Dec 01, 2021 1:15 PM
group therapy on Wednesdays
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Karen peeks in, not really tagging along with anyone but pretty sure this is the best place to be right now. PROBABLY she should at some point get in the habit of doing her homework during work period, but her sense that the scholomance follows zombie apocalypse rules is telling her that morale and teamwork are going to be equally important for surviving it, and she has more experience with homework than with teamwork.

"Hey! Anything else we're gonna want to do to set up?"

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"Hey Karen! No hot chocolate from the Void today, so we don't need to figure out mugs.... oh! We need to light the candles. ...should we light them all or will that just make the room smell confused."

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"I'd think one at a time," says a new voice, "unless any are really good combinations? And then if the void's uncooperative later you'll still have some. ...Are you sure this is the best place to host it? It's nice, but it's still a single dorm room."

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"I'm not really sure how many people to expect? If it's, like, eight of us, I say we hang out here and get cozy, if it's like twenty then probably we should steal an unused classroom or something. But I'd rather be here even if it's a bit tight, the classrooms are so dreary. Not a therapeutic environment at all. Ennis, Karen, by the way, Karen, Ennis has the best affinity in our year, cosmetics." She realizes belatedly that this is sort of rude to Orion but she bets he's barely listening.

 

She sniffs the candles and then lights one.

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She waves to Ennis! "Hi, Ennis."

She has never used cosmetics in her life, but that seems like kind of an unnecessary thing to say, so she doesn't.

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"Lovely to meet you, Karen."

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Anemone hasn't been in this area of the dorms before, but she's pretty sure she's found the right spot.

"Hello. Is this where the therapy group is setting up?"

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"Yep! We might have to relocate to a classroom if we get too many people but I'd rather do it here, cozier. I'm Julia."

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On the one hand: This is probably not a great use of time.

On the other hand: It's a perfectly good way to meet more people, and if the first day turns out to not be worth the time investment she can always just not go to the others.

And on the third, decisive hand, not that she would admit that this is the decisive thing: She's really curious.

"Oh, wow, pretty room. Hi, I'm Ayako."

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"Ennis Reilley, Manchester."

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"Kyoto. Nice to meet you."

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....Okay wow that's so many people! 

Marian looks around. "Uh, hi Karen! Hi Ennis! Hi Ayako! Hi...uh, sorry, I didn't catch your name? Anyway I'm Marian! I'm the school nurse." 

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Julia has borrowed the teapot from New York's reading room; she fills it up with water and sets it on her bookshelf to boil it. "Come in, make yourself comfortable! We have meditative chocolates from the Void."

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"Hello," she says to Marian. "We met before, I'm Anemone. I brought my enchanted tarot deck, if anyone wants a reading later."

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Marian has the instructions packet that came with the box of chocolates! She has briefly skimmed them and they seem TERRIBLE but it's not like she has much of a repertoire of other ideas for how to do this. 

"....Uh, it - comes with meditation instructions? If you want me to read those at some point? - oh, right, hi Anemone!" Oh no she forgot someone's name again she is going to DIE of embarrassment now.

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"What makes a chocolate meditative?"

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"I'm not sure?" ....She is not going to give a lecture about placebo affects nope nope nope. "I - uh - I asked the void for group therapy chocolate and this is what it gave me? But also Julia's rug is Buddhist and I figured this might be, like, the kind of thing that'd make it happy and less likely to turn evil and murder people?" 

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"....well now I'm curious what it means for a rug to be Buddhist." 

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....Marian isn't sure either. Julia is going to have to answer that one. 

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" - I mean, I don't know exactly, but she's gorgeous and the patterning and style are Buddhist and she was a ton of effort - a senior project, she was supposed to be a flying carpet - and she didn't pan out and no one else wanted her because she's really temperamental, so I thought, okay, Buddhism, I can do Buddhism, and I've been doing yoga and praying to Buddha and I put up the Sutras and she's been a sweetheart for me so far so I guess I'm doing it right. If you know more Buddhist things I am open to feedback! I want to learn to be a good partner to my rug." She pats it. "Relatedly, everyone, shoes off before you come in, please, Orion's guarding for mals so you don't need to be able to run away in a hurry."

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(Outside, Orion cheerfully applies overkill to something clinging to the ceiling.)

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She takes off her shoes, then.

(Which Sutras, she doesn't see a shrine— none of these questions are the point and asking them in front of other people seems likely to lead to interactions she does not actually want to have and suspects Julia doesn't either.)

"I— hm. I grew up Buddhist, sort of, but we can talk about it later since it's not really the point of the group?"

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Oh no this is maybe awkward? Marian feels like she doesn't have a good enough understand of how any of the social dynamics work here to even understand what's causing the awkwardness, though, let alone to intervene in it. 

(If she's honest with herself, it's not like she had a great understand of this in her mundane life either.) 

"...We've also got magic scented massage oil that cures muscle soreness," she adds. Also she got SO MANY therapy workbooks and self-help books from the void - more than half of them Buddhist-themed - and she has an entire mini-notebook full of notes on that in her pocket, but she should probably let Julia lead this, since this is Julia's room and all? 

Expectant look at Julia. 

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"Okay. The point of the group is therapy. If you have your parents in the back of your head and they are hanging out going 'trust no one! CONSTANT VIGILANCE! if you give away anything at all for free you will DIE and if you make an enemy of anyone you will DIE and if you fail to make friends you will DIE' - and I bet we all do - then the point of therapy is that the Void will give us nice stuff if we use it for therapeutic purposes, so we're going to get really good at making therapeutic use of chocolate, and tea, and stuffed animals, and fuzzy blankets, and scented candles, and other stuff that's scarce in here, and we can take the leftovers home with us.

But like, I actually think this will be super awkward if we have our parents hanging out with us the whole time, so, to be clear, they're not invited? We're going to hang out, and talk about our feelings, and not be very overtly obsessed with ending up with more than our share of the meditation chocolates, okay?" Julia has been thinking about this a lot. Getting the vibes right is really important. 

"So we're supposed to start with an icebreaker, and I figure we can double that up with brainstorming things to ask the Void for next time. So introduce yourself with your name and where you're from and something that was relaxing or comforting or therapeutic for you, back at home. I'm Julia, New York, and at home I like manicures and pedicures, and spa treatments, and my dog Trisket but we are not asking the Void for emotional support animals because oh my god no, and exotic desserts, and shopping."

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"My name is Rebecca and I'm from Chicago and I am relaxed and comforted by music and ice cream and fuzzy slippers and buying presents for people and Disney movies and doing, like, abstract watercolors that aren't supposed to turn out any particular way."

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