Bare (part III)

It was agony to sit in the waiting area of the therapists office waiting to be invited back. My thoughts hammered at each other. 

What am I doing here? There are people with actual problems. What is my therapist going to think when I introduce myself, and say, "No, I didn't have a traumatic experience. My marriage isn't falling apart. I don't have a disorder or a destructive relationship with my mother. I'm know. Mad about stuff."

I imagined a severe looking skirt-suited woman with a tight bun and angled glasses sitting back into her leather wingback armchair, pen poised to notepad, peering at me dubiously. "What 'stuff'?" she'd ask. 

"Oh!" I'd nervously laugh and wave my hand at some imaginary fly of a problem. "You know. Just...everything. But nothing. I'm not sure?"

And then she'd give a weighty sigh and shake her head and write in big letters across the top of her notepad: ANOTHER SPOILED BRAT.

What if I didn't deserve to be here? What if I was totally off-base and just thought I was way too self-important? What if my sudden lack of ability to cope with nothing more than my every day life (with an amazing husband and three awesome kids, I might add) was nothing more than a really gross representation of my own immaturity?

Another part of me was terrified that the words across the top of that notepad would read: CHEMICAL IMBALANCE. MEDICATE IMMEDIATELY.

After all, there was a reason I couldn't cope when there was absolutely nothing wrong. 

But an even deeper part of me kept calmly telling myself: You deserve to be here. Because you deserve to be happy. And there is something wrong. That is what you have been trying to tell yourself. And now, lucky girl! You get to figure out what it is, and make it better!

I liked that voice. I tried to listen to that voice and hush out the others. But one kept squeaking past...what if I find out there is something truly wrong with me? What kind of flood gates am I opening, here?

"Stephanie?" A tall, blonde woman walked down the stairs and looked at me questioningly with kind, smile-wrinkled eyes. 

I stood. "Stepper," I said, holding out my hand. Were those stairs always there? 

"Janey," she said. "Nice to meet you. Come on up."

I tried to take her all in as we made our way up the stairs to her office. She was on the older end of middle aged, but gave off the distinct impression that age didn't matter one whit to her. It was Fall, and she was wearing flip-flops. As nervous as I was, I still managed to like her, immediately. 

I was eagerly curious about the inside of her office. I wondered if a "shrink's" office was anything like I'd seen in the movies. All leather and hardbacks and plants and zen. The first thing I noticed was the couch. There were two other arm chairs, and I wondered where I was supposed to sit? Did people really lay on the couch in a therapists' office and tell the story of their life? 

There were tiny flip-flops attached to a cork board behind her desk, and a framed quote about flip flops - give me flip flops or give me death? I don't remember, now - but I remember thinking...okay, so flip flops. 

"Uhm...where do I sit?" I asked lamely. I eyed the couch accusingly. 

"Wherever you want," she said. "Wherever looks most comfortable." 

I straightened. Already, I had to make a decision in front of this person who was about to professionally dissect my emotional brain, and I had to figure out which of all the options was the most COMFORTABLE? Like...comfortable how? 

The few seconds I took considering felt like ages, but finally I turned and sat at the far end of the couch. Furthest from the door. I wondered if that said anything about me?

But Janey wasn't looking at me. She was pulling out a yellow notepad and settling into her computer chair. It struck me as odd how normal she looked. No skirt suit. No peering over glasses. Just a person in a sweater and jeans and...flip flops...writing my name at the top of a yellow notepad. She wasn't even trying to conceal it from me.

"So!" She said and looked up at me. Her clear blue eyes told me that she had no judgements, yet, about who or what I was - but that she was very willing to like me. And...I could tell...was very willing to laugh. "Tell me about Stepper."

I took a deep breath. 

Why was I already beginning to cry? be continued...