SOPHIA DEMBLING AND I MET ON MYSPACE,
and umpteen years later she quoted me in one of her books.
This is an essay on the power of connection, and how we writers (you introverts especially) need each other. It also covers the Imposter Syndrome and how, as Nelson Mandela put it, “It doesn’t serve you to play small.”
I found Sophia Dembling on MySpace, or she found me. It’s been too long ago to remember, but I imagine I was drawn to her writing and politics first. Read her books, or check her out on Medium or Psychology Today, and you’ll see why.
Unlike the majority of online “friends” most of us only know online, Sophia and I decided to meet. She was working on a book about long-term longing for an unrequited love and wanted my input as a therapist. Instead, I totally shared my own struggle with the issue and had no good answers. I’m reasonably sure we didn’t resolve anything, since the book remains unwritten, although she is still considering writing it.
Fast forward a few years, and Sophia asked to interview me for her book “Introverts In Love.” Since I am decidedly NOT an introvert, I was able to keep my egoistic self referencing at bay and respond as a therapist who has worked with hundreds of couples. I don’t do that anymore, but that’s another story.
This is also not about my quotes. Please read Sophia’s book for those, and how to love an introvert, plus how to love if you are an introvert. I’m pretty sure her best piece of advice is leave your house so you can meet someone. I hear you introverts screaming (inside) “ Oh hell no.” But she is an introvert, and knows whereof she speaks.
Which leads me to connection. The beauty of the internet is that we do get the opportunity to meet amazing people onscreen. When we take the next step and arrange face to face meetings, serendipitous things happen. It also leads to real life experiences with real life people, and this leads to fodder for essays, novels, screenplays, non- fiction books, etc.
In my case, it led to making a new friend, enjoying knowing the writer as I read her work, and finally, to be asked to be an “ expert.” Which, then, as such requests so often do for so many of us, led to mild panic. Am I good enough a therapist to provide insightful quotes? Will I sound stilted? Will anybody give any fucks what I have to say?
Sophia gets the credit for my quotes not sounding stilted. And the perfect antidote for Imposter Syndrome kicked in. As she asked questions and I answered, I realized how much I do know that can and should be shared. As to whether anyone cares? I have no control over that (note my 14 followers on Medium and my 43 on Facebook.)
The knowledge I’d forgotten I had poured forth, as it always does, in interviews, in leading seminars, and sometimes by shining through even my most self-deprecating and ironic writing. Imposter Syndrome itself is the imposter. Each of us has fought hard won battles with the scars to prove it (mental, emotional, physical, monetary), to gain the wisdom we have. We as writers, therapists, journalists and other influencers, have to share our truth and experience. Shared experience is how our species evolved and survived. And we must be compelled, as directed by Nelson Mandala, to share it on as large a stage as we can find.
Thank you Sophia Dembling and Medium for supplying a stage.