Am I the only one who gets weepy about therapy?
Dang thing changed me. And not changed me. Changed me back. There, that’s how I want to say it. I was me, then I tried on someone else for a while, and now I’m me again.
I saw a therapist after my divorce, and I felt slighted after I left Brian’s office for the last time, because he asked me why I liked going. He said he thought that I liked therapy because of attention. I should have said no. I should have said I liked having my feelings validated. I might have said, if I had been able to heal a bit from the trauma that had happened to me just weeks before, that I was afraid I was going to have bad feelings lurking around in my brain for the next 7 years. And I did. Guys, I had bad feelings for 7 years until my second therapist cleared me for takeoff. But really I cleared myself. Because this time I left the office for the last time in a place where I felt like me.
I don’t know why I never healed from my divorce before therapy v2.0, but I didn’t. I have hated my ex and his whole family for 7 years. I hated my new husband, and I hated my family, and I hated a lot of people who didn’t know I hated them, and I hated me, and I didn’t really know I hated me either.
And then we went to therapy, and I didn’t know how to ask for help to not hate everything because I didn’t know that was the problem. I wanted therapy to fix my husband. I wanted it to make him do the dishes more, to yell at the kids less, to be this guy I didn’t hate so much. It was two or three sessions in and I saw the error. I had broken. I had broken into 2 pieces and the one hateful piece was bigger and hated the smaller piece, the missing piece, away.
I started going in by myself. Some weeks, the conversation was significant and felt like therapy. Other times, I talked about how I wanted to go to grad school. I talked about how I hated praying, that God’s a jerk, and I wanted to move. I talked a lot about how I hated my husband and wanted to leave him. And then the next week, I was living in a good marriage in a good house and God was a little more real that week.
And therapy helped me recognize something I had never thought of before. Two things I had never thought of before:
#1. Life doesn’t have to be exciting to be good. I don’t have to move, or pray, or believe, or have dishes and laundry done every night for life to be fine. Flip flopping is my fantasy and sometimes I dive in and I plan trips and I look at real estate, sometimes with room for my husband to live with us. And then other times I sit in my basement office that my husband (who I usually don’t hate anymore) is building for me and I write things down and I think about things.
But I don’t worry about how I feel about God or not-God, and I don’t want to move. I think about the garden boxes I had put in, and whether my neighbors will hire a hitman for the chickens I will have (yes he definitely will), who will be loud and will stink. I let go of the fantasy until the next time I pick it back up and I spend a few minutes thinking about the weather in San Francisco in the winter. I flipped and then I flopped and that’s me. I know I’m doing it and I know why I’m doing it and it’s fine.
#2. My other realization is my favorite: I see people differently. I look at their behaviors and things that they tell me, and I no longer assume it’s a lie. My neighbor told me he plowed all the snow from the neighborhood and plopped it in front of our mailbox because he was trying to be nice. I chose to believe that.
I got into a spat with a friend and I took note of her concerns and then I didn’t talk to her for 3 weeks and I didn’t think of her even for one second because the things that motivated her to say and do things had nothing to do with me. I chose to believe that. People generally do what they do because they’re having a bad day or a good day or their dog died or they got sex or had pie for breakfast.
And trying to convince someone in an argument to not be mad at you is senseless, because they probably don’t care that much. They probably care that their dog died or they had sex or they ate pie for breakfast, but not about you. That’s not intended to sound cynical or jerky or anything. I mean that in the best way. People care about what’s going on in their lives, and sometimes other people come in while they are processing things and screw everything up. It’s not personal. People do what they can do with what they have and I have to believe it’s not personal. Unless someone tells you they hate you. (That feels kind of personal.) (I’m sure it’s not.) (I haven’t figured that one out yet.)
So I feel more like me, and here is why: Because I don’t worry about putting on a front. I was feeling bad on a day that my brother was taking the whole family out to dinner. I was very appreciative, but I still felt sad. No reason why. I told my husband. I didn’t put on a front. I smiled through dinner and I got home and I cried a little bit and I didn’t hide. Hiding is the worst.
My sisters got together, my invite got lost in technology, and my dad came over and was sad. Or mad. Or something. He called my sister and made her apologize. But I told him I didn’t care, and I told her she didn’t have to apologize, because I didn’t care, and I didn’t. I’ve never lied about a feeling since I sat on my therapist’s IKEA sofa hugging that dang IKEA pillow, and changed the way I thought of people. To me, that’s a lot of liberty to feel all at once. Right?
I started going to therapy and I started living more honestly and authentically. I stopped apologizing for the messy house, and I stopped stressing out if I didn’t write that day. I said yes more to my kids and I told my husband that kissing with tongue is gross. And I just wrote that on my blog, and people will read it and that’s fine. Because it is gross and I never would have said that in a million years before therapy. I never did. I’ve just always kissed and had people’s tongues in my mouth and it makes me ill.
I like kissing a lot more now.
And as it turns out, I like therapy a lot more now too.
What’s most important is that I like me, and I know who that is now too.
I’m the most honest person I know.