Herein lies the story that stands between me and everything else I try to write. I have decided that I simply must get it out of the way first before I can go any further.
There’s an old saying: To assume anything makes an ass out of you and me.
Therefore I am going to ask you to hold off on your assumptions for a time and just listen.
Today I went to therapy. It was the talk therapist, Stan, not the pelvis-thrusting Jungian.
Truthfully, I never go see Allen the Jungian by myself. He scares me a little (or a lot). His techniques are unorthodox, but he’s helped us so much that I can’t fault him. Just don’t expect me to be talking about those techniques any time soon.
When I talk about my therapist just know I’m talking about Stan, not Allen. We just won’t talk about Allen. I figure I’ve lost enough readers so far this year that I don’t need to alienate the last eight I have left.
I first met Stan on January 4th in his very old, dingy little office located in one of the few two story buildings in town; right above the Papa Murphy’s Take “N” Bake Pizza.
That morning I had called every therapist in the phone book–except the one who told our son that it was okay to use drugs and the other one who committed adultery with the worship leader from our former church–and Stan was the first one who returned my call. He was willing to see me that night.
At 7pm I climbed the steep, mildewed staircase plucked right out of an old horror movie and stumbled into his office. I hadn’t showered, slept or eaten since New Year’s Eve. (Oh, and I just might have gone on a raging bender on January 2nd that just might have ended when my son-in-law came and took away the guns and my Ambien, but I’m not ready to talk about that yet.)
On January 3rd, before I called Stan, my friend Kelly stopped by. After surveying the “alleged” property damage strewn across the front lawn and blowing down the driveway, she suggested that maybe I was over-reacting just a tad.
I could barely hear her calm voice over the hurricane raging in my mind, but since she had been present at the party I felt I could trust her opinion. I remember straining to listen to her as I floated somewhere outside of my body. Thank God she came. After Kelly’s impassioned speech for sanity and mercy, I called my husband and asked him to come back home. He agreed, with the proviso that I promise not to knife him in his sleep, and that we both go to counseling. I readily agreed.
So on January 4th, there in Stan’s office, I poured out my grief and my shock while he quietly listened, handing out Kleenex like a man lets out the line of a life preserver. By the end of the hour I thought just maybe I might make it another day.
Stan suggested I might want to try eating or sleeping, but I knew that wasn’t going to happen. Food turned to sand in my mouth and with sleep came only nightmares.
Stan and I made a plan for a follow-up appointment and some possibly healthier coping behaviors I could use until I saw him again. I agreed to drink water and avoid alcohol.
The next day I called my personal physician and the moment he saw me he put me on medical leave. And thus began January, 2012; the last year of the Mayans.
I know upon reading this that the reader’s mind will immediately fly into vivid imaginations which is why I’ve asked for patience while I tell this story.
Of course, you want to know: Who’s wearing the black hat and who’s wearing the white hat? We always want to know who is the good guy and who is the bad guy, and just where our sympathies should lie.
I hate to admit it, but on December 31st, even though I might have been the one wearing white, I am hardly the heroine of our story.
And the man in black, as we’ll see over time, is not really the villain either. (Even though he chose to paint on a ridiculous pencil-thin mustache that I hated the entire night and wish I’d wiped off when I had the notion.)
No one is innocent in my story. We’re both the hero and the villain. Like everyone else, we’re complex people with complex problems and baggage and bullshit just trying to figure our way through.
The first week of January my husband and I were both hit by a Mack truck of reality that neither of us saw coming. And we’ve been picking up the pieces ever since.
Our story, the only story worth my telling, is about two people trying to heal themselves and their little corner of the Universe.
I’m going to try very, very hard to tell the story that happened and not the story that I wish had happened, nor the story I want you to read. I’m going to write the truth, so help me, God.