322.0: Why I love therapy.
One of my coworkers let me take a picture of the front of her journal. She wrote out a title that is more of a self-motivation: I’m in love with cities I’ve never been to and people I’ve never met. This artful scrawl is superimposed over a map of Europe. I giggled and said to her, “I can relate to the part about falling in love with people I’ve never met. As you know from reading my blog.”
Her grin was wide and knowing. “Lincecum.”
Actually, it’s still weird for me to speak out loud about my never-to-be-sents and it isn’t for the reasons of self-consciousness and awkwardness that are justifiably expected. What’s weird about bringing them up in normal conversation is the exposure of the fantasy to reality. In the same way that the ancients dared not to utter the creator’s name, there’s a lost sanctity that happens if I am asked or otherwise provoked into an answer about these letters. I will give the answer but suddenly and violently the letters are diminished, somehow; left to wither upon the vines of hope fluttering defenselessly in the winds of life.
Lately I have been bumping into a lot of things. I’ve never been graceful and many times I have been jokingly called “blonde” because I overlook obvious things. But I feel that these bad oversights have been occurring more often. The simplest explanation is that I think I may need a new prescription for my eyeglasses, and I presume this because even though I haven’t been doing so much, I have been straining my eyes during more instances than I’d like. But I am predicting that whenever I do finally go to the eye doctor — which will not be for a while, since vision is not covered under Healthy San Francisco, and at my job I am still a few months away from private insurance — I will be simply told that if my prescription has changed at all, it hasn’t by much, so that wouldn’t explain why I’m suddenly moving with so much clueless measure. Perhaps it is due to an emergent state of being restive: I coast my way through tasks that are all too routine and thereby not paying attention to ordinary details, like this morning when I was pouring myself a cup of coffee and moved in such a way that I bumped into the refrigerator that I had been pretty sure I was far enough away from. I don’t know where my mind is. I may never know the real explanation beyond that I just need to pay better attention to stuff.
For the next few weeks, it looks as if my weekends are going to be split between Thursdays and Saturdays. By the way, on a related note, did I tell you that the store got a new manager? Thank goodness there was enough time for me to at least get chummy with him, if not to become friends, because the manager who hired me has left to pursue teaching full-time. He was a good boss and a mellow person overall who allowed me a whole day off, as opposed to just a single shift (which would have been good enough for me), as dedicated space for my weekly therapy appointments. His replacement has a different personality but is just as amicable and has allowed me the same courtesy for my therapy, which was recently shifted to Thursdays from another day. And just like with the old boss, I have that whole day off as well — so in the luck of the retail scheduling draw, the other half of my weekend happens to fall on a Saturday.
My old boss was the kind of guy to whom I could open up about why I needed that dedicated time off. We never talked about it much after I initially explained about therapy as the reason why I would regularly need the time off, but he didn’t bat an eyelash either, and whenever he would check up on me about my availability, I detected an undercurrent of sympathy when he’d ask, “So how’s That Thing going?”
Therapy isn’t something I talk about with just anyone, of course, but I also don’t hide that it is a part of my life. It’s useful, Linc, and dare I say that it is holds equal critical value with running as a fitness routine. Therapy doesn’t mean a person is crazy or is admitting to anything other than the fact that the person seeing the therapist is doing so because the person just needs someone to talk to who is in a role and a space that friends, family and even the real world cannot fulfill — and I say “real world” with great conviction, because the space of the therapist is a shelter, Linc. Besides these never-to-be-sents and the Our Ballpark fantasy, therapy is that rarified space in the real world where I have felt most like myself and not only is it where I have unburdened life’s daily burdens, it is where, for years, since at least 2006, I have worked with the same person to process those burdens.
Therapy isn’t about solving a problem or unearthing a singular solution. Therapy is journey yet not necessarily destination. It’s about developing the strength and smarts to move on, and to keep moving on — and it’s a good fit for people like me, whose endless search of self and the world at large would seem like a waste of time to even his closest confidants. In my therapist I have confided intensely private agonies, made complains, even quarreled. And then we worked through them. When I first came to the realization that my most successful long-term adult relationship has been with my therapist, I cracked up with such a mixture of amusement and sorrow that, in fact, I did shed some tears. And then I thought about it some more, and after a very hesitant acceptance of the reality, I was filled with gratitude. I don’t know what I would do without my therapist, Linc. (And before you can make a crack about whether or not I’ve considered hooking up with her, let me remind you that not only have I established myself as a little bit of a prude, but the important reminder that my therapist is, in fact, a her.)
Church yesterday was fantastic. Because of my work schedule, my attendance has been sporadic yet, startlingly, each time I do go, the sermon has some direct correlation with something very specific going on in my life at that moment. Maybe I’m just seeing what I want to see. (Isn’t that what belief is, anyway?) Yesterday’s service was no different. When the pastor stood up and reflected on the reading from Acts, my chest rose with the kind of anxious revelatory fervor that asks, How did you know that?
Of course, to even say that I’m going to church makes me sound incredibly self-righteous, so I want to counter the notion by admitting that I could not resist temptation. I was a bad boy, Linc. I kept checking the ballgame score. (Of course, I now know the outcome, and you probably don’t want to talk about it.) Every free moment that presented itself, like when we took a break between readings, or when it was time to get in line for communion — or (my God, how vehemently sacrilegious) during prayer — so great was the urge to get my phone and refresh the Giants home page that rather than continuing to tell myself that damnit, I’m in church and shouldn’t that matter a hell of a lot more than a ballgame, I did it anyway.