When I Need A Pick Me Up, by my friend Ryan King

Thursday, February 5, 2009

I'm Not Ready To Make Nice

That song popped into my head. It's a Dixie Chicks song that addresses the experience they've been through since they publicly derided George Bush and caught hell for it. Right after it happened, Natalie Maines was on TV crying and apologizing, but here--years later--she's singing about being "still mad as hell." They won the Grammy for it in 2007. I don't know if I understand, but there in the last years of the Bush administration, seems the Chicks sure as hell did get a lot of retroactive support.

I don't know what that has to do with me today, actually. I thought of the title because I'm not entirely ready foir sunshine and bubbles yet. Tomorrow is the Geek Festival and I've arranged to start the festivities with that geek buddy who shouted me out on a podcast last year. I like him. He's good people. So it looks a little better on the "needing a friend" front.

Yesterday afternoon, however, after the training, I was nauseous and feeling miserable. I had a client to meet in the evening and I wanted to do anything but. I was playing sobering songs on my iPod on the way down and felt like I would burst into tears at any moment. I reigned it all in when I walked into the center and there was my client in the waiting room, early for the appointment. So we began early. And suddenly, Miserable Alan was gone, and Therapeutic Alan was left. My heartache was gone and only the client's heartaches were left. Then my client's joys surfaced and we celebrated them. I found a ton of inspiration and encouragement for them and they left walking on clouds. And so, somehow, did I.

When I was seeing my own shrink, and I was getting this job at the counseling center, she was excited for me and encouraged me highly to follow through with it. She must have known what I know now. But I'm not sure if I feel 100% safe with it. I mean in some ways it's kind of creepy. I'm living through my clients.

That's just not good enough. I can't be dependent on them--that's not what the therapeutic relationship is all about. I mean, I am doing them some good. I'm doing them wonders, in fact. They're getting through MAJOR life obstacles with my meager assistance. Obstacles that I've so far avoided out of my own fears and traumas. And I'm talking about having babies, getting engaged, having great sex, lessening anxieties, etc. MAJOR, right?

And when they accomplish these things, I feel like I accomplish them too.

But I'm not. At all. And I guess I'm using this post to remind myself of this. I can't be satisfied with my life just because I'm helping other people live theirs. I have to live mine.

I'm not ready to make nice.

I'm not ready to back down.


The Neighbor said...


I really enjoy helping people; it feeds my self-esteem in what I thin is a positive way. So from my perspective, if you get good feelings from helping others through their circumstnaces, then you aren't so much celebrating their lives and successes as you are fulfilling your own needs to have a positive and therapeutic relationship with these people.

In a nutshell, you can feel good when they feel good, and it doesn't ahve to be for the exact same reason. They feel good because they understand something new; you fel good because you helped them to see and actualize it.

I don't see a conflict. The work you do to help others IS living your life. In my opinion.

Alan said...

Thank you Ned.