Happy birthday to me! I think. It’s post midnight, so it’s now the 17th. The timing of the whole birthday thing gets confusing when you cross the equator. I mean, I was born in New Zealand time, does that mean I age in NZ time? Are the mystical powers of a birthday infused into the date or the time of birth? I think I was a 3pm baby on the 17th of January NZ time. Does that mean my Canadian birthday is January 16th at 9pm? Confuzzling. Anyway, in true birthday style my girlfriend and I celebrated with a midnight feast of maple/soy ham steak, broccoli, sweet potato fries and Flying Monkeys chocolate manifesto. I walked into the store and bought 4 bottles the other day. Well stocked. It was a pretty good way to straddle the time-nebulous birthday line and celebrate all the same. I even made her a ring from the marrowless ham bone which, when cleaned and sanded down, fit perfectly. Is that sanitary? Is half of the shit I do? I think my whole existence is unsanitary. Except for my hair. Shampoo and condition that bastard every day. My head feels like a beanie baby, which I guess is the desired result? *Shrug*.
So why is this birthday not like the others? Well I’m taking a step back from last year’s exercise in extravagance. I’ll opt for the yoga and froyo (in that order. Froyoga means farting excessively in the back of class. Learned that one the hard way), but I might hold back on the rest of my dalliances with thriftiness. I’m having a bunch of people over tonight for drinks. I grabbed some chips, dip and there’ll be turkey in the slow cooker. I don’t know turkey to be a thematic birthday meat, but I’m looking to break down stereotypes here. I’m tired of this celebratory subjugation of turkey for Christmas and Thanksgiving. It’s an everytime meat and deserves to be upheld as thus.
I had my first counselling session yesterday. A while back I talked about my desire to finally embark on a path of therapy to sort out some of the niggling stuff that prevents me from approaching life with an unmitigated glee. Or at least to avoid random panic attacks with obviously underlying issues. The company provides free counselling, which it’s quick to point out is a short term solution. I wasn’t convinced that this is what I was looking for, but thought I’d try it anyway. I prefaced the meeting by telling the counsellor of My Doubts (the actual ones, not this site, dummy) and concerns that I was using a resource better reserved for people facing immediate and troubling trauma. He said we’d talk through it anyway.
How was it? Well, understandably frustrating. Parts of it became apparent that the onus on him was to settle things up and push me out the door in as few sessions as possible. There are a maximum of 6 sessions allocated per case and I’m guessing the company would probably prefer to pay for fewer rather than more. It’s understandably frustrating because there are so many things I wanted to talk about, but without a pre-existing relationship it would be insane of me to think he’d be able to crack into much straight off the bat. Years of social conditioning and negative self image take a while to peel away. I told him about the panic attack, to which he replied that sometimes our bodies have ways of telling us things, cautioning us against frightening courses of action. Yeah, it was a ton of those kind of platitudes. Not one attempt to even question what could be underlying a reaction like that. Even my attempts at self-therapy (or at least questioning my own reactions) have been a bit more probing. Affirming words that things will be fine are all well and good, but putting a band-aid over a deep would might not do so much to heal it. He basically told me I should get a physical check up, sleep more (he’s not entirely wrong on that one) and watch what I eat. Thanks Saturday morning television.
Towards the end of the session I brought up the fact that as a coping mechanism I often shut out loved ones who are far away, which means often not reciprocating communication or affection. If I stop thinking about them, the distance can’t do much to affect me. I told him I didn’t think it was a healthy response and that it was one of the defining characteristics contributing to shitty parts of my personality. He said that being able to see it as a coping mechanism was great, that I clearly understood myself a bit. “Everybody has ways of dealing with things” apparently. Thanks. That helped.
So I booked another session, a) because I want to see if this guy can actually help me at all (I mean, he’s obviously not a dumb dude. He’s educated with his masters et al) and b) because I’m curious just how many platitudes he can throw out as a method to get me out the door.
Happy birthday indeed.