I just started seeing a therapist.
There, I said it.
I think it’s been a long time and coming. It’s not that I’ve been opposed to it, it’s like everything else that’s important to me (like writing, which I’m working on), I didn’t make it a priority.
The Universe, however, knows better and set things in place and in motion, which is probably why it felt like everything happened all at once. Ultimately, this left me feeling like my hand was forced to actually call a therapist and make an appointment.
Normally, I would just called a girlfriend. But I was feel like I was on overload and I didn’t want to do that to one of my girls. No offense to them, I also just wanted a neutral party to explain why certain events were making me feel so bajiggity.
(In Carrie terms that means “anxious.”)
Let’s start off with the first guy who made me feel bajiggity. He’s married to one of my girlfriends and they are my neighbor. I know I’m a little naive sometimes and, therefore, I think that guys can actually…..Just. Be. My. Friend.
I love to hike and so did he. Several times he suggested that we should go hiking together. I knew going by myself wasn’t a good idea, so I took my friend’s husband up on his offer.
It was during the second time we went hiking that he confesses to me that he loves red heads and also mentioned a few times how great I looked in shorts. I laughed it off like it was no big deal, because you know, he’s married, right?
The next time we go hiking, he tells me that we shouldn’t mention anything to his wife about hiking together.
That was the last time we went hiking.
Where I come from, I’m pretty sure that if you are saying or doing something that you wouldn’t want your spouse to know about, then maybe you shouldn’t be doing it.
But, that’s just me.
A week later, I see the Married Hiker at my favorite Irish Pub. I’m out for a pint because I’m in the midst of trying to get over my break-up with the Lumberjack, who I had been dating for the last 9 months. Needless to say, I was a wee bit of an emotional wreck and just wanted to have a damn beer, or two and get my mind off of things.
The Married Hiker is sitting at the bar with another guy. He summons me over to come sit with him at the bar. I go because he is after all my neighbor and I figured what can happen in a bar, right?
Well, if I wanted any consolation about being down in the dumps, it wasn’t going to come from the Married Hiker. He saw my break-up as a good thing, like it was no big deal. However, when I care about someone, I have a hard time with breakups.
“Carrie, you are so lucky, you could have any guy here in this bar. You should just go have some fun. You’ll feel better if you do.”
I’m not sure what Married Hiker meant by that, because looking around the packed pub, there wasn’t anyone who I would even think about dating. He had met the Lumberjack a few times and I knew he wasn’t a fan of his, but he was never a fan of anyone I dated–not even my last boyfriend, who I dated for a year and a half!
It was suspect.
Just when I had convinced myself that his comments were harmless and he was just talking to me like a guy would talk to a guy friend, he announces that he was leaving, and insisted that I should leave with him.
You know, for “safety” reasons.
“I can’t leave. I’m waiting for one of my friends (Mr. Popular) to come here and meet me. He’s just down the street and is on his way…”
“Carrie, the last time I checked, any guy who is already out drinking and is coming to meet you, only wants one thing.”
Wasn’t it just 10 minutes ago that he wanted me to just go fuck someone?
I felt confused, so I tried to clarify the situation. “Look, he’s my friend, we go out all the time.”
But he wasn’t having it. “No, Carrie, I don’t feel good about this….”
He doesn’t feel good about it?
It wasn’t his to feel!
And just like that I went from confused to pissed off.
The fiery red head that takes no shit was now wide awake.
(It could have been the beer).
I leaned towards him and spat out, “Would you stop trying to live vicariously though me, please?!”
I wasn’t going anywhere with him and there was no way in hell that I would ever be alone with him again, either. I knew what he was doing. He was trying to manipulate me somehow and to convince me of something, I’m not sure of, but I knew it wasn’t good.
“This is ridiculous. Go home. I can do whatever the fuck I want. This is getting weird. You’re being weird and now you are making me feel uncomfortable!”
He wasn’t happy about it, but he left — just as Mr. Popular walked in with two friends.
And, by the looks of it, someone was half in the bag.
Mother fucker…here we go again…
Less than a week before, I had met Mr. Popular at Buffalo Billiards. It didn’t dawn on me until after that day of beer and football that maybe it wasn’t such a good idea to be meeting him for a beer anymore.
What I quickly discovered, was that when Mr. Popular drank too much, he would start putting his hands all over me, which makes Carrie *pointing at myself* feel very, very uncomfortable.
Especially because I have already had “the talk” with Mr. Popular that we are ONLY friends.
Sensing I was going from one bad situation with Married Hiker to another one, I watched Mr. Popular walk up to me all smiles and acting giddy. Considering my Spidey sense were on high alert after telling off the Married Hiker, they were now sensing that Mr. Popular had an ulterior motive other than to just meet me for a beer.
Naturally, I was right.
First he slipped his hand around my waist. Then, he introduces me to his friends, with his had still around my waist, as if we were dating or something…
Next, Mr. Popular leans and puts his face in my neck.
“God, you smell sooooooo good…” he said pulling back with a drunk shit-eating grin on his face.
That pretty much was the end of my night.
I left shortly thereafter, officially feeling bajiggity.
The following day, I get hit up by another guy friend. He also knew I was newly single and so was he. He texts me that he felt lonely and invited me to come over to his house, so we could “watch TV” together.
I politely decline.
Two days later, I’m downtown again, at the pub, trying to make up for the last time. As I’m sitting at my favorite Irish pub talking to another friend who is sitting on my left about politics, this guy that I’ve known for about a year, leans in on my right and suggests that we go somewhere else together.
What? In the middle of my conversation with my friend?
Again, I politely declined.
The following morning, he texts me:
DUDE: I hope you had fun last night.
CARRIE: I did. Didn’t expect to stay out so late!
DUDE: Glad you had fun. We could have left the bar early and had more fun 😉 Keep it in mind for next time.
CARRIE: All I really want is to go out and enjoy a beer. That’s all. I just got out of nine months with living with someone…and I’m just trying to get my footing back with going out again.
DUDE: Pause. I’m not trying to move in. I like going out and doing my own thing. You wanna do your own thing too. Thats cool.
CARRIE: I didn’t imply that…but you were hitting on me pretty hard and I just want to be clear that I’m not into “hooking up” or the “hanging out” thing.
DUDE: Well that’s good to know. A wise woman once told me it’s ok to be free with your body. I was just expressing my desire for innocent adult fun.
Yes, I could have been that “wise woman” that told him that, but believe me, it was taken out of context. If I wanted to get with him, it would have happened already. Let me not forget to mention that I live in a small town and this guy was also very friendly with the Lumberjack.
Wasn’t there such a thing as Guy Code? Or is that just a thing of the past, too? Whatever the case may be, I reached out to my brother for some advice on how to just make guys understand that I just wanted to be friends.
CARRIE: Is there any way to tell a guy that I’m not into them without them getting all fucking defensive?
NATHAN: I would think the ‘straight-up-tell-it-to-his-face-and-be-honest’ method, is best. If he can’t handle it, then he is a boy.
CARRIE: I would think that in this day-and-age, guys are fully aware of when you are into them and when you are not. When they flirt with me and I don’t return the flirting, isn’t that enough? I hate men who just are incessant and make me have to spell it out, because I’m always the bitch in the end. I don’t want to be a bitch!
NATHAN: There are more boys out there, than there are men.
And there was more to this story…
If Married Hiker wasn’t leaving something on my front door, right after I told him I wanted my space, then he was texting me completely inappropriate creepy songs that just spelled out “stalker”.
That was basically the straw that broke the camel’s back.
As I sat on my therapist’s couch, I noted the two boxes of tissues on either side of me. I wouldn’t be needing them, because I had already decided before my appointment that I had already cried enough. I was just going to sit there, and explain why I felt I needed a therapist. You know, like an adult.
“So, tell me what’s going on, Carrie.”
What’s going on? What wasn’t going on?
“Okay, I’ll just start off with the most recent stuff that has been bothering me, and making me feel really anxious. I’m at a low point right now. I’m no longer seeing someone I was dating for the last 9 months. He means a lot to me and it’s just a really messed up situation. It’s a messed up relationship that I’m not ready to explain yet, but I’m trying to move forward. It’s been really hard.”
She leaned forward and handed me a tissue box.
As the betrayal of tears started to roll down my cheeks uncontrollably, one by one, reluctantly, I took a tissue and dabbed my eyes.
“This is me not crying, okay?”
Why was it so hard for me to tell my story, without sounding like a blubbering idiot?
“I’m really trying to move forward and I realize these things take time. I get that, and I’m okay with it. But, on top of that, it seems like every guy out there that I’m friends with is trying to come at me and it feel like it’s all happening at once. What I need is friends. Just friends.”
“What do you mean by coming at you, Carrie?”
“I don’t mean it in the literal sense,” I said, “but for me that’s exactly how it feels. And look, I realize that the best relationships maybe based on friendship first, but I can assure you, all these guys just want is just sex. All they see is this pretty girl, but they don’t see me. I want someone to who wants to get to know me,” I said, pointing at myself.
My therapist nodded her head in an understanding way and continued listening.
“There are no dates being planned. I’m not being asked out. Nobody is asking me how I’m doing. They know who I was dating. They know we just broke up. Yet, I get this creepy sense that they are all just trying to give me the hard sell. I get it. They want to get me naked and in bed, but they don’t want to date me. And, if I’m being honest with myself, that in and of itself just really hurts my feelings.“
My therapist leaned back in her chair, nodded as if to agree with me, and summed up in simple terms what I had been feeling all along.
“I’m sure they can’t understand that you are feeling objectified here.”
“No,” I replied in my little girl voice. “They don’t, and just when I become single, it’s like all the guys can sense it. Even the last guy I slept with, over three years ago, starts texting me again. All my male friends start hitting me up, and I know they all want the same thing. I like having guy friends. I like the male energy, but, seriously, is there something in the air men can tell when a woman is single again?”
My therapist nodded her head and smiled at my comment.
“You know,” I said helping myself to another tissue, “I’m just feeling like I’m on overload right now. Nobody understands that having beauty is like a blessing and a curse all at the same time. It’s really a double-edge sword, you know? All people can see is what’s on the outside. I’m so much more on the inside. It just hurts. On top of all that, I’m hurting right now over my break-up. I really miss him and it just seems like nobody cares. They’re not asking me how I’m doing, because they all have an agenda. It’s not about me. It’s about them. I’m just tired of it.”
I will say this about going to a therapist, she made sense, and she did make me feel better about my situation. She validated everything I was feeling. I guess that’s all everyone really wants, right? To be seen, heard, and validated?
At the end of the session, she booked me for the following week. “Does eleven o’clock next week sound good, Carrie?”
“Yes, eleven o’clock is perfect.”
LESSON LEARNED: Guys will be guys, I get that. I also get that we all become, at some point, so needy, so vulnerable, so lonely, so everything, when we are at our most vulnerable that I know many of us have made convenient concessions.
Sex is not the answer, no matter how great we may think it is, it’s still not the answer.
Guys flirting with me is not the answer.
I want someone who will protect me when I’m at my most vulnerable, not take advantage of it.
Going through a hard time such as a break-up is difficult. There is no easy solution. I’ve realized now that sometimes you just have to ride it out–alone.
Lastly, to those guys who circle like a damn vulture, when I’m at my most vulnerable, can go take a hike.