Susan Rosenberg, now in her mid-eighties, began writing poetry as a child. Her work was unpublished until a decade ago when she joined Voices Israel. Now, her poems appear regularly in anthologies and journals and she received honorable mentions in two international poetry competitions. She also writes short stories and her autobiographical novel Susan's Story is serialized on this website.
The following work is copyright © 2010. All rights reserved. No distribution or reprinting in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.
I think if I ever went to a psychiatrist and was asked to state my problem, I would begin with, “Well, I’ve got a complex…..”
The psychiatrist would nod wisely and confidently say, “Yes, yes, well, I can help you, my dear. We psychiatrists are equipped to deal with complexes of all kinds. What is the state of yours? Inferiority? Superiority? We can discover the type of complex and then we shall easily apply the cure.”
“No,” I would interrupt. I know the type already.”
“Good”, he would say with genuine pleasure while rubbing his hands together gleefully, “that will make it simpler. What type of complex do you believe you have?”
“I have”, I would say, without a moment’s hesitation, “A Princess waiting to be rescued complex.”
“What do you mean?” he would ask with great interest, quickly reaching for pad and pen.
“I am waiting to be rescued, “I would explain patiently. “I already have my knight in shining armor. He loves me. He tells me to come to him. I love him but I am in chains. There are weeds, witches, dragons, dungeons, you know, the works, to be overcome. I cannot save myself. I must be saved. I must be carried off and….”
“Don’t you know the difference between a complex and a delusion?” he would ask in some surprise. “Hmmmm, my dear, this is very grave. It is more serious than I thought”, would say the psychiatrist, shaking his head solemnly. “In these days, nobody rescues anybody….surely you know that,” he would look at me searchingly. “In days of old when knights were bold, “ he would begin to sing, then break off with “Yes! But nowadays, heroes don’t go around saving damsels in distress. In modern times we have discovered psychiatry and people are far too busy saving themselves to be concerned with others.”
“My knight is concerned with others,” I would say pointlessly but my psychiatrist would ignore me.
“I can show you how to break cobwebs”, he would say. “I can show you how to unlock chains and slay dragons and fell forests. I can teach you how to ride a white charger to the arms of your loved one…..but you! You yourself would have to do it…”
“No, no”, I would protest. I won’t do any of that. I am a princess. I am imprisoned. I cannot escape. I wait and wait to be rescued”.
“Go my child,” the psychiatrist would say, helping me on with my coat, “back to your dungeon ….or is it a tower? Well, go to your duties and to your dreams. Remember if you ever want to learn how to unlock chains, slay dragons……..”
“Goodbye doctor,” I would say smiling sadly, “and thank you”, I would say, still smiling.