For Science

Met the therapist for the first time yesterday. Nice dude, looks a little bit like Bill Nye without a bowtie. 

Not much to report just yet -- most of it was just preliminary questioning to establish that I'm not insane or strung out or just repeating a family history or whatever, but it's always interesting to see when you're answering what amounts to literally a checklist of stuff (are you on any prescriptions, any history of mental issues in your family, etc.) where people will stop and ask for more detail.

I mean I guess when you get right down to it that's what therapy is -- Someone asking you plain questions and waiting for you to give a weird answer and then digging into why you didn't just say "yes" or "no" -- but the thing is that I have a few built-in strange things on my genetic/family resume that almost always require further digging, so what ends up happening is that I get to sort of "analyze the analyst" by watching their face scrunch up when I try to explain the dynamics of it all.

First of all -- I'm adopted, so whenever I'm asked about family health history I always have to shrug my shoulders because biologically I simply don't know anything about them. 

But then when it gets into my upbringing, and they ask me about my parents and what my childhood/homelife comes up, I always forget just how fucked up and bizarre the whole tale sounds for people who don't know me.

Here's the quick version:
  • My mother and her mom (my grandmother) always had a contentious relationship. Just didn't get along, lots of sniping and undercutting -- which apparently goes waaaay back to when she was a little girl and lasted literally up nearly until the day my mother passed, when my grandmother told my mom to her face that she was "faking cancer" and should just get out of bed.
  • One of the ways my mom fought back against this was by dating boys my grandmother hated. When she was in highschool this culminated in a long relationship with a guy named Jesse who was (according to my grandmother) apparently the worst of the worst.
  • Evil boyfriend Jesse went into the Navy and became friends with another sailor named Jack.
  • Jesse (and my mom) and Jack (and this woman I met many years later who was foine as hell) used to double date.
  • Jesse got assigned to a ship that went out on duty, and somewhere during the deployment the friendship between my mother and the sailor named Jack grew into attraction, and they eventually got married.
    • The details of this incident are something I've never been able to dig out of my old man. As much as I love the guy -- the idea of him snaking some other dude's chick (and telling the other girl to hit the bricks) is waaaay out of character with my image of the man who raised me.
  • After living in many different parts of the country my parents settled down in Colorado, with their adopted son (me) in tow, and another (my brother) on the way. 
  • Several years later, my grandfather became very ill and my mother wanted to be closer to him. So my  family decided to move back to Florida.
This is where things get really weird
  • Apparently partially out of desire to be close to my ailing grandfather and partially out of financial hardship -- my parents built their Florida home ACROSS THE STREET from my grandparents' home, putting my mother and grandmother on a direct collision course for the rest of their lives.
  • After many years, my parents marriage began to crumble and eventually ended in divorce.
  • Somewhere around this time, evil boyfriend from the past Jesse resurfaced and eventually began dating my mother as an adult (much to the utter rage of my grandmother).
  • Mom and Jesse eventually got married (much to the eternal rage of everybody else).
  • Years of family strife followed, but long story short everybody who was still in the house moved out and there was lots of bad blood for years associated with my stepfather that negatively affected everyone listed above (except I suppose the girl my dad originally dated before he married mom).
  • My mother eventually realized he was an asshole and divorced Jesse.
  • When the lease on his bachelor apartment changed enough that he needed to relocate, my mother (who was now living in a big empty house) offered my dad/her ex-husband the extra room in the house as sort of a roommate. It was convenient for both of them, and the majority of their active hostilities from the divorce had long faded -- but it was still just weird, even though it seemed to work for them.
My parents grew to be friends again because of this closeness and proximity, and as my mother's health problems began to present themselves it was really a good thing that he was there. They didn't get back together or anything, but they were partners of a sort before my mother passed.

Now if you actually stuck around to read all of that and somehow digested it -- I imagine your face is wearing an expression pretty much exactly like the one Bill Nye the Therapist guy had when I got through explaining all of this to him at the session.

And yeah, there was lots of drama involved in all those bullet points that any therapist worth his salt might try to make hay out of -- and to be honest there are occasionally weird parallels in my own life (I first met my ex-wife when she was dating a friend of mine, etc.), but weirdly I'm at a point in my life where this is more or less just "stuff that happened."  Especially since my grandmother passed, a lot of this has just become ancient history -- as it no longer affects us day to day like it used to. 

I suppose it's possible that the remnants of all this mess potentially play into whatever my issues are, but I sure hope not, because it sounds like the outline for some Telenova that comes on before Sabado Gigante.

[Now Playing:  Alabama Shakes - "Hold On" ]


LadyShay said…
Maybe I need to make a bullet list of my upbringing because reading this, I just didn't get scrunchy faced or even wonder WTF. I felt at home, even though my upbringing was different.
Hex said…
Most families are pretty wacky, I guess -- but the look on the guys face when I was trying to connect all these dots for him was pretty wild.
unMuse said…
When I turned 35, I started asking a lot of direct questions that no one would answer for me when I was growing up. At first my dad was really hostile, making my actual biirthday-day have a lot of tears, even though I tried to party. But over the last month, he's been more open and less "poised to strike" and it's surprised me how much like my own early 20s our lives has similar bullet points (like you mentioned).