Round 'Em Up

Round 'Em Up

“Do you think the couch will be purple?”

That’s what Little Miss has been asking since we were placed on the waiting list for a legit Couch Person back in December. I finally got the okay to be seen in person.

It’s a girl, by the way, so I’ll call her Couch Lady. We’ll just add her to the Gang.

The Gang that helps me keep the CIRCUS from burying me alive under the Big Top.

A friend of mine was shocked to hear that I would discuss the idea of trying therapy here on the blog. “People will… know.” She whispered the "know."

You know what? Everyone who knows me knows I need all the help I can get. I’m twitchy on a good day and ugly-crying on the bad ones. Last year, I wasn’t a crier and could function in the cat food aisle at Walmart.

This year? I avoid the cat food aisle at Walmart, and, evidently, I’m now a crier.

Don’t ask.

And I already tell you people about my overworked ticker and my nonfunctioning endocrine system and my angry spine (where Back Guy told me just last week is, how’d he put it? hoarding stress?). So yes. Therapy is indicated.

And if someone else sees a hint of themselves in my chaos (isn’t that the great thing about reading—finding yourself revealed in someone else?), and if my openness about my struggles helps them reach out to their own Gang for the help they need, it’s worth every jot and tittle in this blog.

Help is a good thing, even if it comes in the form of a purple, white, or polka-dotted couch.

Well, as long as Couch Lady doesn’t let the clowns in the room at the same time. I’m not up for group therapy with the CIRCUS Performers at this time.

I won’t be disclosing on the blog the deep and dark conversations I will most certainly have with this lady. That’s no one’s business. I do suppose Little Miss will overhear the sessions if she can’t cool her ADHD jets in the waiting room. Maybe I’ll send her packing with some other writer’s muse for the day. I can’t imagine if Little Miss must come into the session with me and starts acting up. I’d have to explain why on earth I’m arguing with a being Couch Lady can't see.

Trying it for six months. After that time frame, we’ll reevaluate whether I notice a difference. But, given the CIRCUS, I’m sure there’ll be so much to chuck in the therapy bucket that six months will become a longer-lasting gig.

Unless I wear out Couch Lady and must break in someone new. I mean, Back Guy already cut his hours down to two days a week, which puts a cramp in my schedule and leaves a certain number of cramps in my back unattended. Nurse Practitioner Lady went down to one day. And Web Guy? Don’t even ask. Little Miss and I have a track record of retiring/downsizing professionals in all industry fields.

Since I was given an appointment time after a long waiting period, I have had a whole new round of anxiety.

Are my problems legit enough to warrant the fuss? I peek in the backyard. The CIRCUS is still there. So, yes. I believe I have legitimate issues to discuss.

What if she breaks my brain? What if I can’t write anything ever again? What if the tangled mess of emotions is exactly what’s driving the creative process?

What if she prescribes group therapy with the Canon Clown, Elephant Tamer, and the Poodle Master?

What if she wants to get really serious and talk to my whole Gang?

“Round ‘em up!” Little Miss goes galloping across the office, one hand slinging a bottle rocket above her head as if there’s a lasso attached to the end of it, the other slapping her tutu-ed fanny. I struggle to keep my head from hitting the keyboard in a frustrated moan.

Can you imagine?

Group therapy with Back Guy, relatively New Doc Guy, Nurse Practitioner Lady, Eye Guy… May as well throw in Proofreader Gal, Web Guy, the Peacock Friend, and all of France. Every one of them knows more than enough to add months to my treatment plan. Give Couch Lady a real warm how do you do welcome to my life.

I’m getting ahead of myself here.

Most of what I worry about is completely ridiculous and will never materialize.

I need to turn down the volume on the “crazy” and focus on putting words together in an order that makes sense (unlike real-life events that make NO sense) that others might want to read.

Perhaps shake a few titles out of my fingers before Couch Lady rounds those up.

Wait. What if she reads my stories? How far into them would she “read”? I mean, I write some twisted stuff.

Another forehead moment on the keyboard. My eyes pop open wide and I jerk upright. What if she reads the blog?

What if she tells me the whole blog is just my brain’s twisted way of wrapping hard-to-deal-with events in sarcasm and dry humor in an attempt to cope? (Well, she wouldn’t be wrong…)

Little Miss is back from her gallop around the house. (I’d just vacuumed, and now there’s a fresh dusting of cat hair all over the place from Little Miss’s attempts at herding cats.) She reads the last couple of lines over my shoulder.

“I’ll just have to go in with you.” She plops down on the desk and lets her bare feet swing. She’s recently painted her nails (how does she find the time?), and a tuft of Stella’s fur sticks to some of the wet varnish.

“What? Oh, no way. You’re in the waiting room. Or in the car.”

“Well, it’ll just save you time and money if I go in and explain that all those twisted ideas are mine and that—”

“No. You’re in the car.”

“I won’t disclose any confidences.” She leans in close and pops a purple bubble in my face. “There’s an unwritten law, a sort of Muse-Writer confidentiality agreement.” She’s got a sparkle in her eye that I don’t quite trust.

I shoo her off my desk and rummage for the number of a writer buddy of mine. Surely she has a muse Little Miss can occupy herself with while I’m in appointments.

She catches on to my plan.

“You do remember what happened when you left me at the Shark Pool in the Golden Nugget Hotel, right?”

Why, yes. Yes I do.

“And the casino?”

I sigh. “What’ll it take?”

She grins. I’m her hostage.

“I’m out of grape bubble gum, lavender polish, purple hair bows with the gold sparkle sequins—”

She’s just getting started.  

“—bottle rockets, lighter fluid, a one-size bigger tutu in eggplant—”

I better go round ‘em up. My diagnosis depends on it.

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