It Might Be Okay To Feel Your Feelings

I had my first therapy appointment about a week ago. It went considerably better than I expected. I was incredibly nervous, which apparently is quite normal. What I expected was the following (or something like it).

“So, why are you here? Tell me a bit about yourself,” says the nice, yet intimidating older therapist lady.

“…well, I’m not sure. I don’t really get along with my mother, which causes a lot of tension…er…fights in the house. I also am, I guess, anxious about a lot of stuff. Like, I don’t know…I just thought this would be a good idea? You know, I figured it couldn’t hurt or whatever,” I reply, timidly, looking around the office at all the books and boxes of Kleenex, tucked in corners for use by clients who burst into tears at a moment’s notice.

“…If that’s all, frankly, I’m not sure I can really help you. You either need to be bonkerballs or…no, that’s really it. So call me when you’re stark raving mad, okay? You do seem awful nice,” comes the somewhat canned response as she hands me a card and sends me on my way.

 

…This clearly did not occur. The therapist was kind and amusing and gentle with the fact that it was blatantly obvious that I was basically terrified. We just chatted and I didn’t come off like a lunatic. I have another appointment coming up and to say I’m looking forward to it is an exaggeration, but it’s certainly not something I’m dreading now. It’s also not something I plan on telling my mother about. There are some things she just doesn’t need to know about, you know?

Jam of the Day – Arkells “11:11”

What I Want To Be When I Grow Up

When I was in high school, or maybe a bit earlier, I decided it might be interesting to be a photographer. This was after I gave up on being a ballerina (too fat and too clumsy), an astronaut (took calculus and couldn’t add), and for a brief time, Prince William’s Wife (too American and too common).

However, I eventually harbored a secret dream. I thought I might like to be a singer. Perhaps I would be on the stage and singing on Broadway, in some smash musical, or maybe I would be like Adele, except not nearly as good. I had settled, in my head, for an average career. Playing small venues perhaps, being a sort of “indie” artist. The one everyone listened to before it was cool to hear them on the radio.

The only problem to all of my planning and daydreaming about who I would write songs with and what gown I would wear to the Oscars (as I was obviously nominated for Best Song), is I have a massive case of stage fright. In high school I did a few plays and the act of speaking in front of others isn’t nerve wracking at all. I did it just fine.

Singing in front of other people, on the other hand, was a recipe for disaster. Sweaty palms, nausea, headaches, I just couldn’t breathe. Who, in their right mind, DID this sort of thing? I remember I auditioned once for a musical and I actually had to sing in front of ten other people.
TEN.
I nearly passed out. I started so quietly I think only bats heard me and I had my eyes closed. Sweating through my t shirt I sang “Fever”, which I’d done loudly and proudly many a time in the shower and car, terrified out of my mind. I had my audience (my friends, really (I went to a very, very, small school)) snapping along, trying to be encouraging, but when you’re in near tears, the only thing you want is for the floor to open and swallow you whole, or for God to smite you then and there for all of your sins. At 16ish, I didn’t have nearly enough sins to warrant it, I was an obnoxiously rule abiding child.

This single experience, this one audition in what can be considered by most basically all to be an annoyingly “safe space” was enough to convince me of my crippling stage fright. I was content to be backup in a musical (if needed), not on stage at all (even better), and to hold my own shows in the safety of my car, where no one could hear me.

Jam of the day – The Revivalists “Wish I Knew You”