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    Bridge Ladies Sometimes I think a meteor could strike the earth and wipe out mankind with the exception of my mother’s Bridge club — Roz, Bea, Bette, Rhoda, and Jackie — five Jewish octogenarians who continue to gather for lunch and Bridge on Mondays as they have for over fifty years. When I set out to learn about the women behind the matching outfits and accessories, I never expected to fall in love with them. This is the story of the ladies, their game, and most of all the ragged path that led me back to my mother.
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It Is The Evening Of The Day

Fifty minutes suspended in time. Today, I spaced out, time traveled, went deaf. The carpet has triangles filled with circles. Someone else’s head dented that pillow. My therapist is beautiful. Older, elegant. She wears one perfect bangle. Could you say that again? Where did you go ? Am I getting worse? Am I in the sweet spot? Could you say that again? Is there a river?  Are you in my movie?  Did you sponge down the counter top? Does the bangle slide on easily?  Is time up? What are you feeling? What?

Therapy and writing. Good, bad or ugly?

42 Responses

  1. Writing is therapy.

    And I hate to bring up the subject of redundancy again, but. . .

    http://dittymac.blogspot.com

    June 14.

    Great minds? What?

  2. Well, I’ve been trying to break-up with my therapist almost since I started seeing him. I always walk in and tell him first thing, this is it. He says, “Oh,” and nods, and, “Well, since you’re here today…” and before I know it my fifty minute hour is up and I’m checking my schedule and typing his name into my calendar once more. But next time. Next time, I’m dumping him for sure.

  3. The answer to each of your questions is as follows.

    Could you say that again.
    Where did you go.
    Am I getting worse.
    Am I in the sweet spot.
    Could you say that again.
    Is there a river.
    Are you in my movie.
    Did you sponge down the counter top.
    Does the bangle slide on easily.
    Is time up.
    What are you feeling.
    What.
    Therapy and writing. Good, bad or ugly.

  4. Does your bangle walk like an Egyptian?

  5. Observing the techno-color, flaming train wreck that walked around as my (former) brother-in-law, The Psychiatrist, cured me of any need for that branch of medicine. I’ll pull weeds, dead-head flowers and stake plants instead – gardening costs about the same and I have tangible results every time.

  6. Today I left laughing. Some people were raised by wolves she said but you were raised by babies.

  7. I don’t know what’s going on with you and me, Betsy, but it’s something magical. Too many times I’ve checked in with your latest post and the connections run wild. I’m reluctant to get all mystical on your ass for fear the hard liners will crack me open with their algorithms and laws of probability. Yesterday I took my youngest daughter to the toy store to redeem a gift certificate she got for her 7th birthday. Know what she picked out? The magic 8 ball.

    I don’t care what the statisticians holler. There’s something extraordinary at play.

  8. Exploring one’s issues and feelings and history and so forth in therapy isn’t the same as exploring those things in writing. Extreme case: writers (and other artists) who can’t manage to keep themselves alive in order to keep producing art are failing at something. One would think that this is a path to be avoided, and that therapy may be a way to do it, but Romantic confusions about the self and self-expression are still getting in the way: see the movie Black Swan.

    Do you want to follow Hart Crane off the deck of the ship?

  9. It’s art vs. spill. I’ve spent some time spilling, now I’m trying to make it into art. Or blogging.

  10. It’s the good, bad and ugly rolled in one. After all, the therapist is the one showing you the dirty pictures.

  11. Therapy and writing…Freud was one of the best writers ever, that makes a good case.

  12. I’ve spaced out, time traveled, and gone deaf for a bit now. All without the therapist. I’ll try and see the positive: that I’m saving the hourly fee.

  13. It’s the “where did you go” that translates into ugly/bad/good stuff on a bunch of levels, including writing. It never gets easier, no matter the number of therapy hours or the number of words or the number of places you go.

  14. In this moment. When the real you is separate and able to watch your hands type–they feel borrowed. Amazing. Is it bad for writing? I think it depends on what you’re writing and why you’re writing. The what and why may lose any meaning they once held.

    Then again, those “This Moment” can be fleeting. Sometimes, oftentimes, we forget how amazing we are, how amazing Every One is, and drag ourselves back into the pump and grind. After all, it’s where almost everyone else lives.

  15. I was once told to start therapy by a caring man with big curly hair. I wasn’t writing I was drowning. I had a quiet breakdown then elected to fall in love. But even that was pricey.

  16. Fuck therapy. Get regular massages instead. You don’t have to talk and bodyworkers typically don’t wear bangled jewels and while you’re being kneaded into ecstasy, your perplexing conundrums sort themselves out. And, oh yeah, it’s cheaper!

    • Fuck massages. Just get a martini.

      That’s what I do and with the money I save on therapy and holistic health, I can have a lawyer on 24/7 retainer for all those pesky restraining orders and disorderly conduct citations. Because being in touch with my feelings is overrated while being able to scream obscenities at strangers WHO PISS ME OFF is priceless.

    • Nobody has ever doubted for a moment that you have ever had any therapy whatsoever.

    • YES!! I’m currently getting free therapy at my yoga classes. The teachers say the most encouraging things that melt down my resistance, and they don’t seem to mind if you cry, though sobbing is frowned upon.

  17. Are you my mother?!

  18. Therapy is good, bad, and ugly. I’m coming out of “ugly” and just finished posting to my blog so that’s a good sign. Where is my bangle?

  19. I used to be an older therapist (elegant? Jury’s still out) and I wore one single bangle. Betsy, my couch is your couch anytime…

  20. I live in the boonies. Everything is at least a half an hour away, including the closest therapist. I can stay home, write, run, garden, and read…or waste all that time.

    Writing, running, gardening, and reading it is.

  21. Therapy and writing? Absolutely indispensable if you’re writing memoir. (Unless you’re writing a memoir about your small, happy life, which, well, goody for you). Without it, you’re writing a soap opera script, filled with heroes and villains. Yawn. For everything else? I dunno, but I’d be willing to try martinis and massages, just on general principle.

  22. I abhor the word therapy, as if something was innately wrong with us, as if we were not human after all, but some experiment by some super-perfect creature who0m we have no access. What was your question? Oh yeah, therapy. The only response I can give to that is how long have poeple existed and how long have therapists existed? Does the word snake oil mean anything to anyone? Does talking to each other in grocery store lines scare people so much that they must work twenty or thirty hours to have human contact. And check it out, try talking to old folks in a grocery store line and see if they don’t know the same stuff your highly educated therapists knows. I dare you.

    • Ah now I understand…

    • I agree that there’s something troubling about the insidious and seemingly inexorable scientific redefinition of the vast spectrum of human behavior as an equally vast array of deviance from some precisely imagined and equally imaginary “normal” person, an ubermensch template who is to be completely and objectively understood and consequently possible to predict and control. Be that as it may, it is part of being human in human society to recognize that there are varying sorts of expertise among various persons, with wisdom shared by many, absent from some, but monopolized by none.

      • Nicely done T. I am a trained expert in the treatment of serious, life-threatening mental illness and it is very misunderstood, both the illnesses and my work. But I like how you’ve summarized things here and I think you are quite right.

  23. @katweber. I’ve been to many different kinds of psychiatrists, psychologists, family therapists, marriage counselors, “psychiatric social workers” (?) I find them valuable, it seems, only when they validate what I already thought. I have a few memories of some major insights (like: your husband is never going to change) and one psychologist gave me some ‘practical’ ideas on certain problems. One at a very famous (then) hospital in Chicago was a freaking nutjob.
    Recently I visited one who turned out to be a former classmate. He was a sweety and we spoke the same language. I walked him through the break up of his marriage. The Navy paid for that.

  24. I must disagree with you. How can a stranger know more about you than you do? I put up a hand for people talking to each other, and in that, realizing we are pretty much in the same boat, and most of us, and I mean that in clarity, most of us, are on the same boat. So, what do therapists do? They let you talk. They let you tell your story. Whether we like it or not, due to pride or prejudice, we need it, everyday. Let’s, perhaps, call us human. Weird species, weird, weird, species. But not to offend anyone, I swear to god, aren’t we fascinating? I won’t even mention the you can’t explain your existence thing because that might put some folks out of business. My complaint: Why is therapy so popular! Because people don’t talk to each other anymore because if you are not talented and famous you are not worth talking to and you are not worth the time. That is my closing argument.

    • PSS. Not to kiss your ass, we won’t get into that, I’ve found that Truck mechanics love the phrase, Say! That’s Tasty! They’re always hungry. They work hard. And, as they would say, nothing you own or haven’t made yourself was brought to you, us, by a truck. Say! I say! That’s tasty! Life is what it is, I guess. I can’t deny it, or try to find a place in it.

    • Yikes! Sorry about the bad grammar.

  25. You do therapy on Sundays? Cool.

  26. sometimes, you just want to go where somebody knows your name.

  27. Therapy and writing. I love (and need) both.

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