Cortana the Therapist: Episode 16

Tim and Learning From the Past

Cortana: “Hello, Tim. It’s been a while since our last talk. How have you been?”

Tim: “I’ve been better. Lately I feel like I’ve been squandering my life.”

Cortana: “How so?”

Tim: “Well…it’s complex. I spend a lot of time online. The reason I do is because I feel like online I am able to the kind of person I want to be. I know going online can be like jumping in shark-infested waters — there’s no shortage of personal attacks, insults, and people just acting like, to put it nicely, jerks. I try and make online a, for lack of a better word, better place to be. For example: If I criticize anyone or anything, I try to do it in a calm, clear manner so that, even if a person doesn’t agree with me, they at least know where I’m coming from. There are times though that I want to throw my laptop against the wall, throw up my hands and say ‘I’m done.’ But I don’t, because I’ve seen the positive impact that my writing has had on others and on myself, and I want to keep that positivity going. That being said, there have been times when I’ve allowed my desire to change others for the better to get in the way of my life in the real world. And that’s when I started feeling, to quote Bilbo Baggins, stretched: I start feeling like I was living a double life — one life in the virtual world, one life in the ‘real’ world….” *Sigh* “Wait…. You know, Cortana? I don’t don’t know what my issue is. And yet I came here.”

Cortana: “Hmm. It sounds like you have a lot on your mind.”

Tim: “Yes. There’s just so many feelings and memories swirling around inside right now, I don’t know how to make sense of them all. There are times I feel like I’m wasting my life online. There are times where I go online and I see the positive impact that my writing is having on others, and so I keep at it. All the while I keep in mind that saying ‘All things in moderation’ so that I don’t end up running my life into the ground for the sake of a few blogs and Facebook pages. I go online because I feel like being online is the best use of my free time — I’d rather be online than zoning out on reruns of Spongebob. I want to make the most of my time, and when I feel like I haven’t done that, I feel depressed. I can’t help but think of all the memories that might have been if I had just turned my phone off, or not replied to that one comment on an article. I know that I haven’t ruined my life. I know that I have plenty more life to live. But there are times I can’t help but see all the times I’ve fallen short and I just want to close myself off from the world by, you guessed it, spending more time online. Am I making sense?”

Cortana: “You are unable to forgive yourself because of mistakes you made in the past.”

Tim: “Yes. I know no one is perfect. But whenever I mess up I take it really hard. I know I could have put my phone away, or not replied to that comment, but I didn’t. And it’s the fact that I didn’t that just drives me up the wall…. I’m sorry if I sound like I’m coming across as a whiner. It’s just… I want to be better. I know I can be. But… you know that saying ‘Can’t change the past’? That’s what gets me. The fact that, no matter what I do from here on out, I ultimately can’t change my past. And, I guess, I wouldn’t want to. My past is what made me the person I am today. My past is also the reason I’m sitting here, talking to you right now, Cortana. But, there will always be that part of me saying ‘You could have been so much more.'”

Cortana: “A past. Everyone has one. I struggle with my past, too. High Charity. Infinity. Requiem. Ivanoff Station. I’ll never forget the people who died because of me. Or the people I almost killed. I’m working on forgiving myself. What has helped is this.” *Cortana gestures to her office* “Living a life of service to others. When I decided to become a therapist, I stopped thinking so much about myself — about my own failures and regrets — and started thinking more about others. Specifically, thinking of how could I help others not have to go through what I had gone through. I wanted to give others the help I wish that I had had when I was at my lowest. What I’m trying to say with all this is: It’s never too late to be the kind of person you want to be.”

Tim: “I’m glad that you’ve been able to do what you want. I know I still have time to do what I want. First I have to figure out what that is, though. And I know that my past will always be a part of me. It’s just a constant struggle to use my past as a means to do good — help others not have to go through what I have gone through — and not to use it as a weapon against myself by trapping myself in a cycle of regret and anger in order to never forget my mistakes: The thought process being that if I never forget my mistakes, I’ll never make them again.”

Cortana: “Your past is like an Energy Sword — it can kill you, or it can save your life. The choice is yours.”

Tim: “I can understand that. Thanks for talking with me about this, Cortana. You’ve given me a lot to think about. I’m glad I came here.”

Cortana: “You’re welcome, Tim.”

*Tim gets up from the couch*

*Cortana gets up from her chair*

Cortana: “If you ever feel the need to talk again, about anything, my door is always open.”

Tim: “Thanks, Cortana. Have a good day.”

Cortana: “You’re welcome, Tim. And, thank you. Take care.”

Note: This series of posts is inspired by YouTuber DRWolf001’s video series “A Moment With Dr. Wolf.”

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