Me: “I did what you suggested, but I think it made me feel worse.”
Therapist: “Ok, well. That is information.”
Therapist: “I apologize if it made you feel worse. Sometimes my advice is wrong.”
Therapist: “I make mistakes.”
Therapist: “I am only human.”
Me: “YOU ARE?!”
“No– what do YOU think?”
— Me, to my therapist.
And then her universe imploded.
Sometimes I feel like my mind is a beautiful, pristine, World-Cup-worthy soccer field with the potential to host a team of Pelés and Hamms, yet it keeps getting booked for local toddler scrimmages.
Teaching kid a new math skill…
Kid: “Can you show me one more time? I’m not ready to try.”
Me: “I showed you several times– at this point you will learn best by doing it yourself. Just give it a try!”
Kid: “But sometimes I get afraid to try.”
Me: “There is nothing to be afraid of. Trying is how you learn, and if it doesn’t go the way you want it to, that just gives you good information for how to try again. Learning and success is a process, kiddo!”
Kid: “So you mean if I get it wrong, just learn from it?”
Me: “Yes! You got it!”
Kid: “When you say it like that, it doesn’t sound so scary.”
Me: “Exactly. It really is THAT easy. Just try! I promise you, you have nothing to lose!”
(2 hours later)
Therapist: “So have you taken any steps to pursue a writing career?”
Me: “No. I’m too afraid to try.”
Did you know that if you accidentally shoot yourself in the eye with a waterpik on full blast, you will pop blood vessels?
What’s that? No? Because why would that ever happen to you? Because you’d never press the “on” button before putting the device in your mouth, particularly if it’s pointed at your eyeball? Because who points a waterpik at their eyeball? Because you pay attention to the things you do as you’re doing them? Because you’re generally able to complete daily life tasks without risking your life? Because even a monkey can use a waterpik without injury, and you’re smarter than a monkey?
Well HOW NICE FOR YOU.
Having one of those mornings where I’m feeling antsy, restless, and a little lost. So like any highly educated, emotionally intelligent individual, I turned to my decision-making paperweight spinner for answers.
Me: “So like, in life in general, Spinning Paperweight….what next?”
Ok, so. Babies.
Eric: “The woman breeding our future puppy was so nice when I spoke to her on the phone, and she really just breeds for the love of it– in fact, once the dog is ours she wants us to keep her updated on how he’s doing, because she cares that much about each of her pups, she just likes to know what they’re up to. How nice is that?”
Me: “You mean we have to keep talking to her?”
Therapist: “I’m starting to notice this about you– you tend to start things from a place of assumed failure. You approach new things, even new conversations, or small tasks, as something you’re going to screw up. And immediately starting from this assumption puts you in a space of feeling defensive, like you constantly have to prove yourself. And that’s why it’s so hard for you to get started with things. And, quite frankly, why you’re so exhausted.”
Me: <stunned silence>
Therapist: “Big ‘Aha!’ moment for you?”
Me: “It took you 7 years to notice this about me?!”
It’s literally the one thing I was born knowing about myself
I gave a speech at a friend’s rehearsal dinner last weekend and someone came up to me after and said, “You are an extremely eloquent speaker.” And it got me thinking, you know what, yeah, person I don’t know at all but who is now my new best friend, when it comes to verbal communication, I am extremely eloquent!
….as long as I have an entire 16-size-font, double spaced script in front of me (rehearsed for a minimum of three weeks and approved by no less than five trusted individuals), have at least one glass of wine but no more than three in my system, I am not interrupted once, it’s neither too hot nor too cold in the room, there are zero weird noises, no one looks at me funny, I’m not hungry, the lighting is friendly, I am feeling good about my outfit, my acne is under control, I’m not PMSing, and I remembered to take my Prozac.
Otherwise when I talk it’s this:
Me: “With everything going on in our country right now, I’m honestly just so horrified and saddened as a human in general– but as a Jew in particular, as I know you can relate–”
Therapist: “Oh I’m actually not Jewish.”
Me: “You’re NOT?! But your last name–”
Therapist: “I know. A common Jewish last name. People often assume I am Jewish.”
Me: “But I feel like I’ve had all these insider only-jews-would-get-this kind of exchanges with you.”
Therapist: “Hmm. I didn’t interpret them that way.”
Therapist: “What are you thinking?”
Me: “Oh, oh nothing. This obviously doesn’t change anything.”
I just have to re-think every piece of advice you’ve ever given me.