It's Not Me, It's You -- An Excerpt.
by Stefanie Wilder Taylor
For my column this week I decided to give you all a chance to glimpse a bit of crazy from life in the form of a chapter from my new book It's Not Me, It's You that comes out July 7th. I will also be on the Today Show on Thursday July 9th talking about the book and my ex-love alcohol. Join me won’t you?
HITTING THE BEE
I broke my therapy cherry at the tender age of seventeen. My first therapist’s name was Irma and she was maybe sixty? I wasn’t an excellent judge of age at this point despite the fact that Botox was years away –but besides the wrinkles I had a few hints; the woman was wearing bifocals and the most useless clothing item ever invented -a shawl - so that was a good tip off that she was probably eligible for the senior citizen discount. I worried that a woman in her sixties wouldn’t be able to relate much to a teenager’s problems but I tried to keep an open mind.
I was having “food issues” as well as “I hate my stepfather issues” not to mention that I could not go on more than two dates with a guy without feeling suffocated and things were not going well at home. I was a simmering stew of teen angst, anxiety and anger. My mother, who was a mental health professional, felt strongly that counseling could cure everything from multiple personalities to third degree burns. Maybe I should have known better than to consider her advice as gospel, considering my less than functional upbringing, but, hindsight is 20/20 and given the time I’ve spent in therapy, hindsight would have saved me enough cash over the years to be driving a Bentley Continental home to my own Malibu mansion. So my mother made the decision that I needed help –in fact, she made it a condition of my staying at home that I go talk to someone about why I couldn’t get along with my stepfather.
Besides being about five generations away from me and reminding me not so slightly of a cafeteria lunch lady, Irma’s bifocals magnified her eyes to such a cartoonish size that when she looked at me quizzically over the near sighted top half, it made me think of one of those creepy big eyed kid lithographs. It was disconcerting, to say the least. But the real deal breaker was that Irma was more than pleasantly plump and, unlike me, didn’t seem to be agonizing over it in the least. She’d long ago given in to the allure of polyester pants suits and who could blame her? The woman was probably not packing up after a long day of doling out compassionate nods and hitting the nightclub circuit, she was more likely going home to rearrange her Hummel figurines and knit a tea cozy. How was I possibly going to tell her that eating two cookies made me feel like I may as well get in the car and drive through every fast food joint within a five mile radius because fuck it I’ll always have a huge ass and no self control! without having to add, “Not that there’s anything wrong with it!”
My appointments were every Saturday morning and they usually followed a Friday night keg party which brought with it a mean hangover so most sessions I spent running back and forth to the bathroom or begging for Tylenol. Luckily, most of the time I saw her was during flu season so she didn’t think too much of it. But I didn’t start getting along with my stepfather any better either.