Posted by: Marie | July 21, 2012

(672) Unfamiliar territory – Part 1 of 5

Post #672
[Private journal entry written on Wednesday, August 24, 2011]

Today was therapy session day . . .

As Edward and I were walking up the stairs, I gave him a copy of a quarterly magazine that is published by my alma mater. It is full of bits of news about its alumni who have attended the school during the last 80 years. Since the college is at the heart of the relatively small international church in which I grew up, it is how many of us keep tabs on various people we know within the organization.

In this most current issue, there is a sizable article on Todd – the guy who wrote the “Heaven” book, and who is one of my college boyfriends. The article talked about quickly his book has become a best seller and how his life – and his family’s life – has changed as a result. I thought maybe Edward would be interested in reading it.

Photo by Martin Chen

When I handed him the magazine and explained what was in it, he said he would love to read it and he thanked me for thinking of him.

We arrived at his office and settled into our delegated spots. After all our usual preliminary routines and greetings, I quickly launched into the situation with the music teachers association. I was still pretty riled up about the whole thing and needed to vent in a setting where I didn’t have to maintain my professionalism . . .

I told him that I wasn’t so riled up about the fact there are certain standards that are to be maintained by the participants of an event . . . I’m all for standards and guidelines – if I don’t like the standards and guidelines, I don’t have to participate – I can do my own thing, instead.

I told him that the part that really gets my goat is that the group leaders refuse to document the standards and guidelines, then they act like I’m such an incompetent and illegitimate teacher because I don’t come already programmed with that information in my brain – because I can’t read their minds.

I ranted and raved and really unloaded my fury onto Edward for quite a while. He just patiently listened and nodded his head in acknowledgement every little bit.

After a while, he reflected back to me that, of course, any reasonable person would know that you can’t expect compliance with rules that are not documented and published . . . of course! When he reflected my words back to me, he incorporated even more fury than I was exhibiting . . . I guess that is his way of validating my feelings . . . and it worked . . . I felt validated.

As I was catching my breath after venting, he congratulated me on how I handled all the drama. He acknowledged me for standing up for what is important to me . . . which is giving my students an opportunity to express their creative spirits fully.

When he said that, it caught me off guard . . .

I thought to myself . . . yeah, I guess I did fight to maintain that opportunity for my students . . . and I did it because I believe it is important they have that opportunity . . . I know it is important for kids to be allowed to express themselves fully. Yeah . . . that was a good thing! Good for me!

After a small lull in the conversation, I switched the topic . . .

———————-

Me: Do you remember my mentioning James . . . the cop . . . his daughter is already taking lessons from me . . .

Edward: Yes, I do!

Me: Well, he is going to start taking lessons as well. In fact, his first lesson is scheduled for this weekend.

Edward: How do you feel about that?

Me: I think he will be a fun student . . . I think he will work really hard at learning to play . . .

And, I’m excited about the possibility the relationship holds for me to experience a healthy relationship with a high-quality and “safe” man.

Edward: Safe in what way?

Me: Safe as in I know he will behave respectfully. He will not do anything that would jeopardize his marriage . . . he is very committed to his marriage and to his family. And, he seems to be . . . um . . . well, emotionally awake . . . he seems really “tuned in” to people on an emotional level . . . maybe even a spiritual level . . . or something . . .

He’s not like you would expect a cop to be . . . he doesn’t have that hard edge to him at all. When I’m with him, I feel heard and seen . . . and emotionally connected with him. So, I think I can connect with him on that level and I can do it in a healthy way without having to worry about dating or inappropriate sexual contact.

I think it would be healthy for me to have “safe” relationships like that with more men than just you . . . I guess I need some additional firsthand experience to prove to myself there are men in this world who are capable of behaving respectfully. I need evidence that it is possible for me to experience being treated with respect by men.

Edward: I think that would be a very healthy step forward for you!

Me: (After a thoughtful pause) I am concerned about my ability to behave appropriately.

Edward: What do you mean?

Me: I have a long history of being in sexual relationships with married men . . . and attempting to initiate sexual relationships with married men . . .

I know for sure that I’m done with that behavior. I know for sure I can control myself and not allow myself to “hit on him”. But, I don’t know how to interact with a man when I’m not hitting on him. I’m not sure how to behave appropriately. I don’t have any experience with that.

[Continued in the next post . . . ]


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