so i found myself in therapy, post-divorce, with no job, no money, and a raging yeast infection. let the party begin. my therapist: dumpy, wearing lots of big-bead necklaces and sensible clogs, made notes w/ colored pen, a few years older than my mother*
*my mother: who of course blamed everything on me because i was the one who cheated, did she do something wrong? did she fail as a parent?

so i was sitting there trying not to scratch my sensible cotton panties and also trying to articulate my deep, spiritual dissatisfaction. and at the same time i was not going to admit fault, just in case for some reason the therapy records ended up as court evidence, like on TV and i'm giving the rundown on, like, who i am and shit, which is awful if you've ever done it, intake appointments are the absolute worst and then i thought, holy shit this is like some kind of fucked up game show. except that there is no prize for answering the question WHY.

meet our lovely contestant helen clay, formerly mrs. doctor ben hannibal* of portland, oregon, USA, where it rains all the time ... miss clay is working three menial coffee jobs and taking a monthly handout from her parents because the prick won't pay child support.

*no shit, dr. ben hannibal was his real name! benjamin. what a knob.
in our game of Lifetime Loser, miss clay is ahead: single mother below the poverty line, and bitter as fuck. did i mention i'm a drunk, too?

yeah, this is a funny story, i tell the goggle-eyed therapist. the dear doctor and i met in rehab. no shit. he's an addictions specialist. we were perfect for each other. i mean, the minute i shared about being raped by my neighbor, and the emotional fallout, i knew he was mine.
and the therapist is like, "you guys sound a little codependent." i can see she's itching to give me a helpful pamphlet. anything, any cheerful piece of paper that will deflect the bitter shitstorm that won't stop blasting from my Camel-scented lips.
and i'm like, no shit, he finger-banged me in the treatment room when he was supposed to be renewing my valium prescription.
and then i get all nervous and say, "maybe we should strike that from the record," because i'm thinking about court again. evidence. but she just writes something down with her purple pen, draws a box around it, and asks if i still love him. at which point i start to cry.
because when i said that i'm post-divorce i lied. i am actually mid-divorce, mid-breakup, mid-nervous breakdown. i am barely hanging on. and the fact is that going from spoiled trophy wife to 12-hour-workday un-wife is wearing on me. i kind of wish i still loved him.
and i kind of wish he loved me, but in a different non-codependent way, so we could just do things better all over again. but when i say this to the therapist, she tells me that i'm experiencing magical thinking, which is a major part of codependency.

"pain," she says, "happens because we can't accept or move through an emotion that has ensnared us," and i'm like, it's pretty easy to say that from the comfort of your leather fucking IKEA sofa, but i don't say it out loud, i just snuffle into a kleenex. so it's like a totally humiliating moment of pathetic self-indulgence, which is intolerable as this goddamn yeast infection and as unctuous so to make myself feel better i jam the kleenex in my pocket, pull out my Camels, and slide my sunglasses over my eyes. and i'm bulletproof.

"pain is what happens when life forgets to use lube when it fucks you in the ass," i tell the therapist. "if you'll excuse me, i have work."

not my best exit line, but you should have seen the look on her face. like somebody gave Queen Victoria a titty twister. worth the copay.

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