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  • Writer's pictureMichelle Labelle

Getting Rid of Gertrude

So I did a somatic therapy session with my friend Trudi today. Somatic therapy is kind of like regular "talk therapy", but along with talking, your practitioner will ask questions about where you feel certain things/emotions in your body. I've never done somatic therapy, so I was intrigued.

Trudi started out by asking me generally where I was struggling. I told her that I've been feeling de-motivated to do things lately, and it needs to stop. She then asked where in my body I was feeling bogged down, and what it felt like. I told her that I felt lethargic, and cloudy-headed; like I had wet mud from my stomach up to the top of my head. I told her that it felt like Atreyu's horse Artax from "The Neverending Story", sinking into the mud in the Swamps of Sadness. If you haven't seen the film, here's a clip of the scene. Fair warning, it's gut-wrenching, and Artax seemingly dies:

Trudi asked if what I was feeling was even MINE, or if I was taking on things that other people had imposed on me. I started describing feeling like I wasn't enough, that I didn't feel good in my body, at this weight, that I've had a few astrology readings that all tell me that my body, my success, and my happiness are all inextricably linked.

Then she asked about Gertrude.

You're asking: "Who the heck is Gertrude?"

Trudi and I have known each other for some months now, so she knew all about her!

Let me tell you about Gertrude. She's a funny character I made up about a decade ago when I was seeing a life coach. She's the external manifestation of every terrible thing I ever thought about myself. I imagine her as the Geico Gecko, but she yells at me in a high squeaky voice, wears a silly straw hat, has a Sophia Petrillo-style straw purse, and wears pearls that she occasionally clutches in outrage or shock.

I deliberately made her a bit silly so that it was easier for me to separate my "Gertrude" thoughts from my self in moments of anxiety or crisis. I was finally able to step outside of myself to view my issues more objectively, and coach myself through depression or anxiety. I viewed Gertrude as a part of me that I needed to love, to pet on the head, soothe, and tell her that everything would be ok because I had her back.

Gertrude served me well for a long time, I think. But with Trudi's help, I realized that I don't actually need Gertrude anymore. In processing my feelings after our session, I'm realizing that Gertrude was simply a crutch and a stepping stone until I could self-soothe in a healthy way; to view difficult situations objectively by myself. To know that I have MY OWN back.

Trudi has suggested that I find some way that is meaningful to me to "break up" with Gertrude and send her on her way. I'm still thinking how I can do that, but I know it will be done gratefully, and lovingly. Gertrude has been trying to protect me for a decade, but I don't need her anymore, and it's time to let go.

THANK YOU Trudi. Sometimes the healers need healing to move forward, and I honestly can't express how grateful I am!

Find Trudi on Instagram: @trudi.knowtices.things

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