“I have phone sex every Tuesday, remember?”

That’s what I reply in exasperation to Funk and my children whenever they text just as I’m about to get on a call with my therapist.

I’ve been going to Shelly, or Shells, as I call her, since 2005. The precipitating factor with that go round with therapy was that my “girlfriend” of fourteen years dumped me without explanation, and that my daughter—selfish thing that she was—left me for a yearlong study abroad program in France.

I didn’t realize I was undergoing a mini-crisis until my personal trainer, Teense, brought it to my attention that therapy might be a really good idea at this point in my life.

Tina was right, and thank God for her.

Every person that I’ve come in contact with has made me into the woman who stands before you today. Some, like my “girlfriend,” in harsh ways, and some, like Teense and Shells, in loving ways.

I used to have in-person meetings with Shells when I lived in Kansas City, but her therapy works the same over the phone. She said something profound recently, and it’s become my mantra. Recalling it helped me when I was afraid of getting on an airplane, “Connecting to our Higher Self is the ANSWER to our suffering.” Higher Self meaning, the Self that resides on the other side.

Other people who I don’t know personally have also helped. An example is Alex Borstein—an actress from the blockbuster series, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel—when she said, “Step out of line, ladies, step out of line.”

Those words seem simple, yet they speak to what NEEDS to be the message of the day. The reason: Americans are lonely, and because of that they’re suffering. Yet they’re suffering in silence, except in one way—they’ve gotten really mean. With that, they’re quite vocal.

There are only two ways I can think of to end a life of misery. One, is to find our voice. To do that, we need to “step out of line” and demand to be heard. And two, everyone needs a mother. If we weren’t given a nurturing mom on earth, then we need to find comfort by enlisting help from one above.

Because of Tuesday’s therapy, I continue becoming a New and Better Me. Here’s to you if you’re doing the work too. Especially if you’re lifting your sisters and brothers with your newfound self, because that’s the only way the world will rise to a better place.

The photo: Still leery of getting on a plane. But I sucked it up again and reached for brave, so that I can live a bigger, more carefree life. And so can you.

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