Met with Tanza today, and talked so much my jaw ached. I know, I know. It’s just that I don’t do a lot of face-to-face stuff in this era of email and texting.
And I hadn’t seen her in two weeks. First, I had to bail on our standing appointment, then she had to, so when I pulled into the driveway of the Washington Street complex that houses her offices – and several other psychologist and psychiatrist offices – I felt a wave of peace wash over me. I’m in a high-stress period, and pressure is building. I needed a release.
This is why I can’t stress enough that this whole weight-loss thing is 90 percent mental. The head rules, and that’s kind of all there is to it. In my case, my brain is well into overdrive, and I’m back to waking up in the middle of the night, unable to get back to sleep for three or four hours.
Thankfully, the rest of Season 2 of The Wire was posted this week on HBO on Demand, so at least I have something to watch while decompressing in the wee hours.
And so it was with a mixture of fatigue and happiness that I breezed into Tanza’s office this morning – five minutes late, which is about my norm – and sank onto her comfy red couch. I believe I actually started talking before my behind hit the cushions.
So very much had happened since we last met, and she’s really the only person I can talk to about what’s going on. The hubby doesn’t have time, really, to truly listen. (If you’re married, perhaps you can relate.) And of course there’s the whole Mars-Venus thing, where when I present a problem, instead of listening, he wants to solve it, when really, I just want him to listen, etc., etc., etc. It’s a frustrating merry-go-round, so really, why get on it? After 23+ years of marriage … well, you know what they say about the definition of insanity.
Clearly, though, I needed to vent. I hadn’t thought about what I’d say today – I never do – but I didn’t expect to try to talk about 15 different things at once. But that’s how my mind works. There’s a lot of stuff in there that’s trying to all get out at the same time. Every comedy show, like, ever, has the same bit: two or three people try to get through a door at the same time. You’ve seen it a zillion times. That’s how my thoughts are feeling these days.
If you had a soundtrack of your life, what would it be? Mine would be the theme song of every Hanna-Barbera cartoon ever made, from The Flintstones to The Jetsons, with the occasional sprinkling of Smurfs.
And I guess that’s my saving grace: The ability to laugh at just about anything. No, it’s not the Cymbalta talking. It’s just that sometimes things get so bad, or complicated, you have to laugh. Laughing and crying, you know it’s the same release, as Joni Mitchell sang in People’s Parties (don’t ask; I can’t remember what happened yesterday, but I can remember the lyrics to every song I’ve heard since I was 6 years old.)
It’s been a long time since I left Tanza’s office and wanted to immediately get a Big Mac extra value meal at the McDonald’s on the way home. Today, I came very, very close because again, I just felt a little raw. A little exposed. I’d unwrapped my bundle of stresses and laid them at her feet. And left them there.
Which left me with a void that my conditioned response would fill with food.
But I didn’t. I only had one dollar on me, and if I were to go to the drive-thru I’d have to use my debit card, and did I really want to see McDonald’s on my bank statement, right next to my gym membership and gas purchase and other, more important things? So I made it past Mickey D’s, but then remembered I wasn’t too far from Krispy Kreme, and one dollar could buy my favorite doughnut – chocolate iced custard-filled – and really, it would only be just one.
So I went, but as Fate would have it, the Krispy Kreme drive-thru was closed because it was being renovated. So I left, grateful, and came home – to write, per Tanza’s request, because she knows that for me, it’s cathartic. And I did, and I wrote it all out, and I made my lists – I’m a Virgo, I make lists – and prioritized, and felt oh, so much better.
And now, I’m going for a nice, long walk. Cue The Flintstones.
A burden shared is a burden halved. ~ I have no idea who said this.
Leslie J. Ansley is an award-winning journalist and entrepreneur who blogs daily for TheRoot. She lives in Raleigh, NC.