ASK MYRNA: THERAPY, VALENTINE'S DAY, AND MYRNA NEEDS A DRINK
Our resident advice columnist, Myrna Joy, offers the Heauxs' perspective on all your nagging problems. Send her your questions—large or small, inane or petty, or inane and petty—to firstname.lastname@example.org.
I have two regularly scheduled activities. The first is a weekly feminist beer night, which I often attend with a friend I met through work. And the second is therapy. Very, very occasionally therapy ends up conflicting with feminist beers, and then I’m always torn. Not about whether I should attend therapy, because duh. But rather about what I should tell my work friend. Should I tell her I can’t attend because I’ll be at therapy? Is it more quote-unquote normal to say that I have an appointment?
I can't remember how regular people feel about therapy because now when I hear someone is at therapy I'm like, "YES HIGH FIVE HOW COOL IS THERAPY!? Tell me aaaaall about it if you want."
Always Be Therapy
As with anything, if you want to mitigate reputational risk, say nothing.
Say nothing if you’re worried it will get back to your boss. Say nothing if you think your friend will judge you. Say nothing if you want to appear quote-unquote normal.
But you’re someone who drinks weekly feminist beers. You’re doing the work and figuring yourself out in regular therapy (PS HOW COOL IS THERAPY?!). You’re probably someone with great hair (a girl can always tell). So I don’t think you’re someone who wants to “mitigate reputational risk” because nothing could be more boring.
I spent years tip-toeing through my low-risk life. I rarely spoke, to new friends, to coworkers, to bosses. I kept everything a closely guarded secret, even things that are objectively not secret material. Like how for years no one knew my secret food shame: that I don’t like blueberries because I find them cloying and squishy. I worried people would stop inviting me to lunch. Instead, they just stopped offering me blueberries.
Post blueberries revelation, I got into therapy (PPS HOW COOL IS THERAPY?!) and realized that there were a lot more things I could start telling people. Like how I’m also not that keen on kiwi. Like how “My Best Friend’s Wedding” is the best Julia Roberts movie there is; I don’t even want to hear about “Pretty Women” or “Mystic Pizza.” Like how I don’t always agree with my parents, even if it makes Thanksgiving a tad uncomfortable. Like how I had to leave that one really good job I had because my boss sexually harassed me.
The point is I stopped worrying about reputational risk because it was boring, and also actively undoing the work I was putting in in therapy. Life is about connecting to people, and every time you stop yourself from sharing a part of your life, you miss out on an opportunity to connect.
So say something, and your boss may hear about it, but she probably won’t care since you’ll still be a kick-ass employee. Say something, and your friend may judge you (in which case, bye friend!), but it’s just as likely she’ll say, “Awesome! I’m in therapy, too!” Or even better yet, “Awesome! I’ve been thinking about going. Is it worth it?”
Say something, and you won’t be quote-unquote normal but you will be quote-unquote you and probably quote-unquote cool and definitely quote-unquote truthful.
High fives for therapy!
I know that Valentine’s Day is a Hallmark holiday and another mark of how we’re all on a vast capitalistic downslide. But … I’d still like my boyfriend to buy me flowers. I feel like I’m at a Valentine’s Day crossroads, and I don’t know where to go from here.
Roses are red, Valentine’s Day is blue
Did you subtly let your boyfriend know that Trader Joe’s sells roses now? Because I think that’s your best bet.
Yes, it’s true that every time you open Twitter or accidentally end up in your great aunt’s kitchen with its 24-hour Fox News coverage, you’re reminded that we’re in some kind of post-apocalyptic hellscape. But that’s all the more reason to take a moment to celebrate what we can. And what we can celebrate is that the Jewel currently has Jumbo Hand-Picked Chocolate-Covered Strawberries on sale, in both four- and twelve-count packages.
We should all be party-ing more, not less. If how you’d like to party on February 14 is with a bouquet of roses, more power to you. For me personally, I’ll be sipping a margarita.