Sunday, October 7, 2012

inciting insight

I used to want to be a psychologist. My 9th grade me, in a "Labor Day 2000" essay I vividly remember crafting (mainly because I had specific visions of my grown-up wardrobe), saw this careerwoman of the future as a jet-setting, brown leather boots- & tweed skirt-wearing young mother of 2 traveling from Seattle to New York City for a National Psychologists of the World meeting (I don't think that even exists). All I knew was that I could see behind every teen magazine advertiser's attempts to get my hard-earned babysitting dollars, and I could overanalyze conversations with boys to decipher real meanings ("You're really funny" = "We should always be just friends" and "You're really smart" = "Please do my homework while I talk to this other girl").

That and wearing stylish clothes I could finally afford were all I really knew about being a psychologist; the minute I found out there would be SCIENCE CLASSES involved, I was out. Though in my teaching job, where I do get to wear stylish clothes [my Mechanical Engineer husband can afford], I do use those critical thinking & listening skills I developed back in high school, as well as questioning & observation. Every day.

But not with myself.

Anytime people recommended I see a counselor, I punched them in the neck felt tense. I always thought two things: First, counselors are a good idea for some people. Second, I am not some people because I know exactly what my issues are and amdealingwiththemjustfinethankyouverymuch.

But knowing one's issues and actually addressing them are very different things.  I finally decided to see a counselor after frantically texting my husband on the way to work about our need for my salary; I was hyperventilating about the last few weeks of school and could not convince myself that I was doing a good enough job at teaching + parenting + volunteering + friending + wifing.

Talking to a paid someone about my issues has been more than just terrifying (one significant issue is control & not liking surprises), it has been immensely helpful in relieving my crowded, spastic brain. The most interesting revelation is how unkindly I tend to talk to myself; I have actually thought kinder things about serial killers. I am learning to be gentler with myself, which is a little weird because it is essentially having arguments inside my head - admonishing the sardonic Me (who is responsible for many of my more hilarious Facebook posts, frankly) while soothing the belittled Me, without becoming a maudlin Oxygen Channel feature. I think we're doing alright so far.

All of this is to say: I want to write more here, more relevant & interesting & funny & possibly useful things; I also want to be present with my family, teach well, enjoy the company of friends, and indulge in a few shenanigans now & again. So here's hoping I can keep Me and Me working well together. I appreciate your support, People Who Like Me.