Dinner With A Therapist

31 Mar


Tonight was one of those chance evenings where the universe aligned and I had a few hours off work at the same time my friends were in Malibu and so we celebrated with Duke’s.

Duke’s is the place you go to in Malibu for a drink or a burger.  It’s right on the water and has amazing key lime pie.  We ordered everything on the menu.

It was nachos.  It was fish tacos.  It was fries. It was burgers.  It was key lime pie and then an ice cream pie and then, oh, 27 million drinks, keep those drinks a coming and oh wait her baby is asleep how about after dinner coffee then?  And another?

It was the best time I’ve had in months.

The entire dinner, all three hours of it, was spent without cell phones.  We didn’t have to institute this rule, which is why I love these people.  Three hours just talking, no distractions.

Things come out when you talk like this.

First the basics.  Work.  Goals.  Relationships.

Oh relationships!

Then we started talking about our fighting styles.  How we fight with others.  How unhealthy/healthy it is.

And then it turned to other crazy things.

“What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever done?” I asked.

And we went round robin around the table until we had exhausted our share of crazy.  I shared freely, without worry or thought.  The times I’ve been a truly awful person.  The times I regret.  The times I laugh about.  I wasn’t judged or nervous.  There’s something incredibly nice about that.  To say, this is me.  These are my flaws, my mistakes and to have someone say I see you, here’s mine.  This is me.

You aren’t terrible.

I’m not terrible.

We’re human.

At the end of the night, my friends stood up to go to the bathroom and it was just me and my friend’s husband left at the table.  This man is getting his PhD in psychology.  He also has the most perfect hair color the world has ever produced.

“So Jill,”  he said. “Let’s make a plan for you.”

I squirmed a bit.

“You have a problem with expectations,” he said.

“Yes, it’s my number one problem in life,” I said.

“Well here’s how we’re going to change it,” he said.

My friend’s husband proceeded to make a plan for my life, a plan to change my narrative of failure.  Because when you’re me and you set impossible goals, you are constantly disappointed in yourself and in life and in other people.  It’s hard way to be.  People often tell me that.

“It must be so exhausting being you,” they say when they get to know me and see the Mount Everests I build for myself to climb every day.

I say, “Yes.”

I say, “I’m trying to change it.”

My Surrogate Therapist gave me assignments to complete. “It’s not that you’re not getting stuff done, it’s that you’re not getting impossible things done and so you feel like you’re failing,” he said.

“Yes,” I nodded.  It’s an advantage, in times like these to be so transparent about yourself and your flaws and hopes.  Therapists offer free advice after dinner.

“Now go home and decide one thing you need to do tonight,” he said.

“Perfect,” I said.  “I’ll put the sheets on my bed.. And clean my kitchen.  And finish an act of my novel.  And read my book, actually make that finish my book–”

“No,” he said.  “One thing.”

My friends got back from the bathroom at that point and it was all packing and shivering and talking about how we really must do this more often.  It is necessary to do this more often.

As we said our goodbyes, I announced to my friends, “I hope next time we see each other things will be dramatically better for all of us.”

My friend’s husband shook his head, “Not dramatically better.  Small and steady incremental changes.”

I laughed.

I walked the extra 10 feet to my non-valeted car.

I went home and made my bed.

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4 Responses to “Dinner With A Therapist”

  1. Christine April 1, 2015 at 3:29 am #

    Oh man! I would not be happy if somebody started doing that at a casual dinner. My husband has his PhD is psychology but he leaves it at work where it belongs!

    • jillianlorraine April 1, 2015 at 8:20 am #

      Haha! I’m sure in almost any other circumstance I would have been super uncomfortable, but I love this couple and this guy. It was actually a really, really good thing.

  2. Autumn April 2, 2015 at 7:23 am #

    Oh my gosh, can you share more of his wisdom and plan for you to change? I found myself nodding along at every line.

    • jillianlorraine April 13, 2015 at 9:15 am #

      I feel like we need to sit down and have a proper talk about it. So much to share! But it basically comes down to setting realistic goals for myself every day and changing my narrative of failure.

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