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I fired my therapist
I used to have a therapist, but no longer.
Instead, I now speak to a witch.
The choice to change from a normal therapist to a witch wasn’t unfounded.
I’ve had five psychologists throughout my life.
When I was 9, there was our family therapist Emily, and then at 16, there was Elliot, and then after college, I went back to Emily for one single session.
My mother was still a patient of hers at the time, and I wanted Emily’s advice on how I should go about telling my mother I was gay.
Emily said, very directly, that it would not go well.
She also said that my mother was very spatially associated and that I should come out to my mother at a place she would never need to go back to, or drive by, or think about, or be reminded of.
Maybe somewhere abroad.
But I didn’t have time for that, and so I took my mother to a park far away from her home and then told her I was gay.
She’s never been back to that park.
“Park of misfortune,” she calls it.
At 23, I started seeing Therapist Dan, who I found myself attracted to.
And, at 26, I saw Brian, who was good, but then I got bored. Or, I guess we got bored, as if we were digging for problems to fill the time, and that’s always annoying because, after a while, you begin to measure the silence in dollars.
But now, I see Francee. My witch.
She’s not a licensed therapist by any means, but I don’t care about that.
I’m lucky to have had very few real problems, and even the largest traumas that have come my way, like when I was 9 years old, and my mom’s 19-year-old Vietnamese student who was living with us started asking me to lick her nipples, all ended up quite well for me, insofar as by the time I turned 10, I started asking Anh if I could lick her nipples and she said no, but now, as I write this, I realize that perhaps I’m not being self-compassionate enough and that maybe Anh was my first rejection.
Something to belabor with $7/minute Brian.
But Francee has been through much more than adolescent nippling.
I think that’s why I trust her.
All of my prior therapists were well-off, liberal-enough 30 to 50-something-year-olds who decided, when they were 20, to become people who could spend the rest of their lives sitting in a chair, giving advice with underdeveloped eyes through tiny lenses.
But not Francee.
“Well, when my girlfriend and I used to have her kids over we—”
“You had a girlfriend?” I asked.
“Oh! I never told you about that time I was a lesbian for seven years?” she laughed before telling me about April and then Carolyn.
I’m not surprised.
I mean, she looks like she could be a lesbian — albeit a feminine one.
Not that lesbians can’t be feminine, but you get it.
She has short blonde hair and a beautiful smile, like a pretty Guy Fieri.
Regardless, I like that she tells me about her past loves.
Regular therapists never do that.
I remember crying to Brian about how Mark, someone I had been on two dates with, rejected me, and I remember Brian saying:
“It’s important to examine why this rejection is having such a strong impact on you.”
No doubt that he was right.
No doubt I was overreacting to a very run-of-the-mill situation of someone telling someone else they’re not enough.
Someone telling me no.
Someone like that bitch, Anh.
But that’s not what I wanted from Brian. I wanted him to tell me that everyone gets rejected and that he’s been rejected, and I wanted to know what rejection felt like for him.
That’s what Francee, my spiritual healer, would do.
Sure, maybe she’d also pull a tarot card and tell me about how I should use my “sword of light to sever my connections to negative self-stories,” but in addition, I’d learn about that time her ex-husband cheated on her with her best friend.
And then she’d tell me about how she used to be depressed, but how, whether accidentally or intentionally, she crashed her car, head-on, into a semi, and that shook her into turning her life around.
I want that kind of person talking to me.
Someone who can objectively tell me how my problems are non-problems.
I remember once being in a rut about health stuff.
I was complaining to her about how a doctor gave me bad advice, and then she told me how a doctor once refused to give her an abortion.
“Well, actually,” she began, as she stepped out of a barn in Rabbit Hash, Kentucky, “I guess it wasn’t an abortion,” she said. “The doctor said no to fixin’ me. I was 16 and had just had a kid, and I didn’t want to get pregnant again, but he said he wouldn’t fix me until I was at least 21 and married with two kids.”
“Oh,” I said. “That’s very specific of him, right?”
“Very specific!” and then she laughed, though I’m not sure why, but she laughed in the way she always does. In the way that children do, where, for that moment, it’s all-consuming, and they smile from ear to ear, unafraid of being too much or too open for a world that has yet to tell them to laugh more softly. “And then a few months later, I got pregnant again and my husband wouldn’t let me have an abortion so…”
“So you kept that one too?” I asked.
“Yes,” she giggled, “Yes, I did.”
It’s always like this.
She tells me about who she’s been, and I listen, unable to add anything to the trials and tribulations of her rich, colorful life.
My friend Nat doesn’t think I should take advice from Francee.
That a person who’s been divorced three times shouldn’t tell me what to do with my relationship. That someone who lives out of their truck shouldn’t tell me what to do with my career.
But I think it’s because she lives out of her truck that I trust her.
Because when I tell her about how I’m stressed about a client who owes me money, she can tell me what it was like to live paycheck to paycheck while raising a meth addict and moving to rural Alabama for the love of her life, just so he could divorce her and leave her with nothing.
Not even an abortion.
I don’t know where I’m supposed to find a support system like that.
Someone who will take my unscheduled 5 to 10-minute calls, once or twice a week because my privileged struggles have, yet again, broken me into pieces, and I desperately need someone to glue me back together.
And when, occasionally, I have to deal with her saying, “Alex, I see you haven’t looked at your cards in a few weeks,” as a response to me not having opened her last 37 WhatsApp messages, I respond with, “Francee I…” and my voice trailing off to silently remind her that I don’t care about tarot, and then we pause to acknowledge the two-wayness of this relationship wherein I pay her to pick up phone calls about my non-problems, and in exchange, she gets to send me stuff that I choose not to read. But such are the quirks of working with the best ear I’ve ever paid.
“I know,” she says, “but it’s there when you need it.”
And sometimes, I do need it.
When my TikTok grows tired, and there’s no new episode of Wheel of Time, and my boyfriend isn’t home for me to complain at.
I open up WhatsApp and look at the last 5 cards she’s pulled.
“Nourishment,” the last card says, with a picture of a woman with her arms widespread in a Garden of Eden. “Nourish your body, mind, and spirit. Your jealousy or envy are a sign of what you’re hungering for. Pay attention to your health.”
“Sure,” I think to myself, imagining all the people I’m jealous of and all the terrible things I’d like to have happen to them.
And then I’ll think about why I’m jealous, and maybe it’s because they’re famous well-known writers, and I’m famously not.
But then, as I walk to the fridge and am faced with the choice of a double chocolate chip cookie and an apple, I pay attention to my health and reach for the fruit.
But I don’t tell Francee that.
The witch can’t know that she has that kind of power.
She can’t know that anything she does besides answering my calls has any effect.
God forbid she stops picking up, and she becomes someone else in my life.
Someone who disregards my wants and needs.
Someone like that bitch, Anh.
Would love to know if you’ve ever done any weird mental health stuff (drugs/shamans/morning affirmations/etc.) — Please write them in the comments below so I can try things that don’t work and then write about them thanks!
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