“What did you do last night?” Connie asked calmly.
By this therapy session, I was months into grief over my breakup. The raw pain of loss had waned, but not left. Shame had begun to seep in over the fact that I was still broken. I was depressed. I was embarrassed. Why am I still hurting?, I would think.
The shame of my lingering grief led me to spend a lot of time alone during this time. I probably watched It’s Complicated ten times. I ordered out a lot. (My outrageous credit card bill could attest to this).
But just the night before, I had reclaimed one joy.
“I cooked dinner for myself,” I quietly told Connie. I can remember my voice about this time: shaky, wobbly. Tears were always near. I continued, “I made sticky rice and grilled chicken, sautéed kale and sweet potato hash. Oh, and I opened a bottle of wine to go with it.”
Connie held me kindly in her gaze, “Because you are worth opening a bottle of wine for.”
Continue reading “Untangling the Knot: Getting the Love you Crave”
“U got it, u got it bad, when you’re on the phone… hang up and then you call right back…”
As I belted Usher while walking Emily on UTC’s campus, my mind drifted to the old pingpong table that my parents used to have. Like most things from childhood, I don’t know where we got it, but it was always there, sitting under the eaves of our pool house. We would pop in the Now That’s What I Call Music! 8 CD to the boom box and listen to Usher’s “U Got It Bad” on repeat while we battled it out in the never-ending pingpong tournament.
That “we” included James, of course. James and I were inseparable for the summers of my childhood. We played basketball; we rode bikes; we walked to the convenience store; we jumped off the roof into the pool.
What else could there possibly be in life?
Continue reading “My Boyfriend Doesn’t Give Me Butterflies”
“No worries! :)” I texted back.
The guy I had been seeing for the past few weeks had just texted to let me know he was going to have to reschedule our plans for that afternoon.
This is the third time this week, I thought as I started to feel the familiar knot form at the base of my stomach. How long am I going to have to do this?
Continue reading “The Myth of Selflessness”
On March 2, 2014, I adopted this kid:
This is Emily.
She is a lab-corgi mix and she looks like an otter.
When I met her the first time at the animal shelter, I knew Emily was a Zen master. That’s why I named her Emily Dickinson, a poet I consider to be unbelievably wise even if she was a hermit.
Continue reading “4 Lessons Only My Dog Could Have Taught Me”
I had gotten to the house at 10:22 AM. It was now about 11:43 and I was lying on the floor, holding my dog Lucas in front of me. His eye was starting to twitch again, so I knew another seizure was coming on. This would be his fourth.
I held him through the spasms, whispering to him, “It’s okay, my big boy. It’s okay. You doin’ so good. You my sweet boy.”
As the last involuntary muscle flexing ended, I jumped up, ran outside to clear the back of my dad’s Chevy Blazer and yelled for my dad to come help lift my 90-lb lab. We had to go to the hospital.
Continue reading “Be a Fool for Love”
Sometimes I wish you were dead.
That’s what Marion told her husband Don during an honesty exercise at a couple’s therapy weekend led by their therapist Ellyn Bader. Bader recounts in her book, Tell Me No Lies, that Marion had been unhappy for years in her marriage, but — not wanting to face the discomfort and shame of divorce — she had simply wished her husband dead. Wishing him dead was easier than facing the possibility of having to choose rejection and loneliness.
The story continues that later that weekend after their talk, Don nearly gets run over by a car. He turns to Marion after the scare and says, “Well, you missed your chance.”
Continue reading “The Honest-to-God Truth of Successful Relationships”
Last night, I woke up at 2:30 AM to strange male voices at the place I’m housesitting. I pulled the typical don’t-move-and-they-won’t-getcha-thing for about 5 minutes while I tried to parse out who in the hell could be in the house besides me and Sarah, the 17-year-old girl for whom I’m playing active guardian while her … Continue reading Telling Lies and Meeting Needs: The World’s Worst Bedfellows