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no time like the Present

November 2, 2014

Realized I have been not just procrastinating on, but actively resisting, doing the yoga-for-inner-core-strengthening exercises. It might’ve just been that Life Stuff is really busy right now, but of course, it isn’t.

I’m grieving over how I’ve never really known how to inhabit my body in a healthy way. How is it that, at 48, I have to relearn everything? (Definitely better to unlearn bad old habits sooner, but wow, there are so many of them!) It’s daunting, it’s upsetting. It’s kind of enraging.

And who’s got emotional energy to spare for all of that, when the important thing is to start unlearning-and-relearning. Except that, I haven’t been doing that. Yet.

+++

The last few days, I wake up with confused impressions, but by the time I realize I had been dreaming but am now awake, they are gone. Disappointing.

October was so creatively fertile (as it often is), that I was almost glad to scoot through the end of it. But now that I’m in November, I have <2 months left with P, and the holidays will cut into that even more.

Hard to remember that, when I began seeing P, my original thought was, “let’s see how much we can get done in 7 sessions” (because of worries about the money we had available in the HSA, our deductible, what Spouse would be willing to make possible, etc.). But we got the deductible sorted, and I did have that unearmarked money from the tax refund, and I took charge with telling Spouse how I was going to do things (not asking permission). And here we are, at 3x as many sessions, and I wish I could go on as long ‘as necessary’. But I can’t.

Other parts of me feel conflicted, too, because I’m adding 220 additional miles to my (10-year old) car each week, which necessitates me having to buy gas once a week; 5 hours on Wednesdays, and often 6–7 hours on Fridays (because of trying to avoid rush hour), and . . .

hmmm, putting myself first for all these months? Really? Well, it’s more nuanced than just that.

As emotionally intense as my other stints in therapy could be and were, I generally had other constraints on my emotional energy: my family of origin, a job, Spouse, friends, hobbies, (sometimes) college. And . . . my life skills were pretty basic. Each baby step forward seemed excruciatingly slow at the time, but that’s all I could manage, while still juggling everything else.

There were definitely days, even weeks, where my therapy was what I wanted to be thinking about as much as possible. Weeks where I was highly distracted at work, for instance. But I had to eventually focus on these other things; my attention balanced out.

These days, certain types of life skills are growing by leaps and bounds. I not only get to think about this stuff as often as I want, but we can talk about (and act/dance out!) my dreams too. We’ve talked about my artwork; P has heard more of my poems than anyone but Spouse.

P is not much like D, my best previous therapist. D was open to hugs, and I miss that aspect very much. D’s daughter worked in her office, and sometimes D talked about her own family a little bit. P doesn’t talk about her family at all.

{I’m finding I have two completely distinct directions I want to go from here, and I’m not entirely sure how to do that. Will I get completely off track?}

I’m struggling with how to say the next bit. It feels disloyal! I’m in tears; this particular sadness has caught me off guard. But…

D knew a lot more than me about many things. As you would expect. But she was . . . somewhat intimidated . . . by how smart I am. Although, unlike everyone else I know who has been intimidated for that reason, she admitted it easily, and did not feel threatened by it. She just acknowledged it, and went on to the next thing.

I didn’t know that was a thing that could be talked about. Because before her, people who were intimidated would definitely never admit that. They would just be oddly passive-aggressive, or simply aggressive. They would be defensive. They would attack me for no apparent reason.

Generally I’m very cautious about mentioning it. And of course, some people can tell right away, although I’m not sure how. My vocabulary? The odd things I like to talk about? The number of books I’ve read? I really don’t know.

Anyway, the disloyal feeling is admitting publicly that I know that I was smarter than my therapist, and that she was intimidated by that. (Which, in itself, is actually kind of weird because I was definitely smarter than, um, most of my therapists, and yet I’ve never felt guilty about it. Or even thought anything about it, before right now.)

My point in mentioning all this, though, is that I don’t have any idea how smart P is. Maybe we’re even +/- in the same range (which is a very rare occurrence for me). But she’s really well read. Or maybe it’s just that a bunch of the books I found helpful before I met her are books she recommended to me — we have similar sensibilities perhaps?

I know you cannot be friends with your therapist. It would be unethical to try.

I never felt like I was anything like D’s friend, or she was mine. But she was kind of like . . . an honorary aunt. Or a friend of your mother’s that you really like (and I actually did have a friend like that). I mean I know, transference, and all that stuff. I know. And in my mind, me being smarter more than evened out because of the power differential. She seemed to regard me in sort of an aunt-ly way [the feminine equivalent to ‘avuncular’]. If she had been kind of maternal, now, that would’ve set off all sorts of alarms. People who act maternally towards me . . . make me very very nervous. I feel like a small animal caught in a trap. D wasn’t old enough to try grandmotherly. (And I don’t know how well that would work.) But ‘aunt-ly’ was good.

And I . . . kind of still miss her, as an aunt-figure. Because my real aunts have mostly died. And the one that’s still alive, my godmother, . . . well, there’s a deep wound there, that can’t be fixed. So D, out in the world (and no longer in my life at all) still, in my mind, kind of counter-balances that wound just by existing.

P doesn’t bring up any of that type of feeling, at all. I feel like we’re . . . equals? In some weird way. I’ve definitely not felt that way with other therapists.

I mostly haven’t felt like I was equal to my actual friends. Layers and layers of deep-seated shame and self-loathing. Impostor syndrome. All that. (Well, if they were deeply damaged, too, I might feel we were equals in that, but overall, I’d likely still feel they were somehow better/worthier than me.)

But P has been functioning as if she were a friend as emotionally-intimate (or, in some ways, even more) as Spouse. And since I feel . . . equal . . . to her, that aspect is unprecedented in my life. I can’t imagine any circumstances under which I would have showed, never mind read, poems I wrote to a female friend. (Maybe if I hung out with writers? poets?)

Because I’ve spent very little face time with female friends (we’ve often lived far apart), because I’ve often been friends with INTJs, and because I grew up with emotionally-stunted people, I’ve rarely had the experience of seeing my emotions mirrored on someone else’s face. It’s only been therapists who have cried with me. Not friends. Certainly not family members.

P knows my names. She knows my stories. She cares about me.

Yeah, it’s her job. But if it wasn’t for people whose job it was to care about my welfare [my Primary Care doctor, my physical therapists, my psychotherapists], I don’t know how I would have survived the last 4 years.

And since we’re not friends, and since I live nowhere near her, I won’t ever see her again. In two months. Less.

My heart hurts.

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