The first time.
Yeah…I’ve been to counseling twice in my life. The second time was much more beneficial than the first. The second time I saw a counselor I was lost just two years into marriage. I felt like a failure. Matthew and I saw a counselor for 8 months. After those 8 months I was so sad to say goodbye to our third party friend who helped us through so many things. But this isn’t about that time I quit counseling…I prefer the idea that she thought we were ready to move on. I loved her in a totally platonic, wish we were BFF’s type of way. Then a friend reminded me that I paid her to listen to me. I still loved her.
There are several things that go into this story. The first is this – I am painfully shy and sensitive. Growing up I didn’t like to talk in class because it gave me so much anxiety that I would shed tears if the teacher asked me a question. Sometimes I see shy kids grasping to their mother’s legs in church and they have a look of exasperation on their face. I just want to pat them on the back and tell them it will all be okay. Your child will grow out of it or figure out how to live without your leg. They are going to be fine.
The second is this – I am a twin. I was born first but lack all the qualities a typical first child possesses. My one and only sister was born 20 minutes after me. She exudes the confidence you would expect in a first child. I have looked up to her every single day of my life. People are instantly drawn to her. When we were younger, Sara did all the talking and I let her. Don’t think she just overpowered me. It was easier if I let her talk. Remember, if I opened my mouth or someone looked at me a little funny, I would cry. Again…painfully shy.
In fourth grade, my parents took me to counseling…to gain confidence to talk, find out why I wouldn’t talk, you get the picture. The first session I sat there and didn’t say a word. She asked if I wanted to play games. Nope. She asked me questions. I said nothing. All I could think about was getting out of there.
The second week she told me at the beginning of the session that I only had to keep coming until I could tell her I didn’t want to come anymore. That’s all I had to say. So for the next hour, I worked in my head how I could actually say those words. My face was burning. It took the entire hour for me to say to her that I didn’t want to come anymore. And that’s all I said. I guess it was about finding the courage to open my mouth to talk and to tell someone something they might not want to hear.
If you know me now, I’m still shy, but I talk. Sometimes. Turn the music on and that’s a different story.
One of Matthew’s friends told me once that had he known I came out of my shell on the dance floor, he would have greeted me with a boombox over his shoulder.
And that’s the day I quit counseling.