“You have a history of becoming fixated on things to the point of obsession,” she said.
I didn’t like her tone.
“Oh? Like what?”
“Why don’t you answer your own question,” she suggested.
I eyed the way her jeans bunched at the ankles right above her flats. Yup, definitely a band geek. She was a menstrual girl—a Josie Grossy.
“Well…” I said, timidly. “I obsessed over the house for a while. Projects, DIYs…”
“What else?” she asked.
I couldn’t think of anything. Dr. Matthews narrowed her already-tiny eyes at me and I squirmed in my seat. It was almost like her eyes disappeared when she did that. She became a woman with no eyes.
“You have a history of obsessing over what people think of you,” she said, finally.
“Is that what you think? I’m so bothered by this,” I joked. If she got it or not, she didn’t acknowledge my attempt to be funny when uncomfortable. I made a mental note to find a non-menstrual therapist with a sense of humor.
“Why do you think you care so much about outside opinion?” She bypassed my admittance and went straight for the kill.
I felt unsteady. I didn’t trust people who wouldn’t laugh at my jokes. I was funny. That was my thing.
“I don’t know … daddy issues?” I squeezed my thighs. It was sort of like squeezing a stress ball … only it hurt.
“You have paranoid personality disorder, Fig,” she said.
I jarred, horrified.
“What does that mean?” I asked.
“Our time is up,” Dr. Matthews said. “We’ll explore that next week.” We both stood up—me in shock, her to go to lunch. How cruel to tell someone they’re fucked up and then leave them to roast for a week.
The first thing I did when I got home was Google paranoid personality disorder. If Dr. Matthews wanted to diagnose me and then wait a week to discuss it, I was going to lean on Google for support.
They are often rigid, and critical of others, although they have great difficulty accepting criticism themselves. That was the first thing that jumped out of the text I was reading. I chewed on the skin around my fingers and thought of Dr. Matthews’ menstrual girl jeans. And then I read the rest.
Are chronically suspicious, expecting that others will harm, deceive, conspire against, or betray them
Blame their problems on other people or circumstances, and to attribute their difficulties to external factors. Rather than recognizing their own role in interpersonal conflicts, they tend to feel misunderstood, mistreated, or victimized.
Are angry or hostile and prone to rage episodes.
See their own unacceptable impulses in other people instead of in themselves, and are therefore prone to misattribute hostility to other people.
Are controlling, oppositional, contrary, or quick to disagree, and to hold grudges.
Elicit dislike or animosity and lack close friendships and relationships.
Show disturbances in their thinking, above and beyond paranoid ideas. Their perceptions and reasoning can be odd and idiosyncratic, and they may become irrational when strong emotions are stirred up, to the point of seeming delusional.
When I was finished reading the article, I breathed a sigh of relief. None of that was me. Dr. Matthews was dead wrong. She was probably all of those things and trying to pin me with her psychosis. I should probably tell her that. Maybe she’d thank me.
I decided against seeing her again, and canceled my appointment for the following week, leaving a message with her secretary saying I had a wedding to go to. It wasn’t until I hung up that I realized my appointment was on a Wednesday, and no one got married in the middle of the week. Maybe lesbians. I’d say it was a lesbian wedding if they followed up. I called my real estate agent and told her to make an offer on the house. I didn’t need anyone’s approval to live my life.
Astrology is a bunch of salty bullshit. The stars are giant flaming balls of gas, floating in a vacuum. They do not care about you, or your future husband, or your dead-end job, or if you see the world in black and white and have little use for grey (Scorpio). They most definitely don’t care, Taurus, if you tend toward conservatism, or if you’re doggedly determined. If you’re any of these things it’s your own fault, not the galaxy’s fault. I’m a Taurus, and I can tell you about myself without help from the stars.
I’m not a follower, but I’m not brave enough to be the leader either. I don’t see this as a flaw; it’s a strength, really. Leaders get burned for having strong opinions. I get to have them without the pretentious bravado. Like every time there’s an issue on Facebook that everyone is fighting about, I get to repost someone else’s opinion about it without saying a single word of my own. I follow the leader in a way that strengthens and builds them up without losing my independence. For instance, if someone says, “I don’t agree with your status,” I can say, “Well, yeah, but I didn’t write the article, and there were some good points.” And that gets me off the hook as they nod and agree.
For my birthday I asked for new rain boots. I didn’t really ask, I guess. I pinned them to my fashion board on Pinterest—the Nightfall Wellingtons. Bad Mommy had the black on white, so I pinned the white on black so we wouldn’t have the same ones. Let’s be real: I live in Seattle. I already had rain boots. The cheap drugstore kind in floral print. The designer boots were totally impractical, which isn’t a Taurus trait at all (salty bullshit). I wanted them, and I was learning to be okay with wants. My mother, of all people, delivered on the boots, which was a surprise, considering they were expensive as fuck and my mother was the type of cheapskate who would ask for gas money if she gave you a ride. That’s what years of parental abandonment will do to you—guilt you into the pinned designer rain boots. But, hell, did they ever look good on me. My horoscope probably read: You will receive an unexpected and expensive gift from a loved one!
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