About a month ago, I decided to give counseling another try. This is the third time I have attempted this course of action and let me tell you the jury is still out on this one. I will say that this woman is very nice and unpretentious, I like that. Her space is neat and uncluttered, another check in the win column. But she never remembers to turn her phone off during our sessions, definite red flag there. One of the best things about the lady has nothing to do with above mentioned items, it has to do with her abilities.
I have a tendency to get distracted, especially when the topic of conversation gets unpleasant. She noticed that and periodically redirects the conversation back to her original question. After thirty minutes of rambling and skirting the issue, she’ll gently points me back to the topic at hand. I find this amazing. Usually, I am already a light year away from where we were and oblivious to the fact that I once again changed the topic. Apparently, in order to deal with your issues, you actually have to focus on your issues. Who knew?
She also doesn’t like to call herself a counselor, she prefers the term presenter. She said there is only one great counselor, she simply presents other possibilities and perspectives to her clients. After three meetings with the lady, I will say she has me thinking.
My last experience with her was one of the most unusual of my life. She started by observing that I am often distracted and very seldom in the moment when I am with her. I need to pay attention, not just the bill when I am there. I made a conscience effort to focus and answer every question she asked. I tried to maintain eye contact and not flit my attention around the room. By the end of the meeting, I was sweating with the strain it took to remain in the instant. It was taxing, but worth it.
Of course, she reiterated the whole “Take time for yourself” credo that is so popular these days and asked why I don’t think that is important. “Why do I value myself less than others”, was her constant underlying theme. I successfully dodged answering that question until she made an observation that really struck me and caused a real “Aha” moment to occur. One gentle nudge from her and I was pondering a truth I had never bothered to explore. I rose to leave feeling pretty good about the time and money I had just spent with her.
And then the sensation hit me. The “sweat” I thought I was feeling on my rear as I sat through the session intently focusing and not fidgeting, wasn’t sweat. I arose to find my hindquarters not just damp, but wet. I immediately reasoned that someone had spilled something in the chair cushion that had settled to the bottom of the seat. My body weight had gradually compressed the foam, squeezing the moisture up from the depths of the chair causing two, ass-cheek shaped ovals to form on the chair and a lot of liquid to cling to my khakis. I had sat in a puddle for over an hour and I didn’t even notice! Who does that? Oh yeah, ME!
The humiliation didn’t stop there. I gingerly reached down in the seat to feel the wet and try to figure out what it was. Tentatively, I smelled my fingertips. No doubt about it, urine! I hadn’t just sat in someone’s spilled puddle of soda; I had sat in a pool of piss. She started apologizing and offered me some wipes to clean up with before I left. She mistakenly believed I was the mystery pisser that had peed on the chair. My embarrassment mounted. I am 48 years old, I don’t randomly lose control of my bladder unless there is a lot of liquor involved and I was completely sober at that time, really. I explained to her that I wasn’t the culprit that someone else had left smelly secretion on the stool, I’m not sure she was convinced.
I left rather abruptly with a handful of paper towels and rushed home. I tried and failed not to actually touch the seat of my car while driving. Straining unused leg muscles in an attempt to hold myself off the surface of the seat proved a fruitless activity. My shower when I got home involved bleach and lots of scrubbing. I still can’t believe it happened.
Except that this kind of thing happens to me on a fairly regular basis. I went to Starbucks with a friend once. We both ordered and I decided to wash my hands while we were waiting for the barista to fill our orders. When I finished, I glanced out the window at my friend. She was sitting there with two coffee cups texting on her phone. I went to join her. I sat at the table, picked up the coffee at my place on the table and took a drink. It was ice cold and not what I ordered. Slowly, it dawned on me that the foul cup of joe I held was not my order, but someone else who had been sitting there previously. I had just gulped down a complete stranger’s backwash.
I looked in the window of the Starbucks and saw the guy behind the counter waving at me and pointing to the steaming cup of coffee on the cabinet beside him. He was actually smirking at me and my faux pas. I almost passed out on the spot. I don’t drink after my own kids or husband, drinking after a stranger really caused my stomach to start churning. My friend and I shared a laugh about it and I didn’t catch Ebola so it was just another incidence of Whit’s witlessness lightening the mood.
These are the kind of things that happen to me on a fairly regular basis. I drink other people’s coffee, I sit in other people’s urine, I attract weird occurrences; it’s who I am. When the counselor asked me why do I place less value on myself that others, these are the kind of events that pop to mind. I don’t think it is placing less value, it’s just that I have learned not to take myself so seriously. Life is full of little SNAFUs and cringe worth events that we can regret or embrace. The hilarity and grossness of both events isn’t lost on me, I have just learned that it is best to focus on what’s funny not what’s icky.
I think this why when my friend dared me to wear eighties style culottes to tennis lessons the other day, I did it. Not just the dull yellow half pants, but I completed the look with black socks covered with pizza slices and my husband’s work shirt. I got a few looks on the court.
At this point, I have realized that life is too short to worry about impressing people with the way I dress and my sophistication. I can’t win on either of those fronts. I am the person that makes mistakes, sometimes unintentionally, sometimes with premeditated force; but always with noticeable results. Laughing at myself isn’t just a coping mechanism, it’s a way of life! I think that is what God has been trying to teach me over the years. My ungainly, ungraceful, and awkward self is okay. He loves the bumblers the same as the ballerinas, the klutzes as much as the couth, and the gawky, graceless goofs are gorgeous in his eyes.
It’s good to know that even a completely imperfect person like myself can be made perfect in Christ!
I am a Christian, a wife, a mom, and a part-time basket case who wants to be a full time writer.