The imbalances of therapy are highlighted so starkly by the advent of a break; the imbalance of meaning, the imbalance of feeling(s). I don’t mean as much to her as she does to me, and so I feel as though her absence leaves a crater in my heart, a huge, shuddering loss, whereas in contrast I probably just ebb away and don’t cause any negative feeling, any real difference. Why should I? In the darkest moments it feels as though I’ll die, like I’m suddenly in an atmosphere devoid of oxygen, knowing that she’s not there, knowing that it will be a while until I see her, and having to cope with that realisation. The problem is that it doesn’t feel temporary in those moments, it just feels real. Like that’s all there is and all there ever will be, a crushing absence, and no amount of arguing with myself will do any good because I can’t feel the brevity of the situation. Those moments are in-my-bones moments; it doesn’t even cut to the bone, it goes deeper than that, like some sort of emotional osteoporosis. I’m crumbling and nothing can stop it.
I know that she doesn’t feel the same, that the lack of me for ten days will be a pinprick in comparison, if at all. And that’s the hardest thing about therapy, really, that imbalance. It’s fine usually (or not, depending on where you are in it) when you can coast, you can get through the days without them being too painful. But then a break rears its ugly, monstrous head and reminds you that even if you’re not nothing, you’re not really something, either; not who you want to be, not what you want to mean. A blob in a sea of other blobs, I think I put it once. (How eloquent.) Whereas that tiny part of me – not the rational part, or the logical – wants only two blobs to exist, and protests strongly against the fact that there aren’t only two, and hates that there are many. And most of the time it’s fine, but then there are the times I can’t breathe for feeling so abandoned and alone, like now. Like when I realise (for the millionth time, but it never really hurts any less) that I’m not special, not in the way that I want to be, and it doesn’t matter how many other amazing people or how much love there is surrounding me: I don’t have what I didn’t have, what I needed, and I never will.
And even though I can have something close to it, it can never happen in reality, because as much as it’s real it’s also not. It can’t be because it’s a construction; one with real people and feelings, but still constructed. Fabricated. In vitro, I always remember her saying that. Like we are creating and acting things out, they’re real, but an experiment – a test tube of emotions and reactions and feelings, two real people in an artificial environment, an artificial situation in which neither of us exist as our entire selves. She is not entirely measured and calm and non-reactive on the outside; I know this, because sometimes she slips, because she’s human and nobody is like that. And I am not an entirely smashed, broken mess, either overcome with tears or recoiled inside myself with fear and shame, locked so far away that I almost don’t exist anymore. I mean, sometimes I am. But that is not all of me. I have lots more to me than what she sees, and she has lots more to her than I see, only of course she gets to see more of me than I do of her and *thunk* there’s the imbalance again.
This partly came about because it’s Christmas, of course, and I wanted to buy her a present. I want to. I really, really want to, I feel the need to, almost, not because I ‘need’ to do it, for her to like me or for it to mean something, as such, more just like…like the feeling of wanting to dance when certain songs are playing, or jumping up and down when I’m really happy, or running and skipping with elation when I see sheep in a field. Sticking my tongue out to catch the snow when it falls, doing silly interpretive dancing when I know my boyfriend’s watching and we’re listening to some music he loves, squealing and clapping my hands when I’m excited. It’s more of a reflex thing, something that kicks in – I need to do it because it’s what I do, not in an expectation way, but in a ME way. I give presents to people that I care about, people who occupy a part of me. I always have, it’s something that happens often, only in small ways, but it’s a token of affection, of thanks, of thought. It’s much better than getting gifts. You get to choose something for someone, something that you think they’ll love, and that’s it – sometimes the anticipation of watching them open it is part of it too, but the real fun, the real meaning is in the choosing and the giving.
Only what do you give someone that you don’t actually know and who will also probably reject whatever you offer them? You buy people presents because you see things and think of them; because you know them; because you have a sense of their preferences. Therapy is so weird because you feel like you know someone, except you don’t. I know pretty much nothing about her, save a few small facts that are completely useless. I don’t know what her favourite colour is, what music she likes, films, decor, hobbies, nothing – and I actually usually prefer it like that, but it’s unnerving in situations like this, because I want to give, I want to give thanks, gratitude, in the form of something and yet I’d have no idea what to get her, what to give. Because it’s not about that. I do know her, I know I do. How can I not? But the people in my life that are dear to me, that have great meaning, are usually the easiest to buy for because they’re on my mind and so I see something and think about them and buy it, job done. It happens with her too occasionally but there’s not that joy of thinking, “ooh, so-and-so will really love that” because I don’t know whether she’d love it, I just see something that reminds me of her, but I have no idea as to whether she’d actually like it. It’s a relationship that’s like no other and it’s fine most of the time but times like this it makes me go slightly crazy in a multitude of different ways. I want to say thank you with a gift because it feels right but I can’t because 1) I don’t know what she likes and 2) she won’t accept it anyway. I mean, she might, but I doubt it. And it would feel weird anyhow. There’s enough rejection floating around as it is, I really don’t need any more. I can’t be vulnerable enough to expose myself to more rejection when it feels like I’m swimming in it.
Breaks always feel like rejection on some level even if I don’t realise it. We discussed the break in our last session and I termed it a “planned rejection”, because it is. It’s a rejection that I’m gearing up for and yes she deserves a break but damn it. I don’t want her to have one. I had a dream the other night where she basically told me that when I get too close to her she feels uncomfortable, and I guess on some level that’s what I’m feeling now. That she is getting away from me because I am too much for her. And it hurts even though it’s not personal because it’s tapping into all those other times I’ve been let down, left, abandoned, rejected, and it’s excruciating and I’m running away from it. I’m feeling rejected for all sorts of reasons right now.
And it’s not just the rejection. Even though I’m having a really hard time, even though I hate therapy sometimes, I get so much out of it. And by it, I mean her. I get so much out of seeing her, even when I’m mad at her, even when I think I hate her, when I think it’s not worth it and she tricked me by not telling me how much it would suck…even then, even when I have period pain so severe that I’m devoid of colour and have to go in with a hot water bottle I still go in, I still make it in, because she makes it worth it. Even when I haven’t left the house for days and have to fork out for a taxi because I’m too scared to properly leave the house, I do it, because of the value that therapy has. That she has. She always makes it worth it and I won’t have that and I feel bereft, even though I know it’s for a comparatively short time.
I always get something out of seeing her and to not see her means that I will be without her, that I will be without that feeling. And yes, she gets paid (not enough, again, but that’s a WHOLE other issue) but that’s another imbalance that I feel strongly and I want to give her something because her absence, her “planned rejection” of me makes me realise how much I am in receipt of and I want to say, my god, thank you for putting up with me when I’m vile, thank you for making me think about things differently, thank you for letting me hate you and for letting me be angry with you and for laughing with me and making things bearable when they are sometimes so agonising that I feel like I’ll implode. Thank you for offering me your time during your break, when you don’t have to but you are anyway because you realise how hard it will be for me, because of how hard it was, and thank you for making an effort to show me that you care, because I need so much to know that you do. Thank you for not being perfect, for letting me realise that there is no perfect even if it makes me feel like the bottom has fallen out of my world. Thank you for being ‘good enough’, even when I can’t see it, and thank you for not changing or reacting even when I don’t feel you’re good enough and clearly and viciously let you know it, even if it frustrates me to the fucking moon and back when you sit there all unrelenting, unmoveable, almost stony. A stone with warmth. A warm pebble from the beach, in my palm, heat radiating out, spreading slowly to create a glow. That’s exactly how my song, ‘our’ song, used to make me feel, it’s the best representation of it I can think of, that slow permeation. And I felt like that because it reminded me of you, reminded me of the feeling I get when I’m safe and held, and remembering that makes me feel warm even now, and maybe it will be OK after all.