Thursday, February 19, 2009

The Right Time

In the past few weeks of not blogging, I missed something important. February 6, 2009, marked the ten-year anniversary of when I started writing about my life online. Back then, there were no blogs, but there were people who kept online journals using a wacky thing called HTML. I thought it was great because I could use Netscape Composer to keep mine, which I started on February 6, 1999. For the first couple of years, I used a pseudonym. Then I stopped. The online record of my life has taken different forms over the years, but it's been going on for just over a decade.

Something that I've heard more than once over the years is that people forget I don't write under a pseudonym. People comment on the fact that I provide certain details about my life that others choose not to reveal. Remember when I started the blog before this one in 2003 and kept track of my weight in the sidebar? Good times.

Though some people would not talk about their lives in the ways that I have, it's always felt pretty comfortable to me for reasons I've talked about before. I teach autobiography, which means I surround myself by people's stories of themselves. And these stories are often pretty intense and traumatic. What I talk about on this blog is nothing and feels like nothing, though I can understand why everyone makes her or his choices about how much to reveal.

Of course, it's not like I say everything on this blog even if, especially in the past, it looked like it. For example, I've been seeing a therapist since July 2005. At times, I almost talked about it, but I always held back. I think a part of me worried that it would affect tenure, especially since I started therapy out of job anxiety. Those who were reading my old blog around that time may remember that I would have bouts of vomiting every few weeks. I always thought it was something I ate, but they started to happen more frequently. And Da Man was worrying, of course. I largely started because of him, because I didn't want him to worry.

And therapy was what it was supposed to be. Either weekly or biweekly, I would vent. About anything in my head. And I said it all, no matter how minor or major it seemed. I've had friends in therapy talk about tense sessions where neither they nor the therapist would speak for several minutes, but not me. There were times when I would even think, "He keeps interrupting me!" When I started, I thought I was intensely screwed up. But I just needed to talk. I wondered about meds but didn't end up on any (not that I have a problem with them since they have helped many people I know). I just needed to talk and talk and talk. And I've been doing that ever since.

I haven't exactly kept it secret, though. I told some people now and then. In almost every case, the response was something about how they had seen one or were seeing one or thought about seeing one. Only once did someone look at me with a bit of horror on hir face. And that should have been a sign that I did not need this person in my life, but that's another story. It certainly worked out that I was seeing someone when my mother died. There were several other times when the timing of my sessions coincided perfectly with other events I needed to process. I've been very fortunate to have found the right person at the right time.

That's why today's session felt a little odd. I am shifting to seeing him once a month, possibly with an eye toward ending it all together. It's a perfectly logical move. I started to see him because of anxiety I had about doing my job well and earning tenure. And I've earned tenure. For the few sessions before that final letter, it felt like we were biding time, waiting for the final word. And when that word arrived, our sessions shifted to celebration.

As I told him and Da Man, I do have a stupid worry that something big will happen now that I'm not seeing him regularly. But if that were to happen, I could easily call him for an immediate appointment. And while bad things can happen at anytime, there's nothing on the horizon that needs my attention or worry. He asked me if I felt able to celebrate tenure or if I felt guilty considering some of the other things people close to me are suffering, especially in this economy. And I quickly said yes. Sure, I worry about some friends and family. I wonder if there is anything I can do while also belieiving it all will work out, just hoping that any transitions are as smooth as possible.

But when he asked if I could celebrate this time in my life, I said yes because I remembered where I was a year ago. I was at a pretty severe low. Any protective shock I had built around me about my mother's death was gone. I felt the loss more deeply than I had in previous months. And some other things were happening with other people in my life that were difficult to handle because my mind was already elsewhere. I started a paper journal again, and I wrote page after page. The first day, I sat in Starbucks and wrote more by hand than I had written in years. And I didn't stop. I refuse to read it now because I don't want to go back there. I am in a different place today, and I am thankful.

There's plenty of other stuff I could talk about in therapy. There's other things that I wonder about and that I'd like to make better. But I can't create perfection. And it is time for the next phase of my life, whatever that is. In just a few minutes, I could break down easily about my mother. But I can turn that off a little more easily than before. Actually, a lot more easily. And this past year, I've grown closer to some friends and distant from others. The confusion and fear from last year is gone, pretty much, for now.

Oh, I still have anxiety. I am me, after all. And the other day I was in a pissy, annoyed mood. Da Man said, "I thought you'd never be in a bad mood again." My answer? "Who'd you think you married?" I do worry a little about losing the crutch of the regular sessions I have had for almost four years. But it's also the right time.

It's the right time for a lot of things.

1 comment:

  1. Belated tenure congratulations!

    I'm going to Japan next month. If there's anything you particularly want as a congratulations present, drop me an e-mail!

    - Tracey