Tag Archives: group therapy

The lesbian discount

W and I might be vacationing in Provincetown, Mass., in July.

We don’t get a lot of alone time, so this could be just what the Lesbian Doctor of Love ordered.  (Think Melissa Etheridge with a stethoscope.)

Initially, we had talked about going to Boston or Salem, Mass., but W texted me today and asked what I thought about P-Town.

I texted back that it is one of my life goals to buy something from the Provincetown Women’s Bookstore.

Cue flashback swirls and trippy music.

Flashback

The year was 2002.  A guy named Bush was president.  Later on, this will seem ironic or like heavy handed foreshadowing.

I am participating in a therapy group called “Married to a Man and in Love With a Woman.”  I am married to a man.  I can’t fathom the woman part even though I fantasize about it.

During one of these therapy sessions, a fellow participant talks about going on vacation in Provincetown with her family.  She is surrounded by hand-holding, rainbow flag-waving gay people but unable to tell her conservative family about her girlfriend.

She tells us that the Women’s Bookstore in town offers a 10 percent discount to women-loving women.  “You just have to ask for the lesbian discount,” she explains.

The bisexual in the group asks if she would get a 5 percent price reduction.

The moment that I hear about the lesbian discount, I want it.  It’s not about saving the 10 percent (even though I’m cheap like that) but about being able to identify as a lesbian.

At the time, it’s something that I can’t even imagine.  No one knows I’m a lesbian.  Not my husband or my parents or my friends.  How could I possibly tell a stranger that I’m one?

The Women’s Bookstore becomes a mythic mountain of sorts.  A challenge to train for and to conquer.

More than a decade later, I am ready.

I know that I can confidently ask for the lesbian discount.

Somehow, I suspect that they would give it to me anyway.

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Writing as group activity

Good morning, my flannel-lovin’ followers.  I thought I would take some time to talk about some of my favorite things — books and writing.  We’ll have to save some of my other favorite things — Joan Jett, 30 Rock, Heidi Klum and the chips and queso at California Tortilla — for some other day.

I’m still actively participating in my weekly writers’ group.  Every time that I write something about the meetings, W points out that I refer to it as “group” like I’m talking about group therapy.  She says it’s cute.  She pretty much thinks that everything I do is cute.  This is not a bad problem to have.

In a way, my writers’ group is like group therapy.  It is a safe place.  We share our most intimate life experiences.  We support and encourage each other.  We draw knowledge and wisdom from the other group members.  Bonus: It’s a whole lot cheaper than traditional group therapy.

Often, I find myself mentally and emotionally exhausted yet exhilarated from these group sessions.  It is not the physical pen-on-paper aspect of writing that wears me out.  Instead, it is the process of delving deep and transforming some of my life experiences into words that is so tiring.  In the end, it is a rewarding experience that is allowing me to take control of my life and to move forward with my life-long dream of writing a book.

Some of the members of my group belong to another writing group, and they have penned chapters or poems that appear in a published anthology called Slants of Light: Stories and Poems from the Women’s Writing Circle.  It is a wonderful collection of short stories and poems written by a group of very talented women.

Slants of LightI enjoyed the pieces on their own, but I was struck by the power of the anthology as a whole.  It made me think of my own writing group and how we are each made stronger by the other writers.  It might be because of a suggestion in a critique that strengthened a chapter or a chuckle in response to a humorous quip read during a read-around that provides the feedback and encouragement that a writer needs to keep pushing forward.  Even though writing is a solitary pursuit, we can, as writers, gain so much from our fellow scriveners.

I would encourage you to check out Slants of Light.  There’s something inside for everyone, including a very inspiring coming out story penned by one of my friends.  Plus, it’s a great way to support other writers who are honing their craft and working on getting their stories into print.  I know that I’ve been inspired by the mere act of holding their book in my hands.

You can order Slants of Light on amazon.com.