What Am I Willing To Give Up?
It’s funny hearing the things I do. When you sit around and truly listen, you pick up on what people are really grappling with. I’ve really come to understand this since January when Piper picked me up at the warehouse, but more and more, I hear, “What am I willing to give up?”
Dark and Lonely
Sitting in the warehouse all these months is dark and lonely. Granted, it is lovely to have the lights on during the day. People touch my buttery, soft brown arms; some even take a seat. I get so excited when I have someone try me out. But, inevitably. They’d get up and move on. I never understood that.
How can you decide if you don’t sit in it for more than a few seconds or minutes?
Frankly, it made me feel worse about myself. It felt like every day had passed, and it was always the same. No one chose me. No one chose the change they’d feel having me in their home. I knew I would be a great fit. I knew that they would cozy into me, and we would be able to make great memories together. But, the lights would go out. Then they would turn back on. I would watch people pass. Then the lights went out again, and the process would start all over.
Is this the One?
Like any other day, I was stuck on the hamster wheel of indecisive humans. Then, this little human kept coming by. She said, “Piper, come here. I found one.” The little one kept touching me, and she sat on me. She wasn’t a good fit; she kept saying her feet didn’t touch the ground. But then, this Piper came over. She didn’t seem all that enthused about me. I didn’t want to get my hopes up.
Too many times, I sought out “the one” only to learn we weren’t a good fit.
Piper was in the market for someone like me. I sat up as straight as possible and beckoned just the right lighting from the warehouse lights. The little one even grabbed a pillow from down the way and tossed it on my lap. It felt nice getting a little dressed up. Then, she sat. No, not the little one; she isn't for me. The taller one. I felt her stretch out. She rubbed my arms. Then she tucked her feet under and sat back. Did I hear a sigh? Is that a good sigh? What kind of sigh was that? Is she actually the one?
Cost and Benefit
Wow. I was excited about Piper, but she kept asking the little one questions like, “Well if I get this one, will it fit? Will I always like this color? Is it too expensive? Do I pay for it now, make payments?” Then she went on and on about how maybe she was “too big for her britches.” I don’t understand that; she felt like her clothing suited her. She went back and forth, saying she could make an old chair she had at home, work.
She owned it, knew it, and it didn’t cost her. Something about sitting in the old beat-up chair was at least what she knew.
Then she shifted; she talked about what it would look like to take me to my new home. She talked about me being genuine leather, that I’d last much longer. She talked about how I was a bit stiff but knew I would get more comfortable over time. She said she loved sitting crosslegged in me and could “just see me talking to clients in this.”
This one started to sound like she would take me out of here!
Fear of Purpose
Wait a second; she may buy me. What does that mean?
Yes, I’ve been saying I want out of this warehouse. But is it that bad? I can sit here with the same routine; people still look at me, sometimes they sit, sometimes they admire me. If I do go home with Piper, what will she use me for? What will my purpose be? Yes, I know what I am made for, but what is my purpose? She is making this sound so serious. What if she decides she doesn’t like me? What if she ends up abandoning me? What if I don’t like the new space? What if I’m shoved into some corner and live a miserable life?
What if I don’t like who I become?
Something changed in her voice. Piper started talking about our “work together.” Like, I’m going to be used for something pretty important. She spoke about how she had learned over the past few years that to find contentment, she had to step into autonomy and stop being afraid. She saw and felt substantial personal growth and was at a place of self-acceptance, including making a big purchase.
Then she kept going. She started to daydream out loud. She wanted growth and autonomy for her clients. She wanted them to find self-acceptance. She wanted to create a space that brought a positive connection. She said, “Even though it’s just a chair, it is part of my purpose. To sit, listen, love, lean in, learn, and master my calling.”
Whoa. Piper seems intense. Or is she? Then she says,
“I can choose the fear of the old and the unknown or joy.”
And that was it; I heard her walk off.
I was just getting into her. I heard what she was saying. I had to ask myself, what am I willing to give up? Am I ready to stop sitting in the dark, lonely warehouse even though it’s all I know? Was I willing to give this relationship a chance rather than give up after a few moments? Am I willing to give her a shot, soften, and not be so rigid even though others weren’t a good fit? Could I step out into the unknown and be willing to learn who I could become with Piper? Could I choose joy?
My anxiety was at an all-time high. I suppose I was ready. I wanted to see life outside of the warehouse. I wanted to see what could be. Where did she go?
“I’m all in!” That’s all I heard. Piper sounded so happy.
She grabbed me, told me how excited she was to put me in her new office, and promised some incredible times and that I would be welcomed into the most vulnerable and intimate spaces in people’s lives. She told me that it was an honor to sit with her clients. She told me that some of the things I would hear would hurt, make me laugh, cause pain, bring celebration, cause disgust, and every single feeling I felt was to be held. Safely. I am so willing to give all of it up for this chance.
I can’t wait to get started.
Author’s Note: This fun idea came from my photographer, who graciously allowed me some shots in my favorite chair. She encouraged me to write blogs all from the chair’s perspective. I am not a creative writer, nor am I a fabulous writer. Still, I am passionate about my work as a mental health counselor. “Brownie” (the chair) shared in this first tale the many stages individuals go through when choosing counseling. Brownie also reveals some of my most vulnerable fears: am I too big for my britches? Am I good enough for this calling?
When people initially seek me out, some make snap decisions about whether to start therapy. Often, it’s because they’ve tried many therapists, and they weren’t a good fit, or worse yet, they caused even more pain.
Sometimes, I watch individuals consider that stepping into something new will cause too much discomfort. Their old way of thinking and behaving, although causing distress, was at least something they knew. Then I see them wrestle with the what-ifs of fear, most significantly, the “What if I don’t like who I become? What if others don’t like me?”
Then, I’m gifted with their resolve. To choose the joy they know they can find if they step into the process. I watch individuals decide to give up all their fears and unhealthy environments and give therapy a chance.
In the coming blogs, I will share safely what Brownie and I experience together. Along the way, I hope you will engage with me. These blogs are as much about sharing what takes place in the therapy room as it is a space for me to share my heart and pain. Vulnerability goes both ways in counseling; I’m here to share it with you. -Piper