“How are you doing?” HT asked.
“Pretty good, I guess. I have a headache today, though,” I replied.
“That’s too bad. Can you get comfortable?
“Yeah, I’ll manage.”
“So, what’s been happening in the past few weeks?” She asked.
“Well, we had our camping trip,” I said.
“And how did that go?”
“It was okay. I mean, it was good and all, but it’s camping, not exactly my idea of a vacation. This is Carol’s family’s thing, not mine.”
“It is a lot of work,” HT said.
“Yeah, exactly. You’ve got to set everything up, you’re sleeping in a tent, there’s no power, cooking is different, you got a cooler that you need to keep topped up with ice, you gotta clean everything up properly, the bugs bite like crazy… it’s just not my first choice for a vacation. I did enjoy it though. I relaxed a lot. I even wrote a whole song from start to finish. It was Carol who began complaining that she wanted to go home, not me,” I replied. Don’t get me wrong, I would’ve happily left a day early if Carol wanted to, but the situation was good enough that I could make it through the whole week.
“Did you and Carol fight at all?” HT asked.
I thought about it for a moment. “No, I don’t think we did at all. We did this past weekend though.”
“What were the circumstances of the fight?”
“I was driving in an unfamiliar area. She was trying to navigate. We couldn’t rely on the GPS because we wanted to take the long way home, and I couldn’t get it to find the correct route. We needed to get on a certain highway and there were all these weird intersections on the way there and I missed the turn a few times. While I was driving, Carol started yelling at me, ‘Go there! It’s right there! Turn around! Why are you still going this way?!’ but I couldn’t just turn around so I kept driving until I could find a side street to pull over at and get my bearings.
“I found a spot to pull over and I said, ‘You are literally the worst navigator in the history of the world, and you’re going to sit there yelling at me while I’m trying to drive in a strange city through these weird intersections?!’ Then I figured out where I was going and got on the right road.
“Carol was quiet while I drove down the road. I said, ‘Look, I’m not mad at you, it was just a stressful driving situation,’ and, ‘You’re not the worst navigator in the world, I’m sure there’s one or two who are worse.'” I cringed, looking back at my lame attempt at humour.
“What did Carol say to that?” HT asked.
“She just kind of nodded but stayed silent. Then I saw the tears coming out from under her sunglasses.”
“How did it make you feel to see that she was crying?”
“I didn’t care. If she wanted to cry about it, then whatever,” I could see HT was expecting me to explain further. “I mean, I didn’t feel guilty at all for losing my cool. She shouldn’t have been yelling at the driver! Do you know what it’s like to be driving in a strange area, trying to figure out where you’re going and not get into an accident, and the passenger is just yelling at you?”
“It makes a stressful situation worse, but don’t you think you could’ve handled it differently?” HT asked. “Maybe when you pulled over you could’ve told her calmly that her yelling wasn’t helping?”
I shrugged. “Yeah, sure, I guess.”
“Do you think maybe it gave you a feeling of power to see her cry?”
“Maybe, I guess.”
“Are you happy?”
“I’m just kind of ‘meh’.”
“Is Carol not being a better wife and meeting your needs?”
“Yeah, of course she is. The sex is great and all, we’re spending time together, but none of that will ever make up for being with that idiot.”
“Then why don’t you leave?”
“Because she’s family.”
“But you’re not happy. Are you just coasting now, being complacent?”
“Absolutely not. She takes care of me properly and I will accept no less. I’m working toward my goals, bit by bit. It’s not at all like before.”
“Would you like to be happy?”
“What does that even mean? Who’s ‘happy’?” Keep in mind that I did have a headache and might have been just a tad cranky.
“I am,” HT replied.
“Why?” I asked.
“I’m happy with my job, where I am in life, with my friends who are caring and understanding…”
“That’s ‘happy’? Do you walk around with a permanent smile on your face or something?”
“No, it’s not like that but, yes, I am happy.”
“C’mon, that’s nonsense.”
“You are very bitter right now, and understandably so, but people are happy in their lives.”
“You gotta be pretty blind and deaf to the world around you to be ‘happy’.”
“That’s the bitterness talking.”
“Okay, seriously, what is ‘happy’?” I asked. “It’s just an emotion. You can’t walk around feeling that all the time, that’s not how life works.”
“But you can feel many moments of happiness in a good life. When you’re out camping with nature, when you’re spending time alone, when you share special time with your partner.”
“But I do get those moments, then I go back to neutral,” I replied.
“But you also have a lot of anger.”
“Not too much,” I thought I was doing very well with that, if you compare my anger level now to a few months ago.
“And a lot of sadness.”
“Not at all,” I argued.
“Do you want to feel better than you do now?”
I thought for a long while. “I don’t know,” I replied. I sure don’t want to feel the hurt I felt before, and if the trade off is not feeling much love, I think I’m okay with that still.
“Okay, let’s approach it from this angle. What is in your life is unfulfilling that you want to change?”
I thought for a while again. “My job. I’m not doing what I want to do with my life.”
And now HT had something she could work with, instead of me arguing the definition of happiness.
I explained how I was making a lot more progress with my music hobby but I had to keep going, keep gaining momentum. HT asked about how I’m going to get my music out there but I told her I wasn’t interested in a career in music, I just wanted to follow through with it. My dream career is actually doing voiceovers but my progress on it has slowed down a lot after a few auditions went nowhere.
We came up with a schedule to keep me on the path to reaching my goals, which will have me continuing to work on music regularly and auditioning for voiceover work. Then we did some hypnosis about the tools I believe I need to achieve my goals: motivation, confidence, and practice.
When I was leaving HT gave me a task: “I want to hear one of your songs in four weeks.”
“A finished and recorded song?”
“Oh, boy. Yeah, okay. I can do that.”
And so I went home and got my studio up and running again. I have many songs to choose from but I had to pick the best one for my limited recording options. I sure could use some more equipment, but I can make do with what I have for now.
Overall, there was not much discussion about my marriage and that’s how I wanted it. I was really tired of talking about it and it’s not always the number one issue in my life. It’s going okay. So what if I don’t feel bad about making her cry one time? After what she has done to us, excuse me for having a little less sympathy for her. The marriage is a work in progress and we have a long way to go still.
There are other things on my mind when it comes to improving my life. I want to follow through with my ideas and achieve some goals. The last time I auditioned for anything was a year ago, and then I had shared it with all of my friends and family. I was okay with taking such risks then because I was single and trying really hard to do anything but think of my broken marriage. Since then, I’ve been working hard on building a new marriage and it’s going okay so now I need to focus a little more on me. So that’s what I’m doing.