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Girl With a Kind Face Starts Charging a Therapist’s Fee for Trauma Dumping

Photo by Daniel Scanlon / Under The Button

It happens when I least expect it. I’m definitely a sympathetic person, at times empathetic. I don’t mind being a shoulder to cry on for a friend. But I am not the empath that strangers assume me to be. Too often I find myself being a therapist for classmates, acquaintances, and complete strangers. All I have to ask is, “How are you?” and they plummet into a sob story that I couldn’t care less about. Walking back from class I learned that my classmate was forced to speak in tongues every Sunday from ages 5 to 16. The whole time I was consumed by my anger at him for stealing the armrest from me in class. A few days later on the bus another classmate told me that his fifteen year old brother tried ketamine and he doesn’t know how to tell his parents. In the bathroom, a hallmate tells me from another stall that the boy she’s in love with is in an ethically non monogamous relationship but still not interested in her. All of this leaves me thinking, “Damn! I didn’t ask for the whole story!” 

Usually I am told that the reason for this emotional downpour is my kind face. I can’t change this about myself, believe me I’ve tried. So, I’ve devised a solution. When a stranger jumps into a tirade about their parents divorce or their boyfriend’s piss kink, I will start keeping a timer. My starting rate is $37/hr, enough for a trip to Kiwi for froyo with all of my friends. I don’t take insurance. From now on, if you see me walking down Locust and feel like unpacking your unreciprocated crush on a WilCaf barista or how you're being friendzoned by a Sig Ep guy, open up your venmo first.