Weather: Pouring rain.
Environment: Sitting on decidedly un-vegan leather couch.
Equipment: Hot peppermint tea.
Dr. X: So, it just seems like your confidence level is dependent on other people’s approval.
Laura: Um, yes. All signs point to yes.
Dr. X: And that has always been the case?
Laura: No, not at all! I just always tried to bring home perfect straight-A report cards and always go to church. Well, no. I couldn’t JUST go to church, I went to church and youth group and sang in the choir and went on retreats and stuff. And of course I always wanted everyone to like me, everyone, all the time, to the point of badgering people. Hm. And then there was college, I think there was a point when I attempted 26 credits in one semester, you know, so I could prove that I belonged there and was doing a good job and…
Dr. X: (staring at me intently)
Laura: Um. Well. I’m guessing yes, that has always been the case.
Dr. X: Hmm.
Laura: So, how do I build self-confidence that is not dependent on the approval of others?
Dr. X: You take risks. You challenge yourself. You do things you are too scared to do.
Laura: I’m moving to Africa.
Dr. X: That’s…not entirely necessary.
Session 2, a week later.
Weather: Pouring rain outside AGAIN.
Equipment: Iced Soy Latte, Tissues, Panicky Attitude.
Dr. X: And what about that makes you uncomfortable?
Laura: (exploding, clutching handful of tissues, obviously distraught) EVERYTHING! EVERYTHING ABOUT THAT MAKES ME UNCOMFORTABLE.
Dr. X: Because…
Laura: Because that’s not how it is SUPPOSED TO GO! It is supposed to be like this and this and this and this because I SAY SO. And when it doesn’t DO that, I freak out! Because I need order! I need security! I need to know what’s going on! I need money! For a house! And babies before I’m 38 because, you know Down’s Syndrome! Just, BECAUSE! BECAUSE I NEED IT TO BE THAT WAY.
Dr. X: Well. It’s not that way.
Laura: (sniffles pathetically) I know.
Dr. X: And so, what will happen if it doesn’t go the way you want it to? If THINGS don’t go the way you plan them?
Laura: I will die alone in a house full of cats.
Dr. X: I…
Dr. X: (continuing) I am going to say something and I don’t want it to sound demeaning. You understand that?
Dr. X: I don’t want you to think that it’s demeaning because I’m just…I’m just feeding what you’re giving me back to you. You understand that?
Dr. X: It’s just that…the way you think…well…the way you lay things out in your mind…it’s very…interesting.
Laura: *blows nose* Thank you. I feel like I’ve had a lot to say.
Dr. X: Recently?
Laura: No, just for, like, twenty years.
Weather: Drizzling rain for the THIRD WEEK IN A ROW.
Equipment: Iced soy latte, tissues, plus peppermint candies out of Dr. X’s candy bowl.
Laura and Dr. X talk about psychological issues for about thirty minutes. And then the conversation takes a turn.
Dr. X: So, you have an audition today?
Dr. X: What are you going to sing?
Laura: A very special song.
Dr. X: That sounds wonderful.
Laura: I’m REALLY right for this part.
Dr. X: That’s great!
Laura: Well, yeah. Great until I get there and they say I’m too tall.
Dr. X: *staring intently, probably waiting for me to say something incredibly revealing. As usual, he is correct.*
Laura: Do you know that in the past month, I’ve been denied an audition appointment and/or been denied a callback for a show or a ROLE in a show that I am perfect for in EVERY SINGLE WAY except height, on at least FIVE SEPARATE OCCASIONS?
Dr. X: How tall ARE you?
Dr. X: That’s not that tall.
Laura: That’s what my mom says. But I have long limbs and it makes me look taller. Anyway. Apparently the cut-off for every single thing right now is about 5’4.
Dr. X: And this upsets you.
Dr. X: Because.
Laura: Because I’m frustrated and disappointed and I feel like I am never going to book a show ever again in my entire life because my dad gave me long legs that extend my figure and so when I dress up in a dress and heels, I look about 6’5 and it’s all thanks to my dad and I’m not angry at my dad, no because I LOVE HIM AND OH LORD I DON’T WANT HIM TO DIE.
Dr. X: He’s dying?
Laura: No. He’s pretty healthy actually. He likes wearing a Math-a-thon t-shirts and sipping an algae vitamin concoction twice a day.
Dr. X: Hmm.
Laura: THE POINT IS: it is very disheartening and I want to stop feeling sorry for myself and DO something about it. Take action. Take risks.
Dr. X: Good idea.
Laura: Well. Not right now.
Dr. X: No?
Laura: No. Today I want to feel sorry for myself and go find the other girls that are shorter than me and break their legs.
Dr. X: We’re…just about out of time for this week.
Laura: Do you ever mind sitting in that chair and listening to people ramble?
Dr. X: No. Everyone’s different.
Laura: And am I still interesting?
Dr. X: Yes.
Laura: Good. That is all I needed to know.
Laura: I’m seeking approval again, aren’t I?
Dr. X: I’ll see you at the same time next week.