I think I’ve finally earned my stripes as an artist. It’s true. After finding myself in a closet – literally – full of emotion, I figured it was time to seek some professional help. Welcome to the dark side of Lily.

Personal details aside, therapy (or counseling, or psychology, etc.) is pretty much like its visual representation on TV. When I first got to the office, there were stacks of Psychology Today magazines spread out on a coffee table. Reese Witherspoon’s smiling face was on the cover of one of them. For some reason, celebrity endorsement is relevant to my mental health.

On the wall, there was a panel on which a list of names was posted. Next to each name was a buzzer. I buzzed my therapist, one G. Honeyduff. I’m not kidding. That was her real name. She came out dressed in business attire with a frilled blouse, which reminded me of how some birds’ breasts puff up when they’re trying to attract a mate. Was this her scheme for luring in patients? I set this question aside in my mind and decided to introduce myself instead. She answered sweetly.

We entered her office, fitted with a comfy couch and pillows, then an easy chair opposite of it. For a second, I was silly enough to second-guess which was my seat. I sunk down into the couch and awaited what was next. Turns out, Dr. Honeyduff was waiting on me to say something first. I should have guessed it. Had I learned nothing from TV?

For an hour, she picked my brain and gave feedback that, at first, I received with ample skepticism. Here I was, sitting and talking to a total stranger about my deepest, darkest emotions. We had only known each other a few minutes. How could I assume that Dr. Honeyduff would get the full picture about me in such a short period of time? Halfway through, I paused for a very long time. Unable to look Honeyduff straight in the eyes, I inspected her frills to focus on something. I imagined my mind being just as convoluted as her frill pattern. Taking a deep breath, I eased down my guard a little, reclined against the pillows, and found a space to simply talk. And you know what? It was nice to have that. Whether or not Honeyduff was en pointe with gauging my emotions, it felt nice to know that my venting wasn’t bringing anyone close to me down.

On my way out, she told me, “Be good to yourself this week.”

As Dr. Honeyduff’s saccharine smile disappeared behind the door crack, I thought, Hey, that’s not a bad idea. It’s never too late to start. Even if you have to learn to start all over again.

Christmas lights in my room

In “light” of my recent illumination.

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