1. Talking openly about therapy and anti-depressants.
Because of movies and TV and Woody Allen and my inherent assumption that everyone is as miserable as I am, for a long time I didn’t even know that therapy had a stigma. Most of America is on pills and it’s my belief that even the sanest person could benefit from a check-in with a shrink.
I don’t understand the big deal in admitting that you’re a little groggy because you’re switching up your psych meds. I don’t understand the big deal in quoting something your therapist said — and citing her — if it’s relevant to the conversation. It took me six months to catch on that the eye-blinking, stilted reactions I got from people when I casually referred to therapy as though it were a nail appointment was because it is a thing that other people think is an intimate and momentous admission. To me, dealing with head sickness is not so different from dealing with body sickness. We’re all a little scewed up in our own ways, just like we all have our own little ailments of poor circulation or back pain. So why don’t we talk about it the way we talk about Zicam and Advil? To me, chill openness about being in therapy or on meds reveals not craziness, but a mature interest in self-improvement, and even better, a bold declaration of a lack of shame. At least, that’s what my therapist told me.
2. Eating Alone at Restaurants
I don’t need someone to sit across from me in order to enjoy my delicious sandwich. Going out to eat isn’t always about being social; sometimes you just want a solid meal and to just sit there and to have it served to you. Being surrounded by people who are laughing joyously in groups while they eat doesn’t strike much envy into my heart, so don’t feel sorry for me if you see me hunched over baked macaroni n cheese, alone and silent, at the corner table of a busy restaurant. I am content. The same goes for seeing movies alone, although I get the sense that society is generally more comfortable with that one.
3. Not Liking Your Dog
I don’t like dogs. I am allergic to them. Plus their slobber/odor/spasmodic eagerness repulses me. Most dog owners believe their dog is Jesus, therefore you are a sociopath if you don’t want to pet your friend’s dog as soon as it maniacally leaps at you when you come over for a barbeque. I used to jump away and murmur-giggle, “I’m kind of allergic to dogs!” as an explanation. Now, I admit it: My aversion to canines hugely transcends allergy. I’m finally willing to brave the passive-aggressive replies: “Well, she’s hypoallergenic, so it’s okay!” and “But she’s not like other dogs! She’s more like a cat/baby/wolf!” I hold my ground: I don’t care; don’t let it touch me.
4. Eating Cookies for Breakfast
I live above a Lenny’s and when I walk through the door, by the time I get to the counter, the girls at the register have a black and white cookie wrapped up and ready for me. I don’t know if I’m the only one who craves sweets immediately upon waking, or if I’m the only one who acts on it. All I know is that I once overheard them call me “cookie girl” and I was not ashamed.
5. Starting the Night Before Midnight
This is more of a call for change than a social rule that I actually violate because to try to violate it would be logistically impossible. You know how the Facebook event page for a party always says it starts at ten, but you’re not actually supposed to show up till midnight? I want to show up at ten. When the sun falls I am ready to party; I want to rage hard. And then be asleep by one or two. If we started our nights as soon as it was dark out, we would be able to party on weeknights more often. This call for change is a result of the combination of being too excited and impatient to get out there and start having fun, and of being in early-onset old lady mode. Black skies are for partying; why does what’s on the clock matter?