I Am What I Am!

Essays on Being Human

During 18 years as a psychotherapist, it had gradually occurred to me that what was popularly believed, written and taught about how to live life successfully contained some very disturbing errors. 
This was a daunting discovery. For a long time, I seriously wondered whether I was really seeing something that was at once so significant and yet unseen by almost everyone else. I also wondered whether I could write about it articulately, and whether anyone would even care. 
I began writing very tentatively and found that the very process of writing helped me see and describe my subject more clearly. I have become convinced that what I have to say really is important in this often difficult disturbed and disturbing world. And, judging by my readers’ comments, I have been saying it well, and it is something they value. All of this has encouraged me to assemble this volume of essays. They were written between October 1988 and October 1992 and distributed individually in the Caring Place’s bimonthly "schedule of events."
I realize that many of you will regard my title for this book, Popeye’s declaration, "I am what I am," as hostile and arrogant. I don’t. In the face of countless disturbing demands that we ought to be persons we’re not—and pronouncements that we can choose to be—I see Popeye firmly asserting one of the central themes of this volume: I can only be who I am and, your decrees, pleas, protestations and threats not withstanding, I cannot choose otherwise, no matter how much you urge it or how hard I try.
I hope that you find value in these essays and that you will feel encouraged to participate in the dialogue with the people in your life. I also hope you will dialogue with me, as well. I welcome your ideas and comments.