Saturday, January 30, 2010

The Things I Don't Say.

During my session Dr. M she tries to ask me questions that are in search of an answer, but Dr. M doesn't know what she's looking for so she's not asking the right questions. I don't correct her or lead her in the right directions with my answers. But Dr. M is quite intuitive and after about 15 minutes she catches on and knows it's pointless to continue with this line of questioning.

She finally asks me if there is something in particular that I want to talk about. I tell her I'm excited for the weekend because I'm going away for my boyfriend's birthday. I tell her we're going to Victoria and I'm especially excited because I get to go to Canada again and it look me basically ten years to finally cross the boarder after living in Seattle for so long and the first time I went was three months ago. She asks me why I didn't go before and I tell her I don't want to talk about it. But I couldn't help but think about the times when people I knew went to Canada but I was never around to be included in the plans so I never went and I wonder why that was. I don't want Dr. M to think I have no friends even though at times I don't think it's true. Instead I tell her that I actually don't feel very well, that my stomach started to feel very achy. Then I tell her that something very upsetting happened to me at work that could be making me physically ill. And I tell her I don't want to talk about it either. Then Dr. M says it looks to her that I'm all over the place and I say it's true and suggest we end early even though it's almost time to go. She says she hopes I have a nice trip and I say I hope I do too.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Behind the Front.

For some reason, I don't or can't tell Dr. M about the memory of when I was in the second grade. I decide this while I sit in the "living room," in the single chair by the window, next to the table with a bouquet of flowers; there are always flowers of a yellow variety on the table but this week I can't tell what kind they are. They are very pale, barely yellow with delicate petals. They look very fragile as if they will shatter if anything or anyone gets too close. I factor this into my decision of sitting in the chair by the window, but I figure someone must have put the flowers in the vase and they are still in one piece so sitting in a chair next to them will probably be just fine.

Whenever I go to Dr. M's office I feel like I'm stepping into an upscale apartment that's actually a front for some kind of underground business, not an office on the 17th floor of the Two Union Square building, a building I once temporarily had a job in. This building is so tall that there are two sets of elevators. I took one set that went up to the 20th floor, the other set of elevators takes you to floors 21-47.

Anyways, I call the reception area the living room because that's how it feels, and I call Dr. M's office the "bedroom" even though it is an office and because of that I always feel oddly like I am seeking out the services of a prostitute or something that is forbidden as I wait for my appointment to start. I don't know why I feel this way, perhaps part of me still feels like what I am doing is a dirty secret that I dont want anyone to know, I mean I can't even tell my boyfriend where I go on Wednesday evenings, he thinks I'm volunteering at the library. But it's in everyones best interest if I keep these sessions to myself, I'll let other people know when I think the time is right, maybe after I know when or if these sessions will be helpful.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Follow the Arrow.

I tossed and turned last night with Dr. M's voice ring in my ears, repressed memories, something so horrible that I buried it deep down, in the depths of my soul where it would stay for as long as it could until one day it had to come out. It would be conjured up at some later date, after I had made my way merrily through life when all of a sudden a field of tulips triggers a memory and I remember that one summer I went to my uncle's cabin, deep in the forest, right by the tulip fields and I remembered the abuse I suffered at his hands.

But there was nothing like that in my past, I was sure of it, the time I got molested in the second grade is still as clear as if it happened yesterday and I can describe the culprit's face as if I some him seconds ago. I can feel my body stiffen as he comes up behind me and I squeeze my private areas as tight as I can because I can feel his fingers creeping lower and lower down the smooth, soft space that forms a triangle shape between my legs, like an arrow pointing the way to the hidden treasure.

It was as if my body betrayed me and made it easy for anyone to find what should be the most sacred and protected place for all women, I mean isn't that where the idea for the Chasity belt came from? But no, here my body was providing a guide for whomever came along to seize, to conquer, to take whatever liberties they pleased. I often wonder how a seven year old knew what lay beyond the flimsy protection of cotton and denim? Perhaps he had an older brother who showed him the way or an older sister whom he peeked at in the shower, whatever the case this boy violated my innocence before I even understood what his actions meant. I guess I don't have to suppress things to have skeletons in my closet.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

A TV Guide.

I had my second appointment with Dr. M today. We actually talked about real things in this session. I told her that I think I watched too much TV as a child and while I tired to convince myself that I wasn't affected by it, how I knew that real life problems didn't resolve itself so neatly and so perfectly and in under half an hour like it did on all the great sitcoms of the eighties, I can't deny that I some of it seeped under my skin and played itself out in my own life.

Like how they make friends on TV, the new kid happens to be a her locker at the exact same time her future bff goes to open her locker right next to the new girl or how a fresh face navigates through the cafeteria forlornly looking for a friendly face when someone calls out to her and there is an instant connection or upon being gawked at for being new, the somewhat awkward girl gets rescued by the person who she will soon be having sleepovers with and sharing intimate secrets.

My experiences as the new girl didn't quite work out that way and maybe because I believed it would happen just like on TV, I lingered at my locker but never reached out to the girl one locker over and I wandered aimlessly in the cafeteria until the bell rang signaling that lunch period was over instead of asking if I could have a seat with someone. It was that way when I was 10 when I started a new elementary school and the same when I was 18 starting freshman year at college a quarter behind all the newbies. And I wondered why I had a hard time making friends and so when I finally did I tried so desperately to hold onto them in any and every way I could. I molded relentlessly thinking that if I could be the person these new people wanted me to be I would have a friend for life. So I became the tough girl who picked on others because my new gang needed a bully, I tortured and stole lunch money all in the name of friends, but when we went to middle school, my friends and I were no longer the bullies but the bullied so I was no longer needed so I faded away.

I wore all black one day and the goth people thought I was one of them so I obliged. I painted my finger nails black and started listening to Marilyn Manson and wore dark eyeliner, my first try at makeup. But when we got to high school and I was put in all the honor classes my goth friends didn't want anything to do with me. It made me wonder how it was possible for the Saved by the Bell gang to incorporate the jock, the geek, the cheerleader, and the straight A student in such a cohesive group. So I played up my scholarly side and joined the national honor society and the debate team and organized study sessions at the library, and true to form the friends came but instead of devoting myself to them I held back and observed how they were able to juggle different groups of friends yet still hold onto their smarts, perhaps because they knew who they were or as much as they could know about themselves as teenagers, but for some reason I just couldn't get the hang of it.

At this point in the session, Dr. M asked me if I knew who I was now and I told her that I'm still getting the hang of me but I often feel uncomfortable in my skin and I'm practically 30! She told me that a lot of people feel the way that I feel that it takes an entire lifetime for people to have a true sense of who they are because people change always, people progress and advance and learn and make mistakes and that is the beauty and curse of being human. I told her that I understand that but I feel like a walking contradiction and I don't know who I am at all. She suggested we go back in time to see if there was anything I suppressed that might shed some light on my current state of mind, but before I could reminisce, she said that time was up and we would have to continue next week.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Real Friends, Maybe, Not.

The blunt truth is no, I tried talking to my boyfriend until I realized that it was starting to drive a wedge between us and I came to terms with the fact that maybe it's better if some things are left unsaid. I mean isn't that want compromising is all about and isn't compromise at the cornerstone of any good marriage?

I talk to my mother, but she lives an ocean away and too much happens in between even our most frequent conversations, and while no topic is off limits with her, there are some things I hold back because I don't want to worry her. I want her to think that I'm happy and safe because if she knew the truth it would hurt her and that is the last thing I want to do.

My coworkers and I have had experiences together that qualify us as friends, but I wonder if our friendship will last if we are no longer coworkers. And my actual friends, well they are few are far between and the longer I go without seeing them the less I have to say to them, so when something plagues me, they aren't the people I turn to, but now that I think about it, is there even one to turn to?

But where did they all go? Because at one point there were lot of people around all the time, I was a social butterfly juggling a hectic schedule of happy hours, dinner dates, house parties, movie showings, gallery openings, live concerts, and on and on and on. In the midst of all that I vaguely remember thinking that what my mother said was true, that the friends you make in college are the ones you keep for life because I had found people that I had opened up to more so than I had anyone in my life up until that point. And I thought we would be friends forever. But now, they are all gone, sure I "keep in touch" with a few but the connection we had is severed, some beyond repair. Maintaining a friendship is a two way street and so is losing one, I know I have my own issues with people and with myself that factor into the demise of my relationships with other and I hope Dr. M can help me with, that but sometimes I wonder if I imagined the whole thing, perhaps my friendships with these people were not based on anything real, but forged under the influence of college freedom and experimentation. Maybe, not.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Is Anybody Listening.

"I'm here because I have no one to talk to."

After about 15 minutes of nervously twitching my leg and biting my lower lip and doing a lot of ums and ahs, I finally answer Dr. M. I thought she would want me to elaborate, but she continued with what seemed like a questionnaire form that she asked all her patients. She went on to ask about my family, my job, my hobbies, my health but I didn't go into details with any of my answers, it didn't seem like the right time and I also was not comfortable enough to open up. Sometimes I give people too much information too soon, almost as if to come across as confident about who I am or someone who is easy to talk to or even something else that I can't quite place my finger on, but it's not really who I am.

Even after twenty minutes of going through seemingly routine questions, the very first one was still on my mind, actually it wasn't so much the question, but my answer to the question, 'I have no one to talk to,' was still plaguing me. I tried to analyze this statement in the back of my head during my session with Dr. M.

Was this true? Was there no one in my life that I could confide in? Had I succeed in alienation myself from others? On the surface it wouldn't seem so, I had a great guy, a healthy relationship with my parents, coworkers that turned into friends, and friends whom I could spend the day with tasting samples at the Sunday Market or going out for dinners on Friday nights, but did this mean I could open up and share my deepest darkest feeling with these people?

Thursday, January 14, 2010

First Impressions.

My first session was awkward to say the least, partly because of my own expectations of what I thought therapy was going to be like and also because I was distracted my doctor. Her name is Dr. Sophia Montgomery

Dr. M has a corner office and two walls are floor to ceiling windows and while I expect she has an amazing view during the clear summer months, on wet rainy days like this it makes things seem so much more depressing or at least I thought so, but Dr. M had a calm, pleasant disposition as if the beating drops against the window panes didn't bother her at all, as if I was just background noise of her already serene space.

Her office was an extension of her waiting area, rich mahogany wood furniture, overstuffed chairs, but to my surprise no couch. I am very wary of new situations and like to picture myself doing and experiencing whatever new thing I'm about to do and prior to this, I imagined myself lying on a couch with my eyes closed and my ankles crossed extending over the arm rest at the other end listening to soothing music while telling my shrink all about my problems. But there was no couch in this room, I scanned the walls to see if there was another doorway that led to a hidden room with the couch, but all the walls looked solid.

Dr. M grabbed her netbook from her desk and sat in one of the oversized chairs and motioned for me to do the same. I walked to the chair, dropped my bag on the floor and sat down, but my eyes continued to scan the room because I didn't want to make eye contact with Dr M. I felt like once I did, it would mean that this was real, that my session was beginning and I would have to start facing all the things that had tormented me and brought me here in the first place. I think my doctor could sense my unrest because she kept clearing her throat but never said a word. Finally I stopped looking around and turned my attention towards her.

"Hi," I said.


"So, how are we supposed to do this?"

"Well why don't you start by telling my why you're here today," Dr. M spoke loudly and firmly which struck me as odd if only because her overall demeanor didn't give off a commanding presence. She was rather tall, but not imposing. I'm five feet six inches and she was almost a whole head taller than me, so I was guessing she was around five ten or eleven. I always check for heels if I think a woman is tall because it can be so deceiving; Dr. M wore flats. Women are lucky because they can fake lots of things that men can't like their height, their cup size, their nails, even their orgasms.

Anyways, Dr. M was tall and thin and she wore pants with vertical strips which gave off the illusion that she was even taller than she actually was which also reminded me of myself since people also think I'm taller than five six. She had on a silk blouse with lots of ruffles around the neck that made its way down the front of her shirt typically where buttons are which made me wonder if the ruffles were covering the buttons or if it had a more functional purpose. Don't get me wrong, it was a cute top, but I could never pull it off. My mother used to tell me I was lucky because I could wear whatever I wanted and I used to believe her, but it's a shame that I lost some of the confidence that let me do that, let me be uninhibited in my dress - let me make the distinction that uninhibited for my purposes does not mean scantily clad, because that isn't me either. I guess that's another thing I can tell Dr. M, about my loss of confidence, but this first session didn't seem like the right time.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

While I Wait.

I left work early today for a doctor's appointment, and to be honest with you I was pretty nervous about it; the last time I was this anxious about seeing a doctor was when I was a kid, even then I was a very private person and I hated exposing myself to people I didn't really know.

After I checked in with the receptionist, I surveyed the waiting area, deciding where I should sit, this shouldn't have been as difficult as I made it because the room was completely empty, usually if there are other people waiting, I try to sit farthest from the person whom I deem the most likely to talk to me because I despise making small talk. But this time, my indecisiveness came from the overall feel of the room. The space looked more like a living room than a waiting room, like one of those classic American style rooms you would see in a Pottery Barn catalog. The reception desk actually looked extremely out of place I decided after taking in the rustic bench that served as a coffee table which combined the look of distressed hardwood with handcrafted detail that made it the most fitting choice to accompany a plumb off white couch that was decorated with an assortment of pillows of various sizes, colors, and patterns. Two over sized leather chairs faced the sofa as if friends would gather around the bench table and catch up over wine and cheese. Then a little further away there was a single geometric patterned chair facing a window with a pedestal looking side table housing a bouquet of bright yellow sunflowers.

I decided on the seat by the window, only because the rest of the room made me feel awkward. Perhaps it was trying to make me feel like I was at home or in a very comfortable place so I would feel equally as content when I stepped into the doctor's office. I didn't want to let my guard down just yet. I always approach new situations with my shield poised and ready just in case I need to protect myself. So I sat in the chair by the window and looked out through the rain splattered window into the dreary streets of Seattle and I thought about how one week ago, my exposed skin was burning from the rays of sun that blasting from the picturesque blue sky as I buried my toes in the sand and grabbed fistfuls of the grainy substance feeling very comforted by the familiarity of it all.

I wrapped my already buttoned coat tighter around my neck and closed my eyes trying to remember the feeling of being out on that beach again, but the harder I thought, the less I could hold onto; and perhaps that is way I'm here today, or at least one of the reasons why I'm here. When I think back on it, it seems inevitable that I would end up on the couch of a psychiatrist whining about my life, lamenting the woes that is me, but I also know that I'm here because I have no other choice. It's my last chance at a normal life, so when I hear my name being called, I open my eyes, dig my hands in my pocket and cross my fingers, hoping that this will make the difference that I so desperately need.