My Delicious Victory

It’s been a long week, dear Psychos.

Last night I really wanted some wine. I had been saving a bottle of Pino Grigio, which is my fave, and we were too exhausted/overwhelmed to open it on election day…or when the results were finally called…or anywhere in between.

At any rate, last night was the night. My mind was made up.

I’m not great at opening bottles of wine. And by not great I mean I suck at it and rarely attempt it. I’ve come to prefer boxed wine, quite frankly. I’m all about breaking down barriers.

Nevertheless, I am a modern, empowered woman and I wasn’t going to let a little plug of endangered tree bark wedge itself between me and my wildest dreams.

I got out the wine and a corkscrew and that little thingy you use to cut off the junk that covers up the opening. (Please allow me to amaze you with my knowledge of technical wine jargon!) I inspected the bottle to check if the top would simply screw off. I gave it a good yank (that’s what she said) and it didn’t budge. I proceeded with using the little cutting tool thingy. First, I couldn’t figure out how it fit onto the bottle. It kept slipping off as I tried to turn it (dear lord, she said that too), and I set everything down, frustrated.

Now Psychos, while I am a strong, independent woman, I am also not above asking for help. My husband was home, but he was upstairs giving baths to the kids. There was no way I was going upstairs and risk being asked to help or getting guilted into reading bedtime stories involving talking trains or various scratch-and-sniff Christmas items. That meant that if I wanted help, I had to wait. Temporarily defeated, I left all the tools sitting out and I went and sat down in front of the TV with a glass of water.

Water, y’all.

I lasted a few minutes before I got up and went back into the kitchen with a surge of I’m gonna fucking do this. I wrenched down hard on the cutting tool and cut through enough that I was able to pick it off the bottle. I looked in and there wasn’t any cork. Weird, I thought, but score! I poured myself a glass and was triumphant in my delicious victory.

Fast forward to this morning, when my husband saw the partial bottle in the fridge.

“You know this was a screw top, right? You cut right through the cap.” He pointed.

“Huh. That would explain why it didn’t have a cork.”

Nobody needs to worry about me. When I want something I’ll just claw at it until I get it.


Day 10

Keeping the Cray at Bay: Some thoughts on small-town yoga

I have been doing yoga for a long time now, and I’ve figured out the hard way that if I don’t do yoga frequently, it makes me feel something something.

Recently, I’ve been signing up to do yoga through our local parks and rec. It’s cheap, it’s local, and there isn’t another way to do yoga in this town unless you’re selling your soul to the gym gods. That means joining a gym. I tried to make a joke but I’m tired.

Apparently, signing up for an exercise class via P&R if you’re under 40 means that you’re the youngest lass in the class…by like 15 years, at least.

Do you know what this means?

Unfortunately, it means that the class is pretty too very much easy for me. But at least yoga is an individual sport where I can just do an extra twist or add a limb in there and make it a little more of a workout.

On the upside, this means that I look like a friggin ROCKSTAR! The instructor takes all this time explaining the pose and how to use all these props to keep your shoulders in their sockets and I’ve already got both my legs behind my head.

Seriously, though, there are several poses that I can do that the instructor can’t, which means several times she’s been describing the pose while I’m already doing said pose, and I’m spacing-out-while-trying-to-concentrate-and-not-fall-on-my-ass, and she points to me and says, “Just do what Melissa’s doing.” And then I snorted. I was flattered and surprised; it was a flatprised snort.

On another random note: This instructor’s look and voice quality reminds me strongly of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, and you guys, I cannot express how calm and safe that makes me feel. She’s middle-aged, female, blonde, and her voice is calm, steady, earnest, and full of wisdom.

Before discovering this class, I remember saying that I really wanted to be able to do yoga to the commanding female voice-energy of Cate Blanchett playing Galadriel in Lord of the Rings.

Frooodooo…..now dooo down-ward facing doooog. AT ONCE!

But Dr. Ford is a close second. Or maybe not even second, just…different. Her energy is exactly what I need right now. What a lot of us need, I think. It’s protective. It’s quietly empowering. Right now, for me, it’s pretty transformative.

Another random thought: Just last night my yoga-teacher-Dr.-Ford-doppelganger said….aahhh crap and I forgot the exact wording, but it was something like:

The way you practice having balance is by losing it.

And maybe it was my headspace at the time, or the way she said it, or both, but it was one of those quotes that just hit me, you know? Probably because it works on both literal and figurative levels.

So, I’m not sure what my point is except that I enjoy yoga and it makes me feel great.

In short, it keeps the crazy at bay.

The cray at bay, if you will.


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Suspended in Joy

For those of you who know me, you know I’m not a risk taker.

I like rules (as long as the rules aren’t dumb, but that’s for another post), I like feeling safe and warm and cozy. Preferably with hot chocolate and a good book.

But I also like doing new things and pushing my comfort zone…within limits. My MOMS Club group found a photo from another chapter where they did this spunky thing called aerial yoga. This sounded right up my alley.

We’re spunky, too. We said.

We can do that even better. With more flare. We didn’t really say.

Fuck those bitches. We’re already signed up. Now I’m just making things up.

I was excited to go. I figured it’d be fun and that I’d probably do okay because I’ve been doing yoga on the regular for a solid 15 years now. Am I the most athletic person? No way. Do I have any upper body strength to speak of? A big fat nooooope. Is my core strength completely shot from surgery and having two kids? You bet.

But hey, let’s give this a shot. We had a private class all set up, so this was a safe space in which to potentially make a fool of myself.

Ohmigosh, you guys. Once we got into those hammocks and I was enveloped by the silky fabric (meaning: no one could see my face), I was grinning like a giddy kid on Christmas morning. The teacher ran the class pretty much like a typical yoga class, so there was time when we were doing normal yoga stretches and breathing, only suspended in pure joy.

It felt awkward, for sure. But it also felt so liberating! Something about swinging and hammocks awakened this inner child in me and I just felt so free. You know that part in Eat, Pray, Love when the wise man in Bali says to smile with your mind, your heart, and even in your liver? My liver was smiling lobe to lobe.

There was something about the hammocks that felt very cocoon-like, womb-like, and very primal. (I have several different metaphors churning around in my head so bear with me.) During shavasana at the end of class, I could peek out and see everyone else’s silhouettes. We all looked kinda like a family of bats hanging upside down in peaceful, creepy sleep, or like corpses caught and wrapped in colorful spiderwebs, spinning slowly and silently, also creepily. I wiggled and squirmed around, completely enveloped and feeling safe and relaxed, and it was warm and sweaty, and at the end I emerged – was born from the hammock – feeling new and different, albeit sweaty and sore. (So I guess my two emerging themes are both about change and transformation: one about sleep, death, corpses…and one about cocoons, wombs, rebirth and metamorphosis. Joking aside, the symbolic implications of this experience were extremely palpable for me. My high school English teachers would be pretty proud.)

I pushed my body to do things I wasn’t sure I could do. The teacher demonstrated an acrobatic move at the end and I wanted to give it a try even though it kinda wigged me out. I needed help getting positioned on the damn hammock, which cut into my side fat like that string you use to tie up a turducken (I don’t cook, clearly), and my movements were far from graceful, but I DID IT! I was inverted and pulling myself up and sliding through and hanging by one leg and I’m just proud of myself. And it was all safe, in this controlled environment. Pretty perfect for me.

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Even before the night was over, I could tell that my body would be screaming in protest at all this…exertion. I wasn’t wrong. My triceps are shot and my side fat (ok, fine, love handles) is bruised and I learned that I have these things called “lats,” and guess what – they hurt too. And don’t even give me crap about toxins leaving my body – the pain is still here and I think it’s camping out for a few days.

But. This kind of soreness – the kind where I’m not injured, just hurting – is the best kind. It’s proof that I did something awesome with my body. I actually used it and pushed it to do cool stuff I didn’t even know I could do. Total empowerment, not even kidding.

So I’m writing this to capture the feeling I felt last night and continue to feel today. Maybe I need to go back. Maybe I need one of those things installed in my house. Not creepy in the least.

I didn’t even know aerial yoga was on my bucket list until I crossed it off.

Shrinks: The good, the bad, and the alligator fetishes

Have you ever had a crappy therapist?

You’re not alone.

I recently read (ok, skimmed) this article thingy on firing your shrink if ve sucks.

First of all, there are a lot of crappy therapists out there.  Unfortunately.  I am flabbergasted as to why and how these people 1) pick this profession and 2) get through the master’s or PhD programs and then get through the intern process and then get through the licensing process (and then should be read with Dude Where’s My Car? drive through window lady voice: and deeeeeeeeen).  I have met many, and indeed some have even been my clinical supervisors.  When you come across therapists who are just plain mean, clueless, and/or unethical, please fire them.   Do it now.  Seriously, why haven’t you done it yet?

Having said that, there’s an important difference between a downright bad therapist versus a therapist who is otherwise great, but simply isn’t a great fit for you.   Sometimes therapists will say or do things you don’t like and make you uncomfortable/mad/sad etc., but does that necessarily make ve a bad therapist?  Not at all.  Change is hard and uncomfortable.  What’s most important is that you and your therapist find a space where you can trust each other and feel safe sharing all the messy details so real work can get done.  Without that trust, not much will happen.

This reminds me when I was in my master’s program and shopping for my own personal therapist.  The first lady I went to seemed nice enough, and in the first session she asked me what kinds of things I wanted to work on.  One of the things on my list included talking about my relationship with my mom, and I gave her an example of what I meant.  The 50-something therapist then launched into a short story about her relationship with her adult daughter who was about my age, and what I took from this story was that this therapist identified with the mom point of view and not with mine.  I didn’t feel heard, I didn’t feel understood, and I didn’t think I’d be able to trust this therapist.  I never went back to see her.  Was she a bad therapist?  Probably not.  Was she a good fit for me?  Absolutely not.

The next therapist I went to I ended up keeping for over a year.  In our first session, I asked her if she was married and if she had kids.  She said she had no problem answering my questions, but first wanted to know why I was asking.  In response, I told her about my experience with the previous therapist lady and how I felt she had essentially taken sides with my mom.  What I realized later during the course of my training was that, by asking her the marriage/kid question, I actually asked my therapist can you understand me?  Can you please walk with me, see things from my point of view?  Can you help me?

Being young, looking even younger than my age, and being in training, I get these questions a lot.  But, I’d probably get these questions no matter how old or young I look, no matter what color my skin, if I had kids or no kids.  One of my professors told my class that before she had kids, when she was asked the kid question, she’d answer: “No, I don’t have kids.  But if I did have kids, my kids wouldn’t be your kids, and my job is to understand and help your kids.”  I use this response a lot, and I find that it works rather well with clients – just replace the word kids with almost anything – a husband, a drug addiction, an abusive past, an alligator fetish, you name it.  Everyone just wants to know that they will be heard and understood, and I totally get that since I was there once, too.

——–

To respond to some things in that opinion piece I linked to above – I resent the implication that therapists are just trying to “reel you in.”  I imagine that therapists who are in the profession for the wrong reasons are the ones who think that way.  A genuine, ethical, dedicated therapist will be focused on building a trusting relationship; I would hardly call that reeling in.

If you leave your therapy session more upset than when you come in, that’s a pretty good sign that your doctor is a douche.

It can be a sign, but not always.  Therapy gets hard before it gets easy (although, I’m not sure if it ever gets easy…maybe just easier), and often times, therapy actually begins when the client feels safe enough to get upset and let tough feelings out.  As a client, I’ve often felt shitty and depressed for days after a hard session, and for me this indicated that my therapist and I were doing a really tough piece of work.

Perhaps the author’s use of the word “upset” is too vague here.  If the client feels offended, personally attacked or ignored, etc., then I can see that as a possible indication that the therapist is a crappy one.

I liked and agreed with the author’s closing message – that ultimately, the client is the one employing the therapist (same way with a hairdresser), and that if the professional services aren’t working for any reason, the client has the right and should feel empowered enough to end that relationship in order to find and establish one that will help.  And you know what?  A good therapist will understand this 100%.