Sunday, January 26, 2014

Turning A Corner

"So catch me up on things," my therapist said as I settled onto her sofa, set my cup of hot tea on a coaster.  "It's been almost a month."

I updated her on all that had transpired since our last session in mid-December. I told her about how a close friend of twenty years failed me at a time I was so needing her to be present. I told her about a visit to Florida that included calm conversation, genuine belly laughs, and nary an argument with my mother. And I told her about the lengthy interview process that forced me to cancel our scheduled session for the previous week.

"How did it go?"

"Oh, it went really well. I met with the Director of my entire division. That was a fantastic discussion. But the interview I had after him was ridiculous and made me realize I didn't want the promotion."

"Wow, really?"

"Totally. She was trying so hard to intimidate me and I just don't have time to manage something so unproductive."

"It sounds like you're making incredible strides," she said, beaming with pride as she relaxed against her chair-back.

Except that wasn't exactly how I was feeling. Instead I was struggling with a sense of frustration at work. Just that day I learned I needed to be in San Francisco the following week for a lunch meeting that no one could explain. This in addition to mastering and taking a test about an entirely different product and attending an event an hour from home. All I wanted to do was sit at my desk and finally catch up on work that fell off during my so-called vacation.

"You don't see it, do you?" my therapist asked.

I shrugged.

"Paige, I'm blown away by the progress you've made with your mom. Even when your friend was shitty, you did what was best for you and told her how her behavior was hurtful. You've made smart career choices to ensure you stay on track. And you're dipping your toe back in the dating pool."

"Yeah, except that hasn't amounted to much."

It hasn't. Though I updated my online profile to include newer pictures and more current statements, the pickings felt slim. More importantly, I wasn't feeling overly interested.

"Why?" she asked.

"A coworker recently noted some guy was checking me out and I didn't even realize there were men in the room with us."

On the one hand, I miss resting my cheek on a man's chest, my body rising and falling with the movement of his breaths. On the other hand, I feel insulated from the actual acts needed to graduate to such intimacy.

"You're putting too much pressure on yourself!"

It was a familiar accusation.

"When I look at you, I see a woman who is together. You're dressed elegantly, not like you've thrown in the towel. You're a woman about town with a thriving career. And, more importantly, you have your shit together. Enjoy the moment and the rest will follow."


"Now that you're putting yourself out there, I sense you'll be snatched up soon enough. I'm serious! Hang on tight because wonderful things are heading your way."

I took in her giddy grin, her confident optimism, her genuine excitement for me and decided to follow her lead. After all, she hadn't steered me wrong yet. Plus, in my heart I knew I was ready to stand beneath the moonlight and enjoy a kiss with a man who makes me weak in the knees. I just couldn't see through the haze clearly enough to trust it could happen.


MissM said...

Girl you know I feel you. You and I have worked hard to get this spot where we have our shit together. We awake, self aware, we know what we want and we're ready.

Where are our counterparts that don't think they're 'too good', who aren't 'waiting for the fairy tale', who aren't the male equivalent of a woman who hears the desperation of her ticking biological clock like a gong in her ear?

I don't know. Ima get me some cats, I guess. I hear you get a starter cat when you turn 40. You get yours yet?

onebreath said...

I can so relate to wanting that intimacy but not being sure that you have the stamina to get through all the "stuff" that comes before. It feels like such a daunting process. But nothing good ever came easy? Or so they say.

It can be tempting to overlook how far we have come... I'm glad you have a witness who can point out such things to you so that you can bask in your own glory! :) (Okay, okay, maybe just grin at it, if basking is a little too extreme)

Anonymous said...

I worked with a counselor for a couple of years before I really committed to the dating pool, and then it took another year of e-mails/first dates via Match that didn't pan out before I found my boyfriend. He and I have been together for a year, and it's going well.

I know that a big part of why I wasn't in this sort of relationship before was because I was terrified of having a real relationship and was sending a lot of not-me messages, even when I thought I wasn't. I am really happy that I made and am continuing to make the effort. Give the dating pool some time to catch up to you, and make the effort. It's worth it if it's something you want in your life.