Then & Now
But my outside voice calmly said, "I think it's beginning to work- the anxiety is a little better but now the sadness seems to be taking over." That having been so calmly said, I burst into tears for what seemed like 20 minutes. But how would I know? There was no clock to be found or at least I couldn't see it. On TV I had seen shows about people going into therapy sessions and just saying nothing for the whole session. Was I going to sit here and cry like a baby for this one? Silence. Only my sobbing. Now what?
It seemed like an hour had passed, but what did I know. TGD had her own internal clock that we were working with.
Finally TGD found some words. "Last week you recalled some memories about your mother and being alone and her paying more attention to her shoes. I would like you to go back there once again and tell me what that felt like." "It felt like shit," I said. What didn't TGD get? "Were you scared, angry, upset? Tell me what you remember thinking or what was going through your mind with all the silence in the house?"
I think I looked at TGD as if she had 6 heads. "I can barely tell you what I'm thinking/feeling now, let alone over 50 years ago." "Okay," she said. "Tell me what you're feeling and/or thinking now." Re-fucking-lentless!!!
I felt like a ping pong ball. What was I thinking/feeling then? What was I thinking/feeling now?
"I feel now like I probably felt then." The only place I feel safe and where I want to be is home, in bed with the dogs. I don't want to go back in time, I don't want to be here. I'd rather just be home."
"Go on," TDG said.
"Listen Doctor, the only time I can remember feeling safe from anyone, even now is when I'm home. I go to work in the morning, and it's a quest all day long to make it through the day just so I can get home and not be bothered. All I want is to get from Point A to Point B. It was the same way as a kid. The only place I felt safe was in my bed. I know that must sound strange coming from someone who was sexually abused so many times, but never ever did it once happen in my bed. It happened in all those other "safe places," church, the dentist office, the floor of my bedroom, a bathtub, places where I should have been safe but wasn't. The only place I was left untouched was laying in my own bunk bed."
As I sat there rambling off these details, images of my mother's raggy half brown slippers floated into view. I could hear her shuffling madly through the house screaming for me. I could see just the slippers up to her ankles and part of a black belt she was dragging. I was hiding under my bunk bed because of something/anything she thought I had done wrong. I hugged the wall as best I could, but with her reach and the aid of the belt, she could whip that belt under the bed at my legs with the mastery of a Lion Tamer at the Circus, snapping the whips at the tigers to instill fear and gain control over the beasts.
"Stop crying or I'll give you something to cry about!" And she did.
Funny how I felt some sort of refuge in staring at TGD's shoes.