April 1st, 2016
Hello, and thank you for stopping by my site!
But I must warn you: I’m new at this. Brand new, like those dollar bills that stick together. One day I’ll be nice and crumpled and easy to read, a regular literary Velveteen Rabbit.
I mentioned that book to my analyst the other day. We were talking about aging gracefully, and I said, “It’s just like the Velveteen Rabbit, Dan. You aren’t really ‘real’ until your fur is loved off.”
He laughed and repeated what is now our running joke:
“You said you regressed me twenty-five in your book. I’m much younger, you know.”
“Just how old do you think you are?”
“Certainly no more than 39.”
“No, you’re not,’ I said. “I’ve been here four years, which makes you at least 42.”
Later that day, at Wendy’s drive-thru, I ordered a fish sandwich then asked, “Do you still have free senior drinks?”
She hesitated then said, “We do…if you’re a senior.”
“You don’t sound like it.”
When I got to the window, I pointed to the (very pretty, actually) laugh lines around my eyes and my (not-so-pretty chicken skin-ish) neck and said, “Here’s proof that I’m a senior.”
“But your voice is so young.”
Yes, it is. So is my heart.
But like I said, I’m new at this and clumsy as all get out, but I’ll get better. In the meantime, I’ll keep it short.
As you read this, I’m in Atlanta, Georgia, reveling in the exotic, erotic energy of a Westin Hotel full of psychoanalysts. My analyst invited me and by doing so, fulfilled a wish I wrote about four years ago this month. It was meant as a way for me to say goodbye before I had to say goodbye (I’m the poster child for Abandonment Sensitivity). Here’s the opening paragraph:
“As painful as it is to think about, one day this will end. Bad enough I’ll be off your couch, but at least, that will be mutual and far more than amicable. And if things work out the way you’d like them to, let alone me, I may one day have the privilege of being your colleague. To dine with you, laugh over drinks, sit beside you at a conference. And share a loving embrace with you in a ‘natural fashion’ outside of this, your analytical domain.”
We won’t be dining together, though we might “laugh over drinks” providing he’s at one end of the room, and I’m on the other. Sitting beside him is out, because for confidentiality’s sake, if we walk into the same session, I’ll politely take a seat a few rows away. (Except I hear those are small rooms, so does that constitute ‘sitting beside?”) And unless we happen to run into each other in a private hallway with nary a peer in sight, our hugs will remain limited to those at the end of my sessions. But one thing did happen: I’m his colleague.
I thought it would require years in school, mid-five figures of student loan debt, and a whole string of letters behind my name, but no. I’m there now. His colleague. Me, Kate. This little writer person. Why?
I haven’t a clue in the world. Seriously! Every time I thank him for something wonderful that happened on his couch (and remind me to tell you about his new one reasonably soon) it incites an argument and his insistence that I “do all the work.”
“Nothing would happen if you weren’t in that chair, so at the very least, you get some of the credit.”
After going round and round, I forced him to compromise, and it goes something like this:
“Dan, thank you for today.”
“I didn’t do anything—”
“Knock it off, Daniel. Take your 10% credit and give me a hug.”[An aside: In case you’re an analyst, or are in analysis, you’ll want to argue, “analysts and patients don’t hug.” Usually not. I’m an exception. Yay!]
The first time I applied to grad school, he said a recommendation from him “would never happen.” The second time—about six months after I was widowed—I applied to an online program out of USC. I assumed he’d say no, but I figured it wouldn’t hurt to clarify.
“So, I know you’ll say no, but I figured I should ask—you won’t write a recommendation for that MSW program, right?”
Huh? (You’ll find out soon enough that I say “huh” a lot when it comes to my dealings with Dr. Daniel Jeremiah Nachman.)
It didn’t work. They turned me down with some interestingly vague excuses. But his writing that letter gave me an opening to press a little bit, and it didn’t take too long for me to learn that he’d decided to do whatever he could to help me get into his five minutes into my first session.
“You didn’t know me from Adam.”
“I knew enough.”
Daniel doesn’t like being cornered, but once in awhile he lets me corner him, and I cornered him good that day.
“But I need you to tell me exactly why you’ve been dropping hints for books to read and asking me this, that and the other to get me too look things up. Quit hedging and tell me.”
“I knew you’d be an asset to our profession.”
All together now: “Huh?”
Now, here’s where I could elaborate and go on and on about what all else he said, because a remark like that—especially when made to some little girl who can’t manage to get any letters behind her name other than B.A. and those a good twenty years old—really does beg elaboration, but I promised to keep it short. So clumsy little sticky dollar bill me will end here and say:
If you want more, CLICK HERE to read my blog. Because the idea that some little semi-credentialed writer can be an asset to the profession of psychoanalysis will be either favorably confirmed—or proven to be one big, fat, hubristic mistake—via those little missives.
See you in cyberspace.