I used to be in therapy.
I’m a neurotic New Yorker who was raised by overprotective Jewish parents. Of course I used to be in therapy. Not my whole life, mind you. But I was a depressed teenager, miserable and ugly and overwhelmingly threatened by my own intelligence and subsequent lack of friends. But so what? It’s a popular history, and yes I use that word ironically, that I share. So in college I went back and forth, seasonally, to see a man who looked and acted exactly like the Big Lebowski. He would lean back in his chair and stare at his Dali-style melting grandfather clock, look back at me in the big, black leather chair on the multi-colored shag rug, and shrug. “Yeah, kid,” he said, “You’re depressed. I mean, come on. You smoke a lot of pot. Hell. This isn’t the prettiest campus. So I don’t know. Yeah, depressed, of course. Maybe you should write that book, kid.”
When I graduated from college I spent a summer at home in Dutchess County, New York, alternately lounging in the hot tub and applying for jobs. I drank a lot at my father’s bar and took my old black lab on long walks down the cul-de-sac.
I got a job at a publishing house that August and moved to Manhattan that weekend. A few weeks later, my beloved dog passed away. My then-boyfriend, who was planning to move to New York, called to say he had been accepted into the Peace Corps. I was back in therapy before you could say long-distance-relationship. The boyfriend moved to Manhattan to begin a long and miserable five month break up process. That November, my aunt passed away from cancer. The boyfriend left for Ukraine in March. Later that spring, my grandmother died.
Desperate times call for desperate crying jags on the couch of a woman I paid $100 an hour to see. And she was fantastic. By the summer, I had picked up the pieces of my fractured heart and surged ahead with my life. I was promoted at work, reconciling my losses, dating again. So I stopped going to therapy. That was about a year ago.
I think the people who end up in therapy for years use it incorrectly. When I saw my last therapist, I talked nonstop about everything. Childhood, college, drugs, sex, jealousy, ambition: All of it was on the table. And while my therapist meant well, it was mostly me who was able to name the answers to my problems, the explanations to my quirks. The more I talked about everything, the more epiphanies I experienced.
Now that I’m not in therapy, I rely on the very closest of my friends to listen to me talk. My dear friend Chana listened to my drunken musings on my relationship with my mother after a drunken book club went down hill after our third cocktail. My wise friend Darren helped me realize the reason I cut off my ex-boyfriend was not out of principal, rather, my own desperation to gain control over a situation in which I had none.
I also use this blog. This blog, which was started as a sort of easy device for me to copy the drunken poetry from my moleskin notebook, has recently taken the shape of a diary of sorts. I cringe to admit it has taken the form of a real, ugh, blog.
Indeed, I remember a “friend” in college who had a blog she advertised in her away messages. A notable posting was intended to ameliorate her isolation, I’m sure, yet listed all of us, her “friends”, and explained why she was too cool to hang out with us. Ah, that blog post kept us going for years. I never understood why a girl who was lonely would trash the only friends she had in a public forum. I never wanted anyone to read my diary but the select few entries I deemed appropriate and grand.
This is not a diary. I don’t know what it is, but I am not stupid enough to make this a diary. And while there are friends of mine who are aware of its presence, the bulk of my people have no clue I have this rinky-dink word show. In fact, my friend Chana brought it up at my book club, which contains five of my best friends, and one of my oldest friends from college was struck by my secrecy. And it wasn’t that I was hiding it from her, per se, rather, I never want a stupid collection of paragraphs and sentences that are most always written at one in the morning (it is currently 1:26am) to define me or isolate me or generate anything but perhaps an amusingly slight self-understanding. It keeps me writing.
So I hope this makes more sense to the 20 some-odd readers of this humble, self-indulgent creation. You are, all of you, so much cheaper than a good therapist, and twice as lovely.