(this is just a glimpse into apart of my story that got me talking, a part of my story that showed me there is more out there. It’s a small piece in the puzzle of “hope is a verb” and my call to spain and to movement)
I’ll never forget the first time I sat in the little waiting room at my counselors office. We’d talk on the phone twice and he’d emailed me intake forms that I’d filled out the night before.
Needless to say I was scared.
Scared to sit in a tiny room with this man I didn’t know.
Scared to reveal the fact that I was falling apart. Scared to cry (which I didn’t do for weeks)
Scared to show my weakness.
I was scared to have someone I saw a semi regular basis (he was a preschool parent) see me. Like really see me.
It was scary to sit on the couch in this windowless office and answer questions no one had ever thought to ask me.
Questions about hurt, pain, joy, happiness.
I’d like to tell you it got easier with time.
I mean I guess it did.
But for me, talking about myself wasn’t the easiest thing in the world.
Can’t I just listen to your stuff?
I am so good at that.
I remember one week, a month or so into this therapy journey looking him straight in the face and telling him that I hated talking about myself. And that I felt that therapy was causing me to only talk about myself/think about myself.
And I detested it.
I remember him recrossing his legs and taking a moment. I’ll never forget the look on his face.
He then told me he thought I probably only thought about myself 10 or 20% of the time.
I talked about myself ALL the time.
But of course as I went into that next week I noticed that he was right.
And it’s so funny. Because I could WRITE about myself so easily.
But I had no idea how to talk about myself, or what I was going through or how I felt. I was the purveyor of the “I don’t know” or the “I’m ok”
And now, 5 years to the week that I sat in that therapy office for the first time, I’ve gotten better. I’ve sat in more hours of therapy than I might like to admit, I went on this crazy, spiritual journey that demanded I be open and vulnerable.
I can talk about myself now. How I’m feeling.
But what I’ve noticed is sadly; I’m in the minority.
There are a lot of people who don’t even know where to start. We live in this short hand society where a sad face emoticon is put in place to mean 50 different emotions.
I’m not saying everyone needs to go to therapy and talk about their issues for 50 minutes a week but what I am saying is (to quote my friend Catherine Rosseli) we need to commit to opening up our mouths.
We need a person, a group, maybe even, yes a therapist, where we start to talk. Where we open our mouths and let our story flow.
I think we’d be amazing at what kind of people we could be come.
What kind of friendships we could have. What kind of relationships we could be in.
What kind of kids we could raise
If we only took time to find out what sad is, what happy is, what mad is, what excited is, what hurt is.
Like I said: It’s been 5 years since the first time I walked into that therapy room. (February 25th 2009 because I’m good with dates like that).
And yes, It never got completely easy to walk into that office. There were some months I only went once, others where I went every week.
I went and saw him after I came back from the race. And even after a year away it was still a little hard to sit on the couch. But that’s ok. I don’t think it will ever be completely easy to sit and talk about hurt or pain.
Because it is hurt and it is pain.
But if we can’t recognize the things that hurt us how are we supposed to recognize the places where we are truly happy?
(Because not everything can be solved with one of these 🙂 or one of these 😦 )
Step away from the shorthand and emoticons even for the moment. Sit down across from a friend at a coffee shop, pull up skype and call a friend across the country or even yes, sit on a couch in a therapist office.
Because, my friends, it’s so good for your soul.