbury hasn’t moved from being in Bucks. But all that is needed is for a bureaucracy to decide that it makes sense for belong to another county for convenience and I am no longer in my home county. (The house where I spent my teenage years is about a mile from the border of Middlesex-on the Bucks side. I looked for an address in this area in a Bucks A to Z and could not find the street. I eventually found it in a Middlesex A to Z. I was furious! How dare “they” change my history. I grew up in Bucks, not Middlesex. Someone had re-written my past. Without my permission. )
This rewriting of history comes up time and again in therapy. A patient remembers a childhood incident in a certain way. Their parents have a completely different version of the same event. Whose version is “true”? A patient recalls one version of their mother. On closer inspection this is an internal mother who is not the same as the flesh and blood mother. (The internal mother is far more powerful than the flesh and blood one.) The work in therapy has been to understand how the historical events shape the present. Which in turn shapes the future. My patient who felt abandoned at an early age has gone on to make relationships with men who in their turn abandon her. Her future will, hopefully, be different as a consequence of coming into therapy.
What have these musings to do with a picture of Aylesbury’s new theatre? The theatre is the place of magic. Make believe. Fantasy. Dreams. Anything becomes possible here. I can relive my teenage years with a tribute band. I can be moved by a play about Argentina. I can hear a piece by Beethoven and go where his music takes me. All without leaving Aylesbury! Prospero, in The Tempest, comments that “We are such stuff as dreams are made on…” My future is such stuff as dreams are made on. As is my past and my present.
I began this series of blogs by asking “Who lives here?” I could have asked “Whose town is it anyway?” One answer is that it is the Past’s; the Present’s and the Future’s. Every time i leave my house I encounter each of these elements. My patients do the same. Each meeting they bring their past, present and future selves- sometimes consciously, often unconsciously. As Aylesbury belongs to all its elements, so do our inner towns. All of which are “such stuff as dreams are made on.”
The link is to one version of Prospero’s speech. Enjoy-as they say.