I entered into a relationship with a therapist in my early thirties, a prime example of what happens to a nice southern girl who wants to be like her gracious mother but instead turns into a rebel with or without a cause. There was still a high school sorority back in those days, and I passed on the first round as a 9th grader because I was busy being a hippie. They asked me again after I straightened up enough to get through high school but by then I was like "Why?". I ran around with people of both sides of the social realm ranging from crazy rich to dirty poor. Anyway, back to therapy.
I first met Lucretia in an old church and she was EIGHT months pregnant. Seeing what a hot mess I was she quickly assured me that it was beautiful because my soul was growing...no BLOOMING, I believe she said. I couldn't hear too well for all the sobbing. And then she handed me over to her partner Bev. During our first session ( after a lot more sobbing ) she gave me crayons and paper and told me to draw things that make me happy. There were musical notes and running rivers and a rainbow. A flower. I wondered at that time what that had to do with the whole deal of me being slightly crazy but she explained that I had forgotten who I was in the midst of all the drama. My daughter was four years old and I was a model employee/good girl sharing her raising with a third shift industrial worker. I got together with friends, but they were mostly from work and we'd bitch about who said what or how this or that went down while we sat on somebody's porch and drank beer and or chased kids. Everybody had them, and they all went with the package. I realized then that I had let go of all of the old friends who used to make me laugh....and I had restricted myself in making new ones by spending all my time off with co-workers.
We went on road trips together, exploring rivers and mountains and campgrounds close to home. There was more beer involved in those trips than most people have ever seen. Big Ernie was working overtime when we hit the river. The betty crocker type of the bunch was Tina and she made homemade biscuits on a fire just!like!home! She was always handy to have around :) Our boss had kids too, to we would all pile into his huge yard in the country and play volleyball. Everybody brought something and we'd eat and talk about.....what else? Work. But we got to know each others' families and raised our children together, so there is a bond that can never be broken. We have spent weekends and holidays and midnights running those halls together, sometimes quietly....but always with urgency, doing the best for our patients. Sometimes it sucks, but sick people depend on the ones who are paid to do a job that is rarely easy but always satisfying in some sort of way.
I saw Bev off and on for two years, traveling to Memphis for most sessions. The 90 mile drive gave me time to think about what was on my mind before I got there, and process the brain work on the way home. It was always random....whatever memory had surfaced or boundary issue had exposed itself. I moved on from some pretty powerful feelings of anxiety and despair to a sense of peace and balance. I cried almost every day for the first year. There were no meds to stabilize me while all this angst played itself out and I kept my work/social/married/mommy self going. I began attending an aerobic class at our church led by the chaplain's wife so I went and checked it out. It took awhile, but I finally got in shape and knocked off the baby weight by exercising. Weight has always been an issue in our family, coming from the Reaves branch of DNA. To look at my little momma now at 120, you'd never know it.
About that time, my marriage began to unravel. Raising a child while working shifts is doable but difficult. Mostly he worked his ass off and I did too and took care of the home. And tried to remember who I was. The country girl who never learned to embrace the beauty, choosing instead of see it as an inconvenience. I wouldn't take a million bucks for any of it now. At least I learned to appreciate the beauty of it and the wonder of being given the opportunity to grow up and raise my child here. Fifty four years is a long time to be somewhere and have to let go. So I don't think I ever will.