I’ve gone to therapy a bunch of times in my life. I’ve gone on my own. Nobody has made me go. It’s never been court ordered. Pause for laughter. I’ve gone to therapy but I haven’t really gone. I mean I show up, I stick out my time, but I’ve never really gotten to the bottom of it. I skirt around the issues. I remember countless times saying “this has nothing to do with my father” even though it obviously did. I didn’t want him to get credit for anything. Even the bad stuff. The point is I never had a breakthrough. I never whipped anything across the room screaming crying. I never got that deep. I wanted to. I wanted a therapist who was no nonense, a Jon Taffer of therapists, who said things like “Again with the father stuff? Get out and don’t come back until you’ve got a new story” I think that would have helped. I want people to like me. If I thought the therapist didn’t like me, well, I just might make a change.
Most of the time in therapy I am trying to figure out if me and the therapist have any friends in common, because I don’t want her telling Claire I think she’s annoying. I show up for a session like I’m visiting a shut in – I bring food, I share funny stories, and I stop myself from asking a lot of questions. I really did bring food to therapy at one point in my life. It was a great intimacy avoidance prop. Whenever the conversation started getting real touchy feely, I‘d whip out a meatball sub. It’s hard to access painful memories while eating a meatball sub. Try it. I actually got into trouble for eating in therapy. First it was no meatball subs, then no sandwiches, then no food at all. She even hung a No Eating sign. I was the impetus for my therapist setting new boundaries with all her patients. I like to call it the Kendra Constituent. Mostly because it sounds good.
I recently went back to therapy and found a new therapist who is closer to no nonense than any other I have been to. I picked her based on her name. Geraldine. Sounds smart with the possibility of compassion. She’s seen and heard it all. I knew it was a gamble basing my choice on fabricated personality characteristics but it made it fun.
I really like Geraldine’s line of questioning. She gets to the meat of the problem without letting me know what she is doing. If I go in and drone on about how I got so fed up with the bad banana selection in my neighborhood, she’ll ask “why are you so mad?”
Me: “Because I feel like I should be able to get a good banana with no problems. I should be happy with little effort”
Geraldine nods an Ahha.
Her: “Why do you feel like you shouldn’t have to put in any effort?”
Me: “Because I don’t want to. I don’t feel like it. I only want to do things I feel like doing. I’ve been trying all my life”
Her: “So you don’t feel like you ever got to be free of responsibilities? What were you like as a child?”
I pull out a meatball sub.
It’s 10:20 am.
Thanks for listening!
Kendra is a stand up comic living in Brooklyn where she owns a super comfortable bed.