Well, keeping up with my once-a-month post average…
I just have to put this somewhere. Say this to someone. (Even if nobody reads it)
HOLY SHIT, grad school. HO.LY.SHIT.
Tess said that grad school is like really expensive therapy. Boy was she right!
Side note: next week I go back to Sid! Quitting my job led to new insurance, so I can go back to him now. (Also, Tess doesn’t take the new one)
Anyway. I just got out of class. I’m almost done with my first quarter of grad school, and it has totally kicked my ass, but in a good way. There have been a number of moments where I’m learning about a new concept, and realize “Holy shit, that’s a thing! That’s a thing my mother did!!” And then I get sad.
To that end, writing the papers about my family of origin… it’s been pretty intense.
Here’s the biggest epiphany I had writing the “Unfinished Business” paper:
I talked a ton about my mom’s unrealistic expectations of me growing up. So as I’m writing… I’m thinking about how she expected me to be something I’m not, something I could never be. THEN. I realized how I’ve expected her to be the mother I always wanted, something she’s not and can never be.
Mind = blown.
But wait, there’s more!
On the drive home from class, I was thinking about guys, specifically cute guys, intimacy, vulnerability, sex… etc. etc.
Ok, for starters, my partner in class, Luke*, is cute. My very married with two kids partner in class. Most of my classmates are women, and all the guys are either married or gay.
But I digress.
When he picked me to be his partner, I was worried because he’s cute. Well, I still think he’s cute, but I think that’s actually been helpful to help me learn how to relate to an attractive guy who I have zero chance of sleeping with.
Specifically, what I realized about that? I finally realize that attractive men can make valuable contributions that don’t have to do with sex! It’s kind of funny, but I realize I’ve mostly placed men’s value around sex, and beyond that, security.
We’ve both said very useful therapy-y things to each other in our discussions in class. It’s been really damned helpful!
Ok, and then there’s my handyman I hired to work on my house. Handyman Luke*. (No relation, as far as I know, but they do in fact have the same common first name).
Handyman Luke is a little older, like 10-ish (ok almost 11) years older. When I first met him, I didn’t really think about him in any sexy/romantic way. The second time he came to the house, he’d gotten a haircut and was way cuter, but I still didn’t pay much attention.
THEN, I finally realized he’s been flirting with me! He seems nice, smart, funny, handy (harr harr), and we’ve got good banter going on. I ❤ ❤ ❤ banter.
So I’ve been paying a lot more attention to him. I want to see what happens. (But also recognize that it’s been a LONG time since I had any physical attention)
The other day he was painting and stuff, and we talked for a while. He wanted to paint fight!! My dad was in the other room, he flew in to help with renovations, and I guess my “not inside” was too subtle for “let’s paint fight outside!”
Anywho, at some point he talked about his divorce, and a little later he asked about mine. In a clever way, but also in a way that I could just continue my story and not answer.
Looking back I was like, wait, WTH? Why did I flinch and not tell him?
OH. RIGHT. INTIMACY. Intimacy and vulnerability are still scary as fuck. (I just figured this out today)
So right before I left class, I shared some vulnerable stuff with Regular Luke. Driving home, I realized I felt… exposed, vulnerable, like physically. The same sort of way that I would feel extra cold in the winter coming out of a session with Sid! More sensitive to feelings, physical stimuli, etc.
And I finally realized… oh. Right. When you’re vulnerable, and intimate… when you open yourself up to someone, you’re more sensitive… and THAT WOULD MAKE SEX FEEL BETTER! (Or even a hug from a friend, etc)
Also probably another factor that makes people more likely to be attracted to their therapists. But, anyway…
So, intimacy is not a bad thing. Yes, it makes you vulnerable to being hurt, but that sensitivity also makes you more open to awesome things. You have to take risks to get the awesome things.
Let me get this straight… intimacy can be a good thing?? My focus has been in the wrong place all along.
Well. Those were my two big epiphanies this week. Now I’ll go back to daydreaming of paint fights with Handyman Luke… 😀