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or ...Live On McDuffer!
2010-03-11 9:50 AM
More Process..The Endless Mess of My Life Reconsidered?
What a relief not to go back to see the therapist I had been working with most recently.
She moved from the original office she had been using when I first met her to another one several more miles away from my home.
On top of that she has a colleague with a face having eyes that are empty of compassion, humor, or joy. This face brings me to a search for antonyms, this austere, severe, stark, stern hatchet-face that takes itself so seriously.
As I sat in the waiting room, having arrived late, due to record depths of snow that had made travel more than hazardous. This woman made a point of announcing, so we both could hear the pronouncement, to the receptionist that the fellow who was awaiting her, also having become late due to impossible weather conditions, would be allowed to be seen only until the next one arrived. Making the point that her schedule was of the utmost importance.
(As I remember she called the next one a Patient, I believe, while, I, feeling a kinship with the one waiting with me in the office, I might term the guy, as well as the next to arrive a Victim followed by yet another in a series of entrapped humans in need of understanding, comfort, reassurance, encouragement.)
Now, See... I like therapists who call their counterparts in the process Clients...it gives more credence to the person who agrees to be seen.
Ah, well, but: "Whatever!"
My last therapist, let's call her Gwynn. (Not only because that's near unto her real name in life as we know it but because it is rather a nice name.) And my last therapist is a fairly nice person. Maybe, as someone once told her, she seems so interested and so caring in the listening mode because her father-- by his own hand-- ended his life too early in Gwynne's life.
As I told her in one of the final sessions that we had, before I terminated, maybe his suicide was a very great gift, albeit, of course, a great tragedy for Gwynne, maybe his suicide was a huge gift to me.
Otherwise, you see, Gwynne might be the wearer, instead, of a hatchet face and an outlandishly stern demeanor. But, not she. No.
She had a kind look about her and a gentle smile that reminded me of my mother who couldn't have been gentler and continue to exist.
She no longer exists, my mother. Is this perhaps because she was too gentle? It was a thing that Alison (my dearest but too soon departed best-friend painter Alison McMaugh) used to tell me: "Ah, Barbara," she would say, "...you're too gentle...."
And again, Whatever. In our sessions I could almost always make Gwynne laugh. Probably why I kept coming back at all, I'm guessing, her breaking from her constant concern for others to laugh.
But the biggest laugh I elicited from her was the open-throat, head-back-tossing laughter she unleashed when I said I had the previous night considered what a fun thing it would be if she and I took a trip to up-state New York to see James Van Praagh, the guy who "sees dead people"...she found that idea nothing short of uproarious, which, I must say, gave me a good-sized pang of sadness, since I had truly thought it would be fun.
The very idea, her laughter said, I mean REEally!
That put one of the ultimate seals on the death of our relationship, and the other main one was that she didn't like "The Horse's Mouth" because she couldn't get the references, principally among which or a prime example of which is her lack of awareness of what is "...a Constable Sky...." For anyone who knows what it is, or rather was, If that particular anyone, moreover, is an artist, such as am I... that lack of awareness is perhaps an unforgiveable ignorance in one who purports to understand an artistic sensibility.
"Well, Ok." she said, when I told her that day that I was going to terminate therapy, "But you've got to promise me that you will write about your life."
When I asked her why I "must write" she said that it was imperative that I face the experiences that have made me such a very sad old woman (my self-description, it must be noted) so that I can place them behind me and go on, go beyond them.
Well, hell, and a whole lotta shit...fercryinoutloud, what else am I going to write about...in fictive form or otherwise, It is who I am, you know...so, ok. I am writing, but I have faced all those tragic experiences so many times in several varying therapeutic circumstances during the intervening years since they happened in my earlier life, why not, I ask you, why not just go on. Just go on beyond them. Take the exit ramp off Interminable Therapy Highway, and travel on Life As We Know It Avenue. Hmmm? Why not.
But, first, I think it worth my time to make further mention of that Freudian Quackess who works with Gwynn, that is, she shares the office with this woman.
I would no more pay to see that Freudian Female Fuckhead for her opinion than I would take seriously the word of a college freshman psych major as it relates to love, or life, its wonders to be lived, never mind the pursuit of happiness; whatever that might appear to be.
Her manner and demeanor puts me in mind of someone I remember from my days as a part-time proctor and profiler in the counseling center in my Freshman year of college. There were maybe a dozen therapists on staff available to students for consult during their college years.
I recall only seeing maybe half their number when they would appear at our counter picking up their Kuder or Strong or MMPI test results for use in assessing and or assisting their counselees.
Their different personalities came across in the work place most clearly. It was very easy to see who I would never consider disclosing personal concerns to in a professional relationship. Some were light, airy, even sunny, in disposition, others' auras came across the counter like the brooding aftermath of some dreadful tragedy.
By way of example of the latter was this: One morning a grad student who was seeing clients came in with some artwork to show us. The scene was a desolate landscape having ragged tree stumps, dead and dying plants, animal parts and human bits ranging across a horizontal field having no shadow, not much in the way of clear light source. What a mortally sad and dismal line drawing it was. So much so that it induced from the office manager a gasp of shock when first she laid eyes on it.
I asked to see it, after she was told by this therapist / grad student that he, himself had executed (as it were) the drawing, when she asked for his tentative diagnosis of the presumable counselee, who she initially thought had created the catastrophic thing on paper he had brought in so proudly for us to see.
When he left she looked at me and Pete (her co-managerial guy in the office who was working with Gwenn Norrell the head of the counseling center and testing office) in rather obvious chagrin, none of us had much to say about it, said picture being worth many more than a thousand thoroughly upsetting words. That after-effect and / or affect of the image pretty much covered the topic thoroughly enough for the three of us. It was clear that someone was having a maximal amount of psychic pain, and it left us with more than we would liked to remember about it, so we quickly changed the subject and went back to work.
Now, when I was a student it was my economic lot to have to work at least two part-time jobs at once in order to cover my rent and tuition and book expenses etc each term. It so happened that I also waited table in an Italian restaurant that had some great sandwiches.
The grad student(let's call him Cary Morbidly, whose middle name could well have been "On") frequented my table-waiting workplace with his girlfriend. A more simperingly sweet and excessively solicitous, ultra-pandering girlfriend would, in any era, probably never be found upon the planet than this grad-student's girl.
He never failed to find something abjectly wretched about the food that I might bring to him from the cook. How maximally abhorant a bit of tomato sauce might be that might accidentally appear on a corner of a slice of bread, onions that not only were NOT fresh, but TOO plentiful.... He would place his elbows on the table on each side of the plate, holding his forehead in seeming agony while she would call me over to rectify the horror that had given him his latest bout with excruciating pain; his present and perhaps the world's greatest culinary misfortune as might be at hand. Oh, the Woe!
Imagine going to see this guy in an office and request advice and encouragement regarding one's classes, parents, or room-mates.
What a sad state of affairs that might be. I cannot find one to surpass it but for the Hatchet-Faced Freudienne that rents the office next door to old Gwynnie, the therapist who thinks hilarious any shred of actual friendship that might exist between us, she and I.
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