Jan 8, 2013

Spontaneous Therapy

I have to pick up my kids at school in 30 minutes, and will likely not have time to edit and ponder this like I probably should.  This is an experiment in spontaneity.

I saw my therapist (yep) today, and I came home frustrated.  It's not Trudy's fault.  It's mine.  Here's why.

We talked about my weaknesses.  I knew this was coming; last week we talked about my strengths and she warned me that today might not be so pleasant.  According to Trudy, figuring out who I am and what I want is this super-exciting journey full of wonder and amazement.  I can be whoever I want to be!  I can do whatever I choose!  

Guess what?  I don't want to change or discover or invent or whatever.  I'm a big fan of my comfort zone, thankyouverymuch, and my comfort zone involves doing exactly what I've been doing for forever.  I've spent almost a year experimenting with vulnerability, with opening up and sharing my heart and exposing my soul.  While it has been a teensy bit liberating, I mostly hate it.  Being vulnerable means having expectations that those you are vulnerable with will offer you what you need.  In my experience, that's a bunch of malarky (aren't you proud of me for saying something so benign?).

In my experience, sharing with people that I feel broken generally makes them feel sorry for me, and also think that I'm incapable of being a functional friend and human being.  I know I have quite a network of people who will listen to me on a bad day, or who will check on me when they know I'm in crisis, but there are very few (like two or three) who will call just to say "hey."  Or text ME when they are having a bad day.  Or ask me to watch their kids in an emergency.  Or check in just because.  Or invite me to something unrelated to church.  I realize I sound like a whiny teenager.

A couple of weeks ago I made a list of things I don't like about myself, otherwise known as "opportunities for growth" or plain old weaknesses.  Well, at the top of my list--not necessarily because it's my greatest fault, but because I thought of it first--is that I am slow to adapt to change.  (See paragraph four.)  I am the antithesis of spontaneous and carefree.  What I want to know is WHAT'S WRONG WITH BEING BORING?  I just don't get it.  So what if I don't like a scary movie?  So what if I don't like to fly by the seat of my pants?  So what if I crave order and cleanliness and never throw caution to the wind? Who likes wind anyway?

This week my homework assignment is to be spontaneous.  I laughed out loud when Trudy suggested that I be spontaneous by fixing my hair in a new way or taking a different route home from her office. She suggested that I spontaneously invite a friend to lunch or drop in on someone just to say hello.  Well, nothing about my life is spontaneous enough for all of THAT, but I did come home and pull back the bangs that were hanging in my eyes. Maybe I should take a picture of my bobby pin invention and print it out so I get a gold star in my chart next week.

And maybe next week we can talk about my significant overuse of sarcasm, which is second on my list of growth opportunities.


Amanda said...

First of all, I like your spontaneous blog post. The irony of it all wasn't lost on me. :)

To be quite honest with you, I've been dealing with some personal and motherhood-related issues lately. And very recently I wondered if you would think it strange if I texted you about my bad day and asked for your perspective. I have a lot of friends here, but very few (1, maybe 2) that I actually feel I can ask for help and not have them feel sorry for me and/or treat me like I'm fragile for weeks afterward.

And, one more thing, what's NOT spontaneous and crazy about having an entire class of Beehives over for New Years? That was definitely NOT boring of you.

Anonymous said...

I have been going to therapy for the past couple of years and have learned that not all therapists are the same :-) .... what has worked well for me has been to have a goal to be my best self. If I can go to bed happy that I did my best and followed promptings and vow to do better each day ... that has been a big relief. I too hate change ... spontaneity ... and live a life of high expectations... mostly on myself ... Enjoy your journey. I think you're amazing and super lovable!

Becky said...

I enjoyed the post. And you, my friend, are not the least bit boring.

Five Wahlquist's said...

I love you heidi... and i would love a spontenous visit that is premediated and planned... or more so spontenous :) also... you are spontenous :) I remember a jamba juice sitting in a fridge one day, do you? Totally spontenous!

Five Wahlquist's said...

I love you heidi... and i would love a spontenous visit that is premediated and planned... or more so spontenous :) also... you are spontenous :) I remember a jamba juice sitting in a fridge one day, do you? Totally spontenous!

Shannon said...

Ain't nothin' wrong with boring, cuz I'm pretty sure I'm the same way. I have a hard time being spontaneous too (enter my dear husband). I think you (and I) probably are spontaneous, just not in the way your therapist or other people think we should be. Sounds like your other friends agree. Maybe she's just trying to get you to think outside the box for awhile so you won't be worried about trying to grow and change in positive ways. Anyway, I think Gavin gives you enough spontaneity for your whole family, don't you?

Shannon said...

By the way, your paragraph 5 brings out some real truths to ponder in regards to the way I may treat others who open up to me and show me their vulnerabilities. Do I feel sorry for them and consequently treat them differently? Do I excuse them from tasks or responsibilities I may need help with because I see them as broken? Do I reach out to them just because? Or only when I'm worried about them? I may be guilty of some of these things, so thank you for pointing them out. Is what you're saying that you're not so broken as to be able to continue to serve others and offer a meaningful relationship to those around you? Or even that by doing these things (serving and befriending) it will help you feel not so broken? We are taught in the gospel that when we're having difficulties, oftentimes it helps us heal by serving others. I think sometimes when we (I) see someone who is struggling or "broken" I don't want to burden them more by asking them to help or by unloading my problems onto them. But, maybe that would be a welcome distraction at times? Interesting thoughts, Heidi.

Adri said...

I don't like wind, either! ;)

Ashley said...

Spontaneity is totally overrated. I like to blame my kids for me being a boring control freak, but the real truth is I don't want to be spontaneous. And it IS Trudy's fault for making you feel like that is something you need to my professional, non phd opinion anyway.

Colleen said...

Love you, Heidi! I think you've moved way past experimenting with vulnerability. This is open and honest, and perfectly wonderful.

GinaJ said...

You are just my kind of boring. You could tell Trudy that you don't know yet what you will be making for dinner that night, but you will come up with something just in time. That's where the majority of my life's spontaneity comes from these days. Right now, I'm thinking that I should look into more texting in my life. I don't think I could spontaneously go out with a friend, and making spontaneous phone calls happens maybe a couple times a month (but I usually have to wait a couple of days before the phone call actually happens, so maybe that doesn't count), but I'm pretty sure I could spontaneously text. That seems manageable. (Would this count as evidence to Trudy that your level of spontaneity is pretty high-functioning for a mother with five children?)

pass it on!

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