I left work a little early to accommodate my 7pm appointment with a counselor I found in an online search for gay therapists in the area. When I first entered her enclosed porch, I was met with seven leashes hanging from the wall and a cascade of barking behind closed doors. I liked her already. She came out and pointed me toward her downstairs office where I sat, clenched and uncertain. I decided to seek therapy again because I’m not motivated at work – I routinely let details fly by me, I wake every morning dreading the day ahead, and I’ve been unable to impress anyone here with the skills I know I have but are hidden away for reasons I’ve yet to understand.
It was an awkward start but there was no reason to believe it would be anything else. She sat across from me, her hair severely parted in the middle, and her eyes large and kind. After making some small talk about my new geography and Bob, I started talking about Billy. It was the first time in a long, long while since I’ve verbalized the events that shattered our lives two years ago, and the flow of tears was familiar. She reached out and put her hand on my leg as I stuttered my way through the basics.
“I can’t imagine what you’re going through,” she said. I nodded in grim agreement.
After I was done, I gathered my breath and she started asking me questions.
“Do you like the outdoors? Outdoor activities?” she asked.
“Um. Not really.”
“How about hobbies? Do you like any sports or what do you like doing in your free time?”
“I like watching TV,” I said, my eyes cast downward but I looked up to see her reaction and I felt silly saying it.
“Okay,” she said, digging deep to find an upbeat tone to her response. “So you work and then go home and then back to work?”
“What about weekends?” she asked.
“Well, I like going to movies and watch TV,” I hoped there wasn’t a defensive tone to my response. I told her I met a friend here, one I care about very much, and with whom I spend time on the weekends. At that point, she needed to hear it.
“I like to write,” I blurted.
Her heavy eyebrows slightly rose and our eyes met. She started to tell me about different organizations that welcome volunteers and she suggested I might want to do something with the HRC or a similar gay organization. “But not, you know, to meet someone. You know, like that.” I nodded, understanding all too well what she meant. I explained my gay issues to her. She offered that perhaps a grief group would be a good outlet. I told her of my experience. I could see she was getting a little frustrated by the been-there-done-thatness I offered her.
“Well, writing is good. You’re working through it.”
I sat, drained, and I saw the clock nearing our good-bye. We set up the next appointment and she hugged me on my way out. I drove home while crying. It’s been a while since I had a bleary drive. I came home, gave Bob a tougher hug than he was prepared for, and settled in for the night. It wasn’t until I put my head on my pillow with Bob’s paw in my hand that I started to think of all the things that I could do better at work.
I’m determined not to make this therapy a redundant experience. There are very specific goals I want to achieve, not the least of which is racking my focus onto my career and the opportunities that will spring from it to further the larger goal of Billy’s foundation. I’m not wasting my time and money going over the same territory of past therapy because nothing or no one, not even a sweet-hearted hippie woman, can accomplish what I really want.