I Did My Therapy Today In Front Of Six Interns

I left my Alexander Technique class 15 minutes early today so I could get to my therapy at 12:45 pm.

My therapist and I entered a room I had not been in before. We sat in front of a mirror. Behind the mirror was a clinical supervisor and six interns.

I had been preparing for this for weeks. I volunteered for this. I like the attention.

Maybe you’ll get a replacement
There’s plenty like me to be found
Mongrels who aint got a penny
Sniffing for tidbits like you on the ground

I’ve been thinking about what to talk about, what would be most appropriate. I most wanted to talk about a complex interaction I had with a young woman in the back of my 1979 Toyota stationwagon one Sunday night in 1995 but decided to leave that for my private therapy.

I tell my therapist: "The reason I wanted to do this is that ever since about 1992, I’ve had the idea that there are people out there who can help me. In 1992, I was in my fourth year of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. I was essentially bedridden. I had been going to various doctors but nobody seemed to have the answer to my CFS, yet I knew there were people out there who could help me, but I didn’t know how to reach out, so I began placing and answering singles ads. Eventually I met a woman 11 years my senior who I went to live with in Orlando in August 1993. She had an excellent psychiatrist, Dr. Daniel Golwyn, who got me on Nardil and on the road to recovery.

"Though I pretty much lead a normal life now, I still feel like I’m facing problems I don’t know how to solve. How am I going to find money to pay for three years of Alexander Technique training so I can qualify to be a teacher and then have a more stable source of income than just my writing? I need to borrow $20,000 for this. How am I going to upgrade my life? During almost every social interaction, I feel like I have "loser" emblazoned across my forehead. At almost every gathering, I feel left out. I feel like I’m standing off to the side and nobody wants to talk to me and finally someone comes over and gives me a mercy chat.

"Nothing’s changed since second grade. Very few people wanted to talk to me then. I was never the biggest loser in my grade but I was rarely among the cool kids. Sure, all the losers were happy to talk to me, but I wanted to be included in the cool circle. I’ve always depended on one cool person adopting me and then guiding me through the social shoals. They’ve shlepped me along and I’ve ridden on their kindness. I’ve been feeling lost since Cathy Seipp died two years ago. Nobody’s replaced Cathy.

"I was talking the other night to a girl I met at LimmudLA. And she said that while I seemed interesting and with things on the ball, at one point she just felt bad for me because it was so obvious I had no friends and nobody wanted to talk to me. And it’s true. I just have this pathetic broken please-rescue-me quality that shines through all my yoga and Alexander Technique and Torah learning and blogging.

"I feel increasingly dependent on this therapy. I know you’re going to leave one day and I’ll have to get another therapist and I’ll be very sad. It’ll be like when my rabbi of seven years gave me the boot. It was horrible for about a month. I felt lost. Then I recovered and life went on.

"I prefer to feel powerful rather than pathetic. I prefer when lots of people are clamoring for my attention and I can choose which one I want to talk to, rather than when I scan a group of people and try to start a conversation. I prefer to have lots of work options so I don’t have to work for someone who calls me "penis breath" or "cocksucker" or "nigger.""

I go on in this way for 30 minutes. It feels stilted compared to regular therapy. I feel like I’m repeating stuff I’ve already covered in therapy so I can bring these strangers up to date with my pressing issues. I feel like my work with my therapist today is less intimate and less effective. I don’t think I want to do this again.

Then my therapist and I switch rooms and I watch four interns discuss for 15 minutes what came up for them when they heard me talk.

I find myself riveted. It’s like watching a movie about your life. I suddenly feel ten times more alive. All my sense are tingling. I feel vulnerable and scared and excited.

They said I was complicated. That I was seeking connection but analyzing it to death in ways that interfere with my connecting. They suspected that when I felt like a loser that that negatively impacted my ability to connect with others. They wondered if I considered the impact my actions have on other people. Have I considered how reading my offensive blog posts affected my rabbi and my religious community? Would I be willing to rein myself in more as a blogger to maintain connection to my rabbi and my community? Did I think about what I had to offer others? That I was keenly aware of my shortcomings, was I also aware of my abilities?

This went on for about 10 minutes. Then we switched rooms again and I discussed for ten minutes what I felt while watching the four interns talk about me.

I want to yell at the interns: "I only want to connect with people who read books. That’s only a small percentage of the population."

"I can’t write while taking into consideration other people’s feelings. I just write with blinders on. Then after I’ve poured everything out, I can review it and edit it appropriately to maintain my most important relationships."

I need a team of psychiatrists working on me around the clock, like they did with the Elephant Man. That’s the only way I’m going to get better.

From my live cam chat:

palestine4ever:  As a Jewess, how do you feel about Luke?
palestine4ever:  Strictly speaking, did you prefer Twink-but-Porny Luke or Torah-but-Hairy Luke?
Guest12:  i prefer clean shaven non yoga lukaleh
palestine4ever:  I’m really not trying to be offensive when I say this
palestine4ever:  But if he went out with a red nose and big clown shoes I think he’d have better luck

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see Amazon.com). My work has been followed by the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (Alexander90210.com).
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