You know that thing that you don’t want to do but you know you have to do and it takes a whole lot of you convincing yourself that doing it is not only the right thing, but okay to do and something that you can do? Well, that was therapy for me. Walking into that first session was more difficult than any other part of my transition.
The waiting area seemed pleasant enough. I had gotten there a little early. I was the only one there that afternoon and the room was almost too quiet. The water lightly splashing in the fountain in the corner and white noise from a machine I couldn’t see broke the silence and I sat in a chair where I could easily see out the window. There was a huge tree with a full canopy of leaves that were just preparing for their fall drop. I focused on the ever so slightly browning edges and looked for any signs of fall color while I restlessly waited. I remember thinking how odd that one could feel even slightly undone in a space where clearly effort was made to create exactly the opposite response. I casually dismissed this as not a good sign and looked at my watch to see if I had enough time to escape. A quick reconsideration and reminder to myself that I just need the letter. That damned letter. So I looked at the tree and I waited.
After what felt like the longest few minutes ever, I heard a door open around the corner. I didn’t look up or turn around and soon heard a “hello” from a voice that matched the one I’d spoken with on the phone. This was it. The door was less than 10 feet away, but I’d missed my chance to escape.
I stood, said hello, and allowed myself to be led down the short hall and a quick left turn into her office. The room was warm in every way possible. Decorated in earth tones with splashes of color gave way to a fireplace mantle and walls covered in framed art and beckoning affirmations. I managed to read a few as my eyes scanned room and forgot them as quickly as I took them in; but there was work to be done and this therapist meant to get to it.
The white mug from which she sipped was exchanged for her notepad as she began. There was little chit chat. She hit me with question after question. Clarification and details were requested. She wrote as fast as she queried. Time flew by and we were done. She told me that based on what she’d learned in that first session that, unless something unforeseen happened, she was comfortable with writing my letter after the next session. I tried to remember what we talked about after I’d left, but I was only wasting my time. Strangely, I could only recall bits and pieces. I do remember asking myself how I could have told this stranger so much about me. I could barely look her in the eyes, yet I had told her everything – I had answered, with surprisingly little hesitation, every question in front of me. I had somehow survived and made a mental note that all I had to do was return in a couple of weeks and do exactly what I’d just done…one more time. Two sessions and I’d have my letter. I would be done. I could do this.