Sister Golden Hair Surprise, Part 4

To the world, I looked like I could accomplish any job assigned to me. I could even be a secret agent--we all know how good I was at keeping secrets.

Lorna is pursuing a Master’s Degree in Counseling and is working as a researcher. She looks like a young woman with a bright future. Is she?

It was time to reassess my love life, having  tried monogamy and promiscuity with limited success. “Reassess” was a code word for “celibacy.”  I entered a dry spell. Maybe it all that data analysis I was doing or the counseling grad students I was hanging out with. Like me, they had issues.

Surprise 9: People who choose counseling for a career probably need it themselves. I was an alcoholic obsessed with perfection and craved the approval of others to feel worthy of breathing. This made me the most well-balanced person among my cohorts. One guy had serious “mommy attachments” and was struggling with his sexual identity. Another guy was trying to convince Mommy’s Boy to spend the night with him–just to settle the issue–but he was a shameless flirt with the ladies as well. As an added bonus, he felt intellectually superior to Einstein. A particularly promiscuous woman who was angry with men, women and small animals rounded out the group with whom I studied and partied. We all wanted to help people solve their problems. Yeah, right. We spent most evenings at a local bar commiserating about our grad school work load and how screwed up other people were.

Everyone has their "issues." It's just a matter of which side of the bars you're on...

Surprise 10: Professors in institutions of higher learning are not better/smarter than the average person just because they have doctorates. One of our professors was sadistic and liked to make us cry–even the men. Especially the men. He must have confused grad school with Boot Camp. Another was so old, we had to wake him up to continue his lecture…or did we just sneak out while he was napping? It’s hard to remember.

Rule 1 for staying awake while teaching: Never lecture in a lounge chair.

The others would teach us “theories” about how to help people: active listening (required a knack for well-timed, nods, “ho-hum’s” “mm-hmm’s” and “I heard you say…tell me more…”), behavior modification (“every time you want to shoot someone, take a pillow and fluff it”) or Existentialism (“what’s the meaning of life and why aren’t you getting it?”). I simplified these theories for those without a counseling degree. Bottom line: none were proven effective but we had to master them because it was all they had.

This one seems at least as valid as the ones I learned...

I found time to socialize between my studies, my research job, taking care of my loyal-but-lonely dog, and drinking more heavily each day. It was during this time in my life that I had my one-and-only blind date.

Surprise 11: Just when I thought my love-life “reassessment” had reached a critical mass and I was fully prepared to revisit my childhood plan of becoming a nun (I could gain access to the wine used during masses, right?), a tall, dark, handsome stranger appeared in the a most unlikely place. My libido jumped through the roof–and I was stone-cold sober. The lyrics of the Pointer Sisters’ song “I’m So Excited” captures my reaction to this supernova of a man who had just entered my atmosphere…

There weren't cell phones with camera's back then (heck, there weren't cell phones). So you'll have to take my word that he looked just like this guy. No kidding!

Would Lorna make it through graduate school, what with the wacky friends, escalating drinking problem, and her libido on overdrive? What happened with the man of her dreams? Stay tuned…

~ by Lorna's Voice on August 9, 2011.

17 Responses to “Sister Golden Hair Surprise, Part 4”

  1. Don’t they say that most psycho therapists need therapy themselves? It looks like you have varified that.

    I like the way you group things into numbered paragraphs. Is this part of an OCD because I like neatly organize things, too. In writing, it seems to organize the thought.

    Excellent … as always.
    Toodles, Izzy ~~~ : – )

  2. Your comments always spur me on to write, write, write, Molly. These stories have been waiting a long time to come out. It’s so rewarding to know that there is an eager and receptive audience for them. Thank you from the bottom of my heart!

  3. By the time I’ve finished telling all my stories, you’ll have a good sense of my challenges and how I’ve learned from them. That’s what life’s about, right? Facing challenges and learning.

  4. Not everyone. That would be unfair to some really wonderful therapists out there. But I can only speak from my experience. My experience makes me a bit suspicious of people who go into psych or counseling. But I had a great psychologist help me through a rough patch a couple of years ago when I was dealing with my chronic illness and my husband leaving me. So there are great therapists out there.

    As for my Tom Selik look-alike…I’ve been waiting a long time to tell this story!

  5. Yes, when I became a professor, I remembered that rule and it served me well!

  6. We were quite the crew of miscreants…

    As I am recalling and telling my life story, I’M getting more intrigued by my escapades. It’s like living someone else’s life. I am not the same person I was back then, at least not in most ways. 😉

  7. I always stay tuned to your Blog. Your grad school companions sound a lot more colourful than mine I have to say

  8. ‘Never lecture in a lounge chair’ – I love it!

    Jacqueline

  9. Geez Lorna, you make it sound like everyone is kind of like Nadia Suleman (octomom), who I think was studying to be a counselor in between her pregnancies. Have to give you 2 snaps up for telling it like it is (or was). But please hurry and get on to the part about Tom!! Be still my heart!

  10. Adore your candor. You make me glad to be able to read (and write) another day. While I don’t know your challenges up close and personal, I have witnessed others struggling with same… so true that academic credentials do not equate to being any smarter than anyone else. Many times, it simply means there was more opportunity for learning … if only it were so, lol lol. Thanks for sharing!

  11. you are positively stoic, Lorna … just traversing counselling diploma almost wiped me out, definitely turned me off ever practising AND you keep abreast of life, your blog, counselling and fly the masters program – platinum star stuff – cheers catchul8r molly

  12. Yeah, Totstymae, he more than makes up for my blind date disaster! You’ll love whats coming next…;)

  13. Yes, I prefer dog therapy over all the supposed academic theories of fixing broken people. Counselor/Doctor, I say, heal thy self! Although I have met one psychologist who was really helpful during my lowest time of dealing with being chronically fatigued and having my husband leave me. She was great. But that’s one in how many?

    I’ll try to catch “Web Therapy” I hope they have it on Netflix, because I don’t get HBO…

  14. I’m sure you’ve heard the old joke about the priest copying the original version of the Bible. He drops his quill while he hitting himself on the head and says, “Dear Lord, the word was supposed to be ‘celebrate’…” There are better ways to purify one’s soul. Let’s leave it at that, shall we?

    And I can poke fun at the behaviorial health industry because I know it from the inside out. I never worked as a counselor once I saw the kinds of people (including me) who they accept into programs like that!

  15. You managed to distill down into a minimal number of paragraphs so many of the essential truths about the behavioral health industry and to do it with typical Lorna panache! It’s a gift.

    So… is celibacy overrated? And please, don’t tell me you want to reassess that question. 🙂

  16. Don’t know if you’ve seen the new HBO show “Web Therapy” yet or not but try to catch it. I think yo will appreciate it.

    I especially liked the dog therapy cartoon. I use Queenie all the time and all it costs is a dog biscuit. The part I like the best is she never asks me “how do you feel about that?”

  17. My libido is up just looking at the picture, so I do understand. LoL!

    I did have a friend some years ago to study psych, who said there was usually something wrong with people in those fields. Well, I say you guys work thru it as you help other folk.

    You’ve lived a life that’s intriguing to me and I will be tuning in to what happens next. That’s a sexy fella you stumbled upon.

Silence can be just what the doctor ordered. You know I'm a doctor, right?

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