There has always been something calming about the sound of raindrops falling on the roof of my house. I can hear the chattering tires from the passing cars that drive by on the wet streets. I swear this is like a lullaby. I can feel the gentle hush, which to me is the kindness of Mother Earth as she reminds us to sit back and relax.
I have seen the streets of New York City go from occupied to empty in the matter of seconds. One minute, the sky is dry and then next, almost out of nowhere comes the ominous clouds of gray, lurking and moving in to change the scene. The clouds overtake the sky, rumbling with thunder to warn before the storm. I have watched the Kamikaze taxi drivers rush through puddled streets and splash a nearby pedestrian who stood too close to the curb. I’ve seen homeless bathe in the rainfall and talk to themselves about gibberish and dare the sky to rain some more.
I’ve seen summer storms come in quickly to hush the wild madness of the summer’s heat and break the humidity. But I don’t mind. If I said this once then I have said this a million times. I don’t mind the rain. I say we need days like this. Everyone needs a day to disconnect and relax. I say days like today were invented to take naps and watch movies and order in Chinese food. (Or pizza, if you like.)
I can hear the rainfall now.
I can hear the calming chatter of the raindrops as they fall upon my house.
It’s nice. It’s peaceful.
It’s nice to think about the places I’ve been and the things I’ve seen and how even in paradise, it rains there too.
It has to. Right? How else can the gardens grow?
Into each life, a little rain must fall. Isn’t that what they say?
Someone used to tell me that it has to hurt if it’s to heal.
Everything happens for a reason is another one of those sayings.
And maybe there is.
Maybe this is how we grow.
I find myself circling back to old notes and old journals. I have come far from where I was. I have improved and yet, I still have some growth ahead of me. It is hard to see our own improvements. It’s hard to notice our growth until, perhaps, maybe something happens. Maybe we react differently and out of nowhere, we recognize how much we’ve improved.
I look back to a time when I was alone in an apartment. I swore no one would ever care about me or the work I was doing. I started to create a role for myself. I picked a goal and sought through a new routine to achieve my goals. This is when I started to work on my trick.
I remember the people who would tell me that I was not being realistic. As a matter of fact, I remember a therapist who told me that I shouldn’t get my hopes up. Literally, this is what the woman said. She told me that I often set myself up for disappointment. She told me that I set expectations for myself which were too high. And I’m not sure if this is what she was trying to tell me but whether she was or not, this was my interpretation.
I interpreted her advice as “Be happy with the status quo.”
This was as if she were saying, “Mediocrity isn’t so bad.”
“Stay safe in the middle. It’s okay to dare but don’t dare too much because disappointments throw you off.”
I told her that I wanted to be a writer.
She shook her head no.
“I don’t think that’s for you.”
In all honesty, I have had some bad advice from therapists. As a matter of fact, I’ve had bad therapists. There was her, the one I just mentioned. And of course, there were more, which might be the reason why I decided to throw my hat in the ring and join the mental health field.
There was another therapist. She was older but kind. She was decent but slightly opinionated, which in fairness, being opinionated is not always helpful in an atmosphere that’s supposed to be nonjudgmental. One night, I arrived for my 8:00 session. My therapist was kind as usual. However, her day must have been long and I noticed her struggling to keep her eyes open towards the end of our session. I mentioned this to which of course, the therapist apologized. I acknowledged her apology because I understood. Besides, I know what it’s like to work long hours and be tired. Plus, we’re all human. So I let this slide.
A few weeks passed and we had covered some pretty decent ground. We talked about my anxiety and my trust issues. We talked about my history of boundaries and my past inability to set an appropriate boundary in prior relationships. We talked about fears and people pleasing and being codependent. The therapist had a laptop on her lap, which I had assumed was to take notes on our sessions. Then again, I assumed this because this is what the therapist told me.
However, one night the curtain behind the therapist’s chair was not drawn all the way, which meant I could see the reflection of her computer screen in the window behind her.
I noticed that she was on Facebook. And I asked about this.
I asked, “Are you on Facebook right now?”
She assured me that she was not. “I’m taking notes,” she said.
“On Facebook,” I asked.
“I’m not on Facebook,” assured the therapist.
“I can see the reflection in the window behind you.”
The therapist quickly folded her laptop to a closed position.
I thought about this.
What a violation, I thought to myself
What kind of professional is she, I wondered.
The problem for me was that I had already invested in this relationship. I don’t like losing people in my life. Plus, I have other dependency issues, which often cloud my relationship boundaries. I was working on making changes. So, to keep my stride, I promised myself that this was strike two. One more strike and yep, I was out of there.
Two weeks later, I arrived for my session. We were talking about something extremely hurtful to me. We were talking about one of the biggest violations from my childhood; this one was inappropriate and abusive, which had haunted me for most of my life. I was near tears when I looked up at the therapist and that’s when I noticed she was nodding again.
Could you believe this?
This bitch was sleeping on me!
I stood up and yelled. She apologized. She blamed her age. Said she was older and that this was a struggle for her. I marched towards the door. She asked for the opportunity to throw water on her face and resume the session.
I threw the co-pay money I owed her for the session at her. She told me there was no charge for this. I said you need the money more than me. I told her “Go buy some energy drinks,” and then I stormed out of the door. There was more I could do about this. For example, I could have reported her. But that’s not for me. That’s not my style. I’d rather deal with the issue right then and there.
I have had one more therapist since then. This one didn’t work either. There was a family emergency that caused me to miss our scheduled appointment. The therapist called to scold me. I explained what happened and yet, the therapist was unrelenting. She spoke to me as if I were a subordinate, to which I snapped.
“Who the fuck do you think you’re talking to?” I asked.
“You’re supposed to be here for me. I’m not supposed to be here for you!”
The therapist tried to shoot back but I stopped this.
“Again, who the fuck do you think you’re talking to?”
“You are not my priority,” I explained and before the therapist could respond, I hung up the phone.
There are times in life when we realize the boundaries we set, which at one point, we would have allowed to be unset and to go on or we would submit. I call this change. There comes a time when we realize that in fact, we did a great thing and this is worth celebrating. We stood up for ourselves. The reason we see this is because at last, finally, we see our growth. Or, moreover, we understand our value and that we are worth better treatment.
The rain is still falling. It’s pretty gray outside. I still believe today would be a good day to take naps, watch movies and order Chinese food. But I have work to do. I have a trick to pull off. I have priorities and goals to reach. I have a commute to attack and tasks at hand.
So, ready or not, here I come.