She: How can I help you?
Me: I’m not really sure. I feel as if I have lost not only Tom but the best version of myself that he seemed to bring out just by making me feel so happy and loved and accepted and secure.
She: (after more Q and As) You just have to find the Tom within you. You know, someone can only bring out what’s already there.
Me: (silently) really? Is that true? Hmmmmmmmm………
She: (after reading in-take forms and asking history questions) It sounds as if you have a lot on your plate.
Me: Funny, I feel as if I have too little on my plate. Husband—dead. Daughter #1-full time job with benefits, not living with me and driving a late model car. Daughter #2-good student and wise old soul who now drives herself everywhere and has stopped pretending she eats the lunches I packed for years and now no longer do. Job I love but could do in my sleep. Too much empty space in my head and on the calendar.
She: What happens when there’s too much space?
Me: I become anxious and want to fill it.
She: What if it wasn’t filled?
Me: I would be lonely.
She: And could you invite that loneliness in and let it sit with you?
Me: I guess so? (starting to cry)
She: Could you say that and still breathe?
Me: Maybe not.
She: What would happen if you didn’t date for maybe, oh, the next year?
I think the work we have to do centers on being ok with that loneliness. Can you come back next week?
Shit! Looks like I’m in therapy again. Maybe the eyeliner I’ll save getting ready for all those first dates will offset my co-pay. Self-awareness sucks! The unexamined life sounds like a truly great alternative. Impulsive, busy, action-packed. I should’ve been born a bee!