SUPPORT GROUP

“I’m going to start my own support group.” I announced to my friend Evette at a coffee shop recently.

“There’s already support groups for Alzheimer caregivers.” She offered.

“This isn’t about my dad.” I said.

“Oh, a support group for writers that aren’t successful?”

“What’s that suppose to mean?”  I asked annoyed.

“Nothing.  I just thought, since you have a lot of writing you keep in a drawer, or something… you know, since you don’t really…  What was the question again?” She asked into her latte.

“Success means different things to different people!  I’m not defined by someone else’s view of success.” I said as haughtily as I could without sounding defensive.

“Okay, okay!  You don’t have to be so defensive.” She said.

“I’m not!” I shot back.

“You were talking about starting a support group.” She said, gently steering the conversation back to my initial point.

That’s the thing about Evette, you can admire her wisdom and resent it at the same time.  Or maybe that’s just me.  I have a knack for conflicting emotions.  Which could be pre-schizophrenia, but that’s another blog altogether.  (See what I did there?)

“Right.” I said, getting back to my idea.  “I want to start a support group for people with physical pain to be able to express their discomfort without judgment.”

“Sounds interesting.” She said encouragingly.

“I mean, I’ve got scar tissue from a ruptured ectopic, two c-sections, a kidney donation and a two part hysterectomy.”

Evette looked at me questioningly on the two part hysterectomy, but didn’t interrupt.

“I have scar tissue upon scar tissue!  My abdomen sometimes is a burning cauldron of pain.” I said with dramatic woe.

“And you want to be able to vent about it rather than someone telling you how to fix it?” she asked.

“Yes!” I said relieved she understood.  “I am so sick of everyone offering their advice and saying-”

“You should-”

“Exactly!” I said, thinking she was mocking those people.  “You should cut out dairy” I said imitating an annoying person. “You should cut out gluten. Whatever that is.  Or, you should exercise six days a week and do a coffee enema.  I don’t even drink coffee, why would I-”

“So, this support group…” Evette said, cutting me off.

“It’s a place where people can talk without fear of someone telling them to eat a hand full of chia seeds and get over it.   What is chia anyway?”

Evette started to say something, but I plunged on.

“And what’s that other new vegetable?  Queen, quin-”

Again Evette tried to interject.

“Quinoa!” I said, remembering the mystery word.  “You know, I don’t think these are real foods.  Where were they a hundred years ago? I think-”

“Shay!” Evette shouted, causing me to throw myself to the ground and roll.

When I looked up at her, she had that beautifully arched questioning/reprimanding eyebrow thing going on.

“What?  You yelled like I was on fire or something.” I said, sheepishly getting back in my chair.

Thankfully we were in the back of the coffee shop and no one noticed.  Although the security camera caught it all I’m sure.

“I’ll be your support group.” She said with what almost sounded like a laugh.

“Really?” I said touched by the support.

“Yeah.  You make me feel good about myself.” She said without making eye contact.

I’m not sure she meant it as a compliment, but I decided to accept it as one.  Life’s too short to believe the worst, especially in yourself.