I remember a scene in a movie. The movie is from when I was a kid and the story itself is not important enough to mention. Plus, a little piece of me is shaking my head because of a silly movie, which I remember all too well.
In any case, people had to pass through the gates to meet the Southern Oracle. My memory of this is a little hazy but one of the gates was a mirror that reflected your true self. Most people faced this gate and ran away screaming from what they saw. Maybe this part of the movie was more real than I thought.
Mirrors do have a way of reflecting things that we’d rather not see.
Months after my start of this journey, I found myself looking inwards. I wanted to be better. More importantly, I wanted to feel better. I wanted to know more about what I ran from.
I ran from the memories of my past sins. I ran from my guilt and my shame. I ran from the choices I made and I ran from the pains of listening to the wrong people at the right time.
I ran from anything that reminded me of the truth, which was that I had forfeited control of my life. I gave away my rights and depended on others far too much.
I lacked belief. I signed the wrong contracts and made the wrong deals with myself. I had the wrong friends and while my current life is not hinged upon right or wrong, I knew that I was not in the right atmosphere.
I knew that I found myself in a pattern which was life. In this case, I was nothing more than another molecule, drifting through a system like a cell in a bloodstream.
There was no joy. There was no excitement. There was no connection to the cells around me. There was nothing but a daily routine in a Pavlovian life.
In fact, the words that come to mind are knit one, pearl two, and repeat as if this was the muted tapestry of my life, woven in a repetitive cloth that nobody could change. Not even me.
I woke up each morning and moved to the order of a daily routine. I washed. I ate. I went to work. I ate lunch. I went home. I ate dinner. I washed again and then I went to sleep.
I saw the same people all the time. I heard the same stories. I responded to the same bells and whistles; meanwhile, there was nothing so bright or dark. There was nothing but this mindless sense of flow that took place without asking my consent.
This was the toughest part . . .
I couldn’t break away.
I was stuck.
I tried my luck with a few therapists but none of them seemed to work. There was no movement. There was only more of the same. There was the start of an hourly session with someone who was trained yet, they did not seem to understand.
There was a recap from what we spoke about the week before. There was the “How are you feeling” questions but to what avail?
There were no moments where I said, “Eureka!” and came to any conclusions. I talked about the same thing. I felt the same feelings and talked about the same problems until finally, I asked myself, “What the hell am I doing here?”
Come to think of it, one of my last attempts at therapy was enough to make me file charges. I had found a woman. She was good, or so I thought.
We talked about my life and while I cannot say that I was on the verge of any great realizations, I did see some benefits in the earlier sessions. And then . . .
One evening, the woman was falling asleep in mid-session. I had asked if she was okay. She apologized but as someone who works long hours, I understood that this was not intentional. She was tired. And I get that, I’m tired too.
Two weeks later, I noticed the curtains were opened to the windows behind her. Her office was a home office. We sat the same way, each week but the curtains were usually drawn. Not this week.
I could see the reflection of her laptop in the window, which she kept open during our sessions because she took notes (or so she said). However, on this night, I noticed the reflection in the window. I could see her laptop computer, which she literally kept in her lap. I could also see that she was on Facebook messenger. She was answering a message while I was in the middle of discussing my personal history.
This was strike two.
I asked her, “Are you on Facebook right now?” to which she answered, “No, I’m taking notes on what you’re telling me.”
“Oh,” I said. “Then you should close the blinds behind you because I can see the reflection of the computer screen in the window behind you.”
She closed her laptop.
This was strike two. Strike three was the week following. I decided this was not acceptable behavior for a therapist but at the same time, I was invested in the sessions.
I didn’t want to run from my reflection anymore. I didn’t want to hide from my truth or run from the pain. And sure as shit, what happened? There I was, talking about something shameful and personal and there she was, nodding off again in mid-session.
That was it.
I stood up and offered her my opinion. I explained my thoughts in words that were unlike my therapeutic-self. I told her that she should quit her practice and then I threw my $20 co-pay in the air. There were a few expletives and words that I do not use here when I write but somehow, I’m sure you get my drift.
There were two other attempts. One of them was with a woman who spoke far too much like an authority. We had one session. Maybe two. But when I couldn’t make the next one, she attempted to scold me on the phone. She yelled like an angry teacher to her student.
She spoke this way until I interrupted her. This is when I introduced myself in a different way, which I’m sure that she did not expect.
Nowadays, therapists are in high demand. There are more clients than clinicians. Maybe this is a sign. Maybe I don’t need to get to the boundaries of some imaginary land to speak to the Southern Oracle.
I suppose we forget that people in any position are human. Like a mechanic, some are great at what they do and some are only a mechanic by name. Come to think of it, my last attempt simply faded. Or maybe this was me. Maybe my interest faded.
Maybe . . .
I was thinking about a person who sat next to me at a class last year. We were listening to one of the presenters and as I shook my head, I mentioned that clinicians like him are the reason why I never became a counselor myself.
This person looked at me. They pointed endearingly and said, “No, clinicians like him are the reason why you SHOULD be a counselor.”
Maybe . . .
But for now, I have some bells and whistles to attend to. For now, I have a routine that I have to honor. I have a time clock that awaits my sign-in and a boss who awaits my arrival.
For now, this is me.
For now, this year will be another year of more credentials.
For now . . .