Thursday, July 30, 2009
How Maria and I met.
One question that is asked of me over and over through the years is a question that is a staple question with just about anybody who is married and that question is "How did you two meet?" In order for me to answer that question I have to lead up to it with some background information. I remember back in 1994 I was feeling depressed and uncertain about things. It had been 4 years since my mother's death and I was still struggling with her loss and felt sad for my dad who was very committed to her and to my sisters and I. When she died we sensed a part of him died as well. I saw my dad struggle and felt his loneliness and isolation. I was concerned for him as he was for me. I was still at home with him and it was a difficult time because we both were going through depression. I also felt the need to have a relationship but I was very shy growing up and found it hard to date. I was uncertain how best to help myself and did not find it by going to social gatherings as I tended to be a wallflower any way so I did not get any positive outcomes from those outings. I finally decided that I needed help and had to talk to someone and I really did not want to talk to a friend as I had private things to talk about and needed to find a counselor or therapist to open up to. The next question to ask was who should I seek to see and this was also just taking a chance. I happened to come across the name of a psychologist who had an office in Astoria, Queens which was convenient since I was working in the City. I decided to call her to schedule an initial consultation and to hopefully trust enough to talk about my worries and concerns. I had suffered from being very shy for all of my life and knew if I was going to help myself I had to make a change and I knew it was not going to be easy but I had to really work at it. When I met Michelle the psychologist I felt comfortable and found the session with her a good start and I knew I was hurting so after our session she asked me if I would consider seeing her again if I felt I needed to. I did think that I certainly needed to have some form of follow up and told her that it was certain I would schedule follow up visits. Our first session was an introduction where she asked me why I was seeking therapy and I discussed my mother's passing and my dad's situation and how I felt like I was not having fulfilling relationships as I was getting older and needed to make some changes. When I was preparing to leave she said I seemed like a fine young man and that I should hold on to my mother's positive memories and for me to be strong for my dad. She gave me a hug and made me feel good. I paid her for the session and decided to schedule another visit in 2 weeks. During my visits with her she encouraged me to write a journal and focus on all the things important to me and to list all the things I would like to accomplish. She also asked me to list my proudest achievements to date. She got me to think more about my personal well being and to be more introspective. The sessions were very helpful and I felt like I was making progress. On occasion I would have to reschedule appointments because of my busy work schedule. I began to relate as a friend to Michele and she was good in helping me to rethink my life and do some soul searching. I looked upon our visits as opportunities to share things I could not with others and I felt relief and much better as my perspective began to change and I did not feel down like I did when I first started the sessions. I was amazed when I found myself still going to see her after lapses of time. There was once a lapse of 4 months and when I started to struggle with my feelings I would seek to see her so I could discuss what was going on in my life. It was late summer of 1996 and Michele surprised me with a question after our session but I certainly was open to the idea. She said she was also helping a young woman who was living in Bayside and she was from the Phillippines and looking for a friendship. She suggested I give her a call to see if we could meet. She gave me her name and telephone number and I thanked her and told her I would call her when I got the nerve up to as it was always a bit unsettling for me. After a few days had gone by I decided I would try and call to arrange a possible date. I managed to dial the number and as the phone rang and someone answered I asked for Maria and was asked to hold on. As Maria answered the phone I introduced myself and mentioned that Michele had given me her number and asked me to call. She seemed happy to hear from me and I asked her if she would like to go see a movie and get something to eat. She said she would love to and so we made our first date. It was very exciting for me as I wanted everything to be perfect. In my mind I thought about which movies to go see and which restaurants to choose from and decided it's best to have Maria and I both decide together. As I thought about it I anxiously awaited our first date which was a little less than a week away.