Thursday, June 25, 2015

"Go Ahead...I'm Listening."

Psyche opens the golden box...and finds chocolatey truffles! 

I often mark the passage of time with anniversaries of some sort. It can be the date a favorite book was published, or a favorite film was released. Tomorrow marks a different kind of anniversary. I had a session today with my therapist, as I do every week. Every session I have with her is important to me, and is time well spent. 

Tomorrow marks three years that I've been working with my therapist. Over that time I've learned a lot, and grown a lot. And so has my therapist. We've learned a tremendous amount from each other, and will continue to do so for a very long time. The lessons I learn from my work with her enable me to live a fuller, healthier life. They also help me to have relationships with others, and myself. 

And so to mark the occasion, I did what I always do...

I wore the same clothes that I wore to our first session. The same blue-striped polo shirt, and tan trousers. I no longer have the same shoes, but that hardly matters. The idea is that I present myself how I originally appeared on our first session. I think the idea behind that is not only do I associate my therapist with that wardrobe choice, but it's the idea that those clothes connect me to a moment in time. It's a moment that can only be regained in memory. The recollection is potent because it carries emotional significance for me; just like anything we talk about in therapy. But what is of greater significance is that moment connects me to someone who has a profound positive effect on my life. It marks a turning point from pain and isolation, to self-worth and acceptance. 

It also opened the doorway to one of the most profound professional relationships I've ever had. My work with Julie has taught me what a healthy, caring relationship is like. In doing so, I have learned to carry these lessons to other areas of my life; work, education, my creative pursuits, and of course my relationship with Emily, my girlfriend. It has also reinforced a desire to pursue behavioral health as a vocation. I can't think of a better tribute than the desire to follow in my therapist's footsteps, and bring healing to others. 

Here's to many more years of conversation, work, patience, and caring! 

And I should note that Julie didn't remember how I was dressed for our first session. It wasn't until a year had passed that I reminded her. I said, "And guess what I'm wearing today?"

When she saw what I wore, she then exclaimed, "Are you wearing the same clothes you wore on our first session?"

"Yes," I replied. 

"You have such a memory for detail." She said. "I would never have remembered that." 

I also remember the floral print dress that she wore to our first session. And the perfume she wore. 

I also remember the weather. It was 80 degrees outside, and I was concerned that I'd sweat too much, and smell up the joint. So I used some sort of body spray, which I still have; the name of which shall remain nameless. But it's so strong, it can be used as mace (that should give you a clue as to what it is). Since then I've switched to Old Spice. Partly because I like the scent, but also because Emily loves it. Again, this shows how scent is tied to memory. 

But that's another story, for another time.  

Text copyright Riley Joyce 2015.