Today I write for my friend Jamelyn, a therapist. Check it and her out!
I remember the first time I showed up to Margo’s office: I’d driven 45 minutes to get there, my heart near-jumping out of my chest in anticipation. I’d heard stories about this lady, about how she spoke truth and called you on your shit. But still, I believed that I needed to put my best face forward, so I applied sparkly lip gloss before I got out of my car, and wiped my sweaty hands on my pants.
I smiled at the other clients in the waiting room, as only a first time client would do: why yes, I’ve got my stuff together. It’s a wonder I’m even here, as I doubt our sessions will last beyond this week. I mused internally when they didn’t smile back, and was even more confused when they didn’t return my chirpy hello.
It was so quiet in there – please, put on some music, at least! Doesn’t anyone want to have a conversation?
God forbid I begin to deal with the muck swimming around inside.
The truth was this: I needed to be there. Although not new to the workforce, I’d just finished up a two-year internship in ministry, and for the first time in my life felt like I’d failed miserably. I was the walking wounded, paralyzed with fear that I’d soon make the same mistakes all over again. They called me a leader, yet that felt so far from the truth. I wanted my confidence back and I didn’t want to be plagued by this overwhelming sense of worry and anxiety. By this point, I knew that I couldn’t do it on my own anymore – I needed the strength of someone else.
Soon my therapist opened the door to the waiting room, and ushered me down the hall to her expansive office. I sat on the couch and began to put on the show again. She’s totally going to want to be best friends with me, I mean, doesn’t everybody?
She didn’t laugh when I put my best, funniest face forward, and she didn’t friend me on Facebook later that afternoon, despite all of our mutual acquaintances. She wasn’t there to be impressed – she was there to offer me the space to be real, because her gift to me was the freedom to just be me. But I still wasn’t ready for it.
I told her the story of my paralyzing failure, and why I’d shown up in her office, for just that one session. Surely she’ll understand and give me the quick cure to send me on my way.
But again, she didn’t. Instead, over the weeks and months, she saw through my layers, and she was patient with me as together, we peeled through the delicate skins of the onion, and began to see what was really underneath my chipper optimism and exuberant confidence.
At one point I boasted that I hadn’t cried for seven years – Margo, can’t you see? I’m one tough cookie; you should be proud of my thick skin, for I am one to be admired!
But instead of commending me, her eyes filled with tears.
“Crying is a gift,” she said, instructing me to go home and watch Steel Magnolias and Beaches over and over until I let myself actually feel.
The truth is this: I’m grateful for the time I’ve spent in therapy over the years. I’m grateful for the Margo’s of this world, who’ve given me the freedom to just be me, and the strength to heal when I can’t do it on my own anymore. Therapists give the gift of being, as together we work and grow towards the very best version of ourselves.
I’m grateful, that I am.
Jamelyn is taking new clients – go, sit on her couch today!0