Saturday, 12 December 2015

101 Ways to Convince Your Psychologist You're Normal: The Family

I've been adopted.

Finally I've been taken into the warm, heaving bosom of my new family, one that will never let me down or fail to be there when I've got confused in the detergent aisle at Asda.

I had been searching for a new family for a while but little did I suspect that an almost insignificant event could lead to me finding them, and just before Christmas too. I imagine Jesus felt similar when the wise men turned up, even if he was just a baby.

There was no guiding star though so how on earth did my new family find me? It had seemed like a normal day, I'd been shopping for presents getting increasingly annoyed with my fellow shoppers lack of spatial awareness. I'd had sandwiches and been told off for sitting in an area reserved for VAT paying customers. There is nothing worse than an admonishment from a man with a fishnet over his face.

My frustrations grew later in the day when my exercise tracker decided to stop functioning. Not only was I getting bumped about by a range of elderly shoppers but I also wasn't getting any credit for my taking a few extra steps around them. This was too much! 

Like any decent person of British heritage I took to the only weapon I had in my armoury. I wrote a letter. Well an email. Even so I felt satisfied that I had put a full stop to the difficulties of the day. 

And now, I mere 24 hours later, here it was!

'So that we may assist you further and to help keep you in the Fitbit family and working towards your goals, please provide the following information.. 

'Please let us know if you have any questions, and we'll be glad to help you out. We look forward to your reply.'

Questions? I had lots but first I needed to share my excitement and the glow of happiness that had been stirred by knowing that not only was I part of the 'Fitbit family' but also that they cherished my place in it. They wanted to keep me! 

Sadly my excitement wasn't shared 'That just sounds like a automated response. Well as long as you feel welcomed to the Fitbit family'

Automated? It was addressed to me and besides it had been signed by Theresa herself and she'd even mentioned a 'thank you' from the whole Fitbit family too. I couldn't imagine my new family sending automated emails, they'd be more likely to send hand made cards with cute little animals on them.

I sent my reply out to Theresa accepting their kind offer of adoption and enclosed all the particulars that they required to formalise the process. I imagined Theresa to be sitting at her laptop trying to watch 'The Worlds Funniest Animals' whilst losing concentration as she waited for news of my joining.

A warmth hit me when within 60 seconds I had a response thanking me for my email. My mother can take days to respond to anything I send her, not so for my new family! They are there for me morning, noon and night. They are responsive, ever watching for any news that I may put their way.

Again my excitement was not shared by everyone 'Your mum will be very upset if you get adopted you know.'

It felt like I wasn't being allowed to move on. Why should I care what my mother thinks? 

'Well she never replaced my little bike. It's her own fault.' I responded getting ever more tetchy at the lack of support I was receiving.

It was true. I'd received a bike for Christmas one year, a little blue one that was cute despite being second hand. I loved it and I peddled it everywhere I could, round and round until my little feet could peddle no more. The only issue was when I peddled it down a hill. A bike needs two key functions, to start and to stop, and this is where my blue bike failed. I couldn't stop it. So a new bike then? Oh no! Just don't go down hills quickly and use my feet to stop.

My new family wouldn't do that. They've offered me a replacement tracker, a whole new tracker. All shiny and with a bell that works. Well OK, it doesn't have a bell, but I bet they'd add one if I asked them, not just say 'speak to your father.'

So yes, my mother might be upset but I was happy thinking about all the good things I could do with my adopted family. I expect they help old ladies across the road and rescue little cats out of trees. They'd enjoy picnics on the beach and remember to bring napkins and everything. They'd celebrate my birthday with balloons and one of those big banners placed outside my door. I bet they'd remember cake! 

Then the worries came. What if I wasn't good enough? What were their expectations of me? I didn't want to let them down or become the black sheep of the Fitbit family because my views on sex before marriage differed to theirs. Despite looking through their Q&A section for new adoptees there was nothing that could reassure me. I don't deal well with pressure and I'd agreed to something before fully understanding what my family expected of me.

A new family and already I was having stress. Normally I run in these situations but it felt difficult when my new family already tracked my movements. It began to feel more like a cult than a family and I was now stuck with Theresa for the rest of my life.

There was only one thing left for it, I had to resort to email again, I had to stop this before the pressure became to great.

'Dear Theresa and my Fitbit family, I'm really grateful that you have chosen to replace my tracker but I feel unable to remain as a fully committed family member. Don't get me wrong, I'd still like you to monitor my steps and all that exciting stuff, I just don't feel I can help you with cooking a Sunday roast or helping old age pensioners, plus my mum would be upset. Please accept my apologies to everyone including Uncle Brian.'

So there it was. I was an orphan once more, albeit an orphan with an elderly mother.

Within 60 seconds Theresa was back.

'We've received your support request. To update your case at any time, simply reply to this email.'

I sighed. It felt like an automated response.

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