Same Time in Two Weeks Time Then?

So I’m still in therapy. It’s not like work, where you get your progress formally evaluated on a regular basis, so naturally after a few months of schlepping there once a week I was wondering how I was doing and if I was about to be promoted to the next level any time soon.

My therapist let slip some unexpected insight when we were going over the paperwork required by my health insurance. They had wanted to know if I had a ‘pre-existing’ condition. My therapist said very casually that she had explained to them that it was just a case of some anxiety and depression linked to living in a new place. WHAT!? No way lady! Now my roommate, she’s anxious. She rants and raves and goes red in the face and takes Xanax. I’m just a bit highly strung. And depressed people don’t get out of bed. I’m like uber active and positive. I frown on lazy depressed people.

The irony washed over me – even though I had voluntarily sought out her services, my natural internal reaction was to disagree with her ‘diagnosis’. I prefer to see my visits to her as an indulgence rather than linked to any real need.

Luckily for my denial, I didn’t have to stay demoralized for too long. The positive progress report I’d been looking for came a few weeks later when she suggested we cut down our sessions to once every second week. On the downside I was given extra homework. Apparently, we weren’t going very ‘deep’ anymore. She wants me to take notes about my emotions as they occur so that we can analyze them in more depth. The same goes for my dreams. REALLY?! Ap-par-ently, when you sleep your body relaxes and all the things that are really on your mind bubble to the surface. Luckily, I dream a lot (I must have a lot of things pressing on my sub conscious) so material isn’t that hard to come by.

At the next session I picked a dream that I thought she could really sink her teeth into. In my dream I was skydiving, tandem of course, but when the time came to jump I realized that the instructor was strapped to my back and not to my front as I’d expected (apparently this is how its done in real life too). In other words, the onus was on me to lurch us out the plane (eek). Moments before jump time I also learnt that the so-called instructor had only jumped like ten times (double eek). So what do we learn from this dream? Maybe I’ve placed my trust in someone and been disappointed. Maybe I’m afraid of something. Maybe some part of me wants to take a big risk and another part of me wants to play it safe. There are so many good interpretations available. It’s a bit like seeing a fortune teller – all the things they say are a little bit true a lot of them time. My therapist is leaning towards the fear interpretation though. She’s big on fear and thinks it’s at the bottom of a lot of ‘behaviours’. Take procrastination for example. You don’t start something because you’re scared you might fail. Humans don’t like failure. So it’s easier not to start because then you can’t fail.

Double EEK!!

Double EEK!!

I couldn’t bring myself to tell her about my other dream. In this dream I’m changing an overflowing nappy – a concept I’m familiar with from my au-pairing days but still not a particularly lovely one. In the dream there is so much poo I just can’t get rid of it quickly enough. It’s a really yucky dream and not one I’d like to break down with my therapist. I really don’t want to use the word poo or any other poo simile in front of her.  I also wasn’t convinced that a meaningful interpretation of this one exists. I probably just needed the toilet, right? Not so according to Google’s dream interpretation threads. One dream guru says that this dream symbolizes letting go of issues: ‘Too often…we feel surrounded by ‘shit’ and ‘crap’ that clogs up the natural flow of life.’ Another, Freudian interpretation, is linked to money – anxiety over it or that it is coming your way. Now that sounds more promising. Maybe all dreams do have meanings, we just have to find the ones we like!

Luckily I have two whole weeks left in which to record some deep emotions and dream some moving dreams before I have to report in again. I’m hoping if I make them really good ones I can be discharged sometime soon.


The Unseasonal Pool Party

The full-blown pool party – it’s a concept I’ve dwelled upon only on some deep subconscious level  since knowing I would move to the US – land of the Playboy Mansion and the Bellagio. Being Winter in New York, I thought I had loads of time to psyche myself up for a wild w end get away to Vegas where gorgeous half naked Play Things strut around palm lined pool sides whilst their bronze bods are hosed down with  fountains of Cristal.

My window of preparation closed on me quicker than expected. I found this e mail in my inbox from one of my new dude friends this morning:

I’m having a few friends over to Le Parker Meridien near 56th and 6th Ave, 7pm – 10pm.
Heated rooftop pool + fun little suite. Cocktails and swimming etc.
Please come and bring a girl-friend. We have TOO MANY DUDES.

Shit. On the one hand, that sounds phenomenal. On the other, he definitely said SWIMMING. Which means, not fully clothed. Honestly, I can’t think of anything more unappealing. I don’t even like stripping down on sunny beaches with real friends. I learnt to swim after I started school, I’ve never owned a bikini I feel good in and there is invariably some sort of hair situation i.e. at least one area that  is not in an optimum growth phase for public display.

Thinking, however,that it would be selfish to hog such a cool invite , I forwarded it on to my roommate. The American one from Pennsylvania who didn’t want to live with guys because of what her parents might think. She would definitely not want any part of this carefully constructed perve-fest. Well, getting home tonight I realised she may be 4 yrs younger  but she has obviously been in NYC a lot longer than I have. She wanted to know whether I thought it would be cool if she got there before I do. Like, when next are we going to have access to a heated pool in the middle of Winter? Plus her spray tan from Beach Bum that she got last week has not quite faded yet and..oh yes, and she is 4 yrs younger than I am and has the body of a nymph.

I might need a few cocktails before I literally take the plunge into the same rooftop hotel pool I swam in 2 years ago on my only visit to NYC with my only long-term boyfriend. But I’ll be damned if I’m going to let some fratty Texan dudes, my vanity or my roomie’s enthusiasm stand in the way of my Vegas pool side training.

Beware Mr Nice Guy

You have to be very careful what you wish for. I’ve been ranting to pretty much anyone who will listen that I need a man. Any healthy specimen will do. Just some casual, no strings, unsentimental fun. You’d be surprised at how much of a challenge this search can be. It has taken me a year of singledom to realise that I attract two types of men: those who are in love with me and those who don’t give a shit. The in-between ‘I think you’re a cool person, let’s hang out for a bit and part fondly’ is nowhere to be found.

This, my last w end in London, before a Trans-Atlantic move saw my housemate make an attempt at a declaration of affection after a year of co-habitation. Sadly, the Nice Guy, is much harder to deal with than the Asshole. It’s very hard to know what to do with the Nice Guy. In this particular case I had to untwirl myself from his outstretched arm, take a massive step back and respond to his ‘have I got this wrong?’ with a big fat ‘yes’ and carry on doing the dishes. Awkward.

The start of the week saw the appearance of Nice Guy II. Smarter this time. Sneaky even. Didn’t see him coming. He’s a colleague so the invite to some ridiculously posh ball at the Institute of Directors almost came in the guise of a networking thing. I responded to the offer in the same way that any self-respecting woman would do on a Monday – by saying I’d have to check my schedule and revert.  All of five minutes had passed when I got an e-mail announcing that it was the last day for ticket sales so he’d taken the liberty of securing me one but was sure I would be able to suffer the champagne and four-course meal. Oh and PS. It’s a black tie event. Bloody cheek! I mean seriously, who has that kind of dress just hanging in their closet? I had a horrible feeling my favourite skintight very-above-the-knee 100% black leather dress wouldn’t be appropriate.

Naturally I sought a range of trusted female council on how to approach my To-go or Not- to-go dilemma.  The resounding conclusion was logical: tricked into it or not, I must go where the champagne will flow freely. So I’ve managed to dig out a very long, very not skintight black dress and will be generously be providing this chancer with the pleasure of my company. I can only pray for the absence of an awkward moment on the night and that this will be the last of any big gestures from the Nice Guys for some time to come.

Solace in the City


Sometimes you just need a little Time. Time for your mind to be quiet. Time to reflect, replenish. The obvious place to do this is the sanctity of your own home. Apparently not an option to single Londoners sacrificing at least a third of their income to reside in rodent infested house shares. This harsh reality hit me at 5am on a Sunday after a frustrating three hours of tossing and turning to the party sounds of the Euro-tastic revelers in my basement. They’d invaded the night before to celebrate my housemate’s brother’s birthday. Yes that’s housemate’s brother. The guy doesn’t even live here. Don’t get me wrong, I love the odd Erasmus party as much as the next ex-international student but it’s always more fun at someone else’s house, right? Personally, I prefer my first encounter of the day not to be with a drunk person rifling through my dirty laundry in search of his coat.

So if I had been in need of some Time before I was desperate for it now. With over 10,000 inhabitants per square mile in my beloved borough of Westminster, said peace and quiet was always going to come at a price. Hence it didn’t take much rationalization to convince myself that £100 for a deep tissue massage at the Langham’s Chuan Spa was an utter bargain. Sure £100 for an hour’s worth of self-indulgence feels a bit decadent but for a whole afternoon in the sanctity of one of the most delicious hotels in town, it’s a total bargain.  Having an unnatural faith in the power of the online review I was expecting a ‘luxury haven …where guests transcend into ultimate relaxation through an individually planned holistic journey…designed to re-balance and revitalize the body and soul’.

Yeah right!

More like  ‘average massage followed by use of a cramped pool, jacuzzi and sauna polluted by the noise of small children… finished with some ‘contemplation’ time on an uncomfy lounger with only a thin screen separating you from the yapping receptionists ’.  If I was being objective I would have to point out that the facilities are really just part of the hotel’s Health and Fitness Centre and if I was staying there I’d be delighted to pop down for a dip in the skinny pool. But don’t pretend to be the ultimate Eastern spa experience. And whatever you’re trying to pass yourself off as, the distinct lack of snacks and reading material is unforgivable. Paying £4 for a bottle of water and having to hunt for the Sunday paper surely does not harmonise one’s yin and yang.  All this, topped with the predictable dollop of snobbery fitting of luxury establishments, was a recipe for a thoroughly stressful afternoon.

Luckily we needn’t all make the same mistakes. If you are looking for a quality relaxation experience that won’t leave you wishing you’d donated the cash to the Church of Scientology instead, I highly recommend the Spa London, York Hall. This major VFM option is kindly brought to us by Greenwich Leisure Ltd and Tower Hamlets Council, offering legitimate day spa indulgence for your average frazzled urbanite. A casual £23 gives you access to a pristine hammam with a dazzling array of Turkish Baths, plunge pools and relaxation areas kitted out with reading material, snacks and rehydrants a-plenty. You will leave rejuvenated and with a surplus in your pocket. In my experience, always a clear path to maximum satisfaction.