I just graduated!
No, not school...Therapy.
Well, I call it graduation, and the name feels fitting. Though there were no fancy tassel hats, and it doesn't mean I won't go back now and again.
So, let's get real for a minute. (Writers, listen up!)
I dragged my heels getting into that office, spending months just looking over websites and reading therapist reviews (I'm a sucker for reviews) before finally making the call.
Here's the thing, the wait wasn't just about finding the right therapist--though yes, I procrastinated over that--I waited a ridiculous amount of time before I even took that step. I waited for the event. I had been curious about therapy, interested in starting, for quite some time. But I waited. And waited. I waited until I felt I had an excuse, an other-people-have-gone-for-this-before reason. I told myself, okay now, this can be your reason. This doesn't make you crazy. This is a good excuse to try it out.
I went. We talked about the event, of course. But soon it became about so much more.
There was a...well, the sitcoms would call it a break through, and it was, kinda... But what does that look like? For me, it looked like vulnerability. It felt like honesty. What does that mean? It means I had tapped into something real. It was raw, and scary, and I had to pull the words out bit by bit through long pauses and silent stretches and several bouts of tears. Was it uncomfortable? You better believe it. Was it necessary? I believe it was.
I'm an author. That's why this blog exists, that's why people subscribe to my newsletter. That's my job. I put words to paper, but more than that (I hope) I share truth. In that office, I found strands of truth. My truth.
I was on an author panel some months ago talking about my favorite thing in the world: stories. Someone posed the question, one I've heard before, "But what makes a story great?"
The answer is different for everyone, I'm sure; but for me, it's simple. For a story to be great, it has to uncover some underlying truth. There needs to be a point there, buried amongst the zombies or glimpsed at through translucent ghostly beings. There needs to be a reason I'm reading this story. It needs to share something real with me.
And while that passed for an answer on this panel, I had one brave soul speak to me privately during the signing portion of the evening. She spoke quietly, pulling me to the side of my table, the table I had already strewn with stickers and colorful bookmarks that a small group of teens was examining. This woman nervously asked me, "But how do you get to the point? What truth do you share? How do I put that in my stories?"
I gave her the long version answer. Here I'll write the short version: I've hunted for my truths. Through books, deep in the Self-Help section of Barnes and Nobles, in the midst of non-fiction books on Quantum Physics, in fairytales and legends, religious studies, and yes, therapy.
Truth makes stories worth telling; hunting it down has made me a braver storyteller. Therapy became a beautiful, difficult, hilarious, fun, informative, excruciating, wonderful, necessary link in the method to my madness.
Before I left the office that last time, I asked my therapist if she would mind me sharing her name. She didn't. She has a blog herself, and a newsletter, and a lovely little office where you can tackle all the things you didn't know you were going to therapy to confront. (Funny how that works out, isn't it?)
Meet Jennifer Hoffman. Check her site out. Or if you're curious, go check your own local websites out, read reviews, make a phone call. You don't need to wait for an event, you can simply seek your truth. I look back now and think I should have done this years ago...
Though I can guess what Jennifer would say to that. Whatever I went through before brought me to now. It's not about the should-haves, it's about the what-do-we-do-with-life-now. And that thought makes me smile.
In whatever way calls to you, I hope you hunt for your truth. And when you glimpse it, share it. I dare you ;)
Be well, friends.