Some trees bear strange fruit and in this instance the tree would be my parents & I would be the damaged produce.
Well, would you look at that? I’ve already driven this post off the main road, into a ditch filled will muddy water and drowned it.
In the mid nineties (that’s the nineteen nineties for those unfamiliar with the decade), driven by my need to know exactly how many horrible mind warping things were wrong with me, I sought the warm comfort of the shrinks chair for all of six months.
I had imagined all sorts of life affirming case scenarios, one more spectacular than the last ,as I envisioned the productive give and take relationship my doctor and I would forge over the smoking remains of my once seemingly insurmountable problems.
Rising with crystal clarity from the ashes of neurosis like the mental health phoenix, I would probably be the next face to adorn the promotional materials of the APA. Nevermind that they don’t have posters or pamphlets with faces on them, just stay with me okay?
At the time I was mildly annoyed that my boyfriend had broken up with me for what seemed like the umpteenth time during some sort of crisis, like a pet death or a far too painful and irksome hangnail, and I wanted some fucking validation from a degreed professional to make sure I wasn’t so damaged beyond repair mentally, that I would need to be stripped raw to the bone, splashed with salt & lime juice and then rebuilt as a better more worthwhile human being.
We shook hands and exchanged pleasantries for all of five minutes before she went for the jugular in her abrupt manner.
“What is it you hope to get out of this?”
I didn’t know. So I said nothing.
The next visit was even more terrifying as I plodded headfirst into my childhood memories hoping to give her something to sink her razor-sharp talons into besides my back , recalling funny stories of where I grew up and the crazy people I call my family.
I was having a little chuckle about a particularly harrowing episode that involved closing and taping off part of our old farmhouse to fight the brutal winter when I heard a loud sigh and the slamming down of what sounded like a large physics textbook.
“You are like a full-blown caricature of yourself, you exaggerate and dodge and weave to avoid the painful truth”
For a moment I was stunned and my heart began hammering realizing that the whimsical give and take relationship I had hoped for was just not going to materialize here, in fact I think she fucking hated me.
Suddenly that bad warbly circus music that comes on during movies when the demented serial killer dressed as a deranged clown emerges from the Big Top with a scythe began to play.
What the hell did she want me to say?
I felt like I was tethered to her stupid goose down couch by paralyzing fear but I wanted to run far away and find a psychiatrist who would pat me on the head and give me spectacular mind altering drugs while telling me that nothing ever had been or would be my fault.
As time went on I was letting it all out and she would summarily cut me off at every fun-filled corner.
Here are some of the words of wisdom she gave me.
Don’t exaggerate, your house may have been cold but everyone has heat in this day and age.
Your uncle didn’t really have a battle to the death in your side yard with a racoon who couldn’t be felled after being hit with the full force of a two by four wielded by a grown man.
Your mother never cooked on a wood stove with a full length coat and a ski mask.
A hardware store would never fill a small tank of kerosene for a child to bring home.
You never appeared on Romper Room (that one WAS my imagination, but it was my DREAM!)
No dog lives for twenty-two years.
Everything was your fault.
So, there you have it. Due to an overactive childhood imagination and unrestrained fanciful thoughts I had imagined 98% of my life and I was kidding myself about the remaining two percent.
At that point I was sick of her and her gleaming red nails that she spent too much time admiring while I was spilling my guts so I simply walked out one day and never returned.
I found a nice middle-aged shrink who had a BETTER couch who told me that a life can be full of weird, magical and wonderful people and events no matter how odd it sounds to others AND that not everything that goes wrong in the world is your fault. He managed to teach me that you shouldn’t have to dull down your bizarre life to appeal to others, especially those you love while making me feel like I wasn’t nuts.
Thanks to that guy, I was off the couch in no time.
Oh, I forgot! I’m at Culture Brats today talking to someone who is way more fantastic and talented than me.
Maybe that therapy didn’t stick as well as I thought it did?