So this is it.
Since October I have been putting off this moment.
Putting it off until:
I can get through a day without crying in public
I get a job interview
I get a promotion
I complete my move
I get settled in, in my new apartment
I get my insurance
I feel comfortable in my new job
So here we are.
And what I’m doing right now is researching “how to go to therapy.”
I chatted with my new therapist for a bit last week. She called during the middle of my work day and that in itself was terrifying. SHE IS CALLING. IN THE MIDDLE OF THE DAY. I DON’T HAVE A CONVENIENT SHAME CAVE TO CRAWL INTO RIGHT NOW. WHAT DO I DO.
So I did what women do: I answered the phone and was professional and did everything “right”.
I asked her:
How she wanted to be addressed.
How early I should arrive.
What I needed to prepare.
Then she asked me:
How I was doing
What I needed
She was compromising my impressive compartmentalization in broad daylight. And that line of questioning was as upsetting to me as the Google search for “how to go to therapy”. Because all of the results were about, “just being open to the experience” and “not overthinking” and “taking your time”. No to-do lists. No suggested questions to prepare for.
I approach most things in life like it’s a job interview. Whether that’s a first date with a man or a first date with a therapist — everything is an interview. I guess it’s the reporter in me. I am GD GREAT at interviews.
Feeling unsatisfied that my Googling was not reinforcing the way I prepare for life, I picked up “Daring Greatly” by Dr. Brene Brown at brunch yesterday. The last time I visited these words was as an audiobook last summer when I was canning tomatoes in my farmhouse. The last time I read this I was a different woman.
Over brunch in a California diner my newly single self read this, from Dr. Brown’s therapist:
“No data. No homework. No assignments or gold stars in here. Less thinking. More feeling.”
This therapy thing is going to be challenging because compartmentalization won’t be rewarded, as it has been for the last nine months. I will be asked to talk about myself, when I’ve been professionally trained to be the person who always asks the questions. I will be encouraged to break open and be vulnerable. And as my wise sister-in-law shared with me last Friday when I told her I was going to therapy for the first time tomorrow, as women, “strong is something pushed on us.”
I found an answer to that a few pages later in Dr. Brown’s book: “Vulnerability sounds like truth and feels like courage.”
That phrase still pisses me off. Maybe we’ll start there tomorrow.