Friday, April 06, 2007

A Snail's Pace

On the other side of TGD's office door, life went on with it's usual bumps and bruises. When close friends learned that I was in therapy with a specialist for Post Traumatic Stress, questions about therapy abounded. Well-meaning friends with well-meaning questions would call immediately after my therapy appointment to "see how it went."
It soon became clear that Tuesday night was NEVER the night to call. I was uncommunicative more than ever and to be quite honest, pretty pissed off at the world. No one said anything right, no one cared or understood enough and the questions were stupid. "Was she nice to you?" "No," I answered, "she was mean." "Did she make you feel any better?" "Oh yeh, in just 45 minutes everything was resolved," I would answer like a snot. "Does she think she can help?" "No, she says it's totally useless but thinks I should spend the money anyway." And my personal favorite, "did you tell her about your weight issue?"
"Um, I didn't see a white cane by her chair or a German Sheperd Guide Dog by her side, so I ASSUME SHE ISN'T BLIND," I yelled back.
Yeh, Tuesdays. Gotta love 'em.
On the inside of TGD's office, issues were popping up like a child constantly playing with their Jack in the box. Cranking up my childhood when,"POP", a memory of abuse that I supposedly had resolved would rear it's ugly head. It seemed I had this memory bank of run on sentences when it came to my childhood.
At one point TGD said, "You mention that you were alone most of the time and no one was around. Can you try and go back there and remember what you were feeling and thinking as this little girl?" Once again TGD's shoes came into view. Shoes, always shoes. "I remember sitting in the front on a fence. It was a summer morning. I think I'm about 5 years old and I'm just sitting there swinging my legs back and forth and looking at my sneaks. They were red keds with white tops. I loved those sneaks. I felt taller, I felt like a grownup. I had shorts and a plaid shirt on. I think it was the first time I remember being able to think. I watched the cars go by. There weren't that many back in 1953. It was early. I had to get up because my mother had just come home from work after working the 11pm to 7am night shift at the White Tower. She always slept in my bunk bed. Never the big bed that Big Frank, my stepfather slept in. It was always my bed. Everyone had to be out of the house so she could sleep. The plastic curtains in the front room and the kitchen were drawn as were the venetian blinds. It always looked like night time, no matter what time of the day it was."
"Suzy, those are very good descriptions of what things were like, but were you happy, sad, looking forward to the day to play?"
"I remember feeling that there was nothing to do, no one to play with that early in the morning. I was on my own."
"And just what does that mean, "you were on your own." Shit. This woman and her shoes were relentless. WTF!
"It means just that," I snapped back. I took care of myself. I walked around, roller skated, and just sat around until I saw the "signal" that it was ok to come back into the house."
"What was the signal?" TGD asked. "My mother would open the front blinds. That meant she was up and I could come back into the house."
"What happened when you went back into the house"? What the hell was this? Why poke around these small details?
"Nothing," I responded. "I would watch TV and wait until my mother put the tv dinner in the oven."
"What time do you think this was"? Man, this was aggravating. "I think it was around 4 because the Mickey Mouse Club was on." "Was your mother happy to see you"? Okay, now TGD was getting on my nerves. Where's that clock that says the god damn session is over?
"No, not really. I just kept out of her way. She always seemed crabby and tired and never really had time to do anything else except get ready for work again that night."
"What would she do"? Ok, last straw time. "She would set up the ironing board while the Swanson Fried Chicken TV dinner was in the oven, open the ironing board and dampen the uniform she had washed and hung out to dry."
Then, as I sat there explaining my mother's routine looking at TGD's shoes, I launched into this detailed description of how she painstakingly polished her white shoes she wore at work. She polished those fucking shoes as if she were preparing for surgery. She had bottles of Sani-White shoe polish in the cabinet over the sink. The box had this stupid looking nurse smiling over her white shoes. My mother stroked those shoes with the applicator that came with it, like she was bathing a newborn baby with the utmost gentleness and care. Those stupid white shoes got more attention than I did.
"Well, time is up," TGD said. I would like to continue these thoughts next week.
Now the 45 minutes were up.


Blogger Deb said...

I cannot tell you how much I love your description of this session with TGD. My early therapy sessions were similar, and I laughed at your skillful attempts to give her what she wanted without giving her anything at all.

I ache for that poor little girl, so alone, and so certain that her mom loved shoes more than her. I could smell the polish and see the foam applicator.

Lots of shoes here - I like that thread a lot.

Please don't make me wait so long for the next session - the edge of this chair is very uncomfortable! :)

Thanks so much for sharing, Suzy. Picture me sitting on that fence with you, holding your hand and swinging legs together.

10:21 AM  
Blogger Jerri said...

Damn, girl. This is good. I can hear your end of those conversations and feel the slow burn on not wanting the intrusion into your core. I can feel you resenting Mary's gd shoes.

You're amazing, my love. Yep. Here I am, on the edge of the chair with Deb (and others, I'm sure). Don't love waiting here but understand that pieces this powerful don't happen overnight.

2:01 PM  
Blogger riversgrace said...

Love the unfolding of the details - the sneaks, the fence, the blinds, and shoe polish. Amazing how they point to specific emotional tones...and we get it. Maybe because that's so much how we navigate our emtional world as a child - through the simple objects around. Not enough can be said about the power of naming the basic things around you.

And the way the story is cut off by the end of the depressing and like life that can be, how unnatural the 'form' of therapy can be when you are opening long closed doors of life.

You telling your story is illuminating....we all get the benefit of your hard work.

3:18 PM  
Blogger Carrie Wilson Link said...

Would it totally piss you off to tell you this made me laugh? I hope not, because it is your "voice" coming through, your humor, your wise-cracks that make you so "you" and make this hell readable.


4:05 PM  
Blogger Terry Whitaker said...

these comments are as profound as this excrutiating tale. you are amazing.

7:45 PM  
Blogger kario said...

"Anywhere but there", huh, Suzy? Your writing continues to impress me as does your resolve. I, too, hate it when people ask how my therapy sessions went, especially when the 'people' are my kids. Ugh!

11:21 PM  
Blogger holly said...

Damn TGD and her relentless shoes. And hooray for you for not only getting through it, but telling it in such a true and funny way.

11:42 PM  
Blogger Jess said...

I love this, love the way you tell this with such detail and such humor, but you convey the pain of it so well, too. And really, the universal quality of it.

Everything everyone else said is so true.

I can't wait for the next installment. Thank you.

3:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You are very brave to have gone this far. The begining is always hard, esp. walking in that door the first day. It is so scarey having it all come back, humor aside...protective armor coming down..just remember you are in a safe place and you have created a safe world for yourself and you my friend are a gift to all of us. Peace.

8:23 AM  
Blogger Kim said...

So I finally leave my computer for two days and you decide to write this incredible post that I don't get to read until today? THANKS A LOT!

Just kidding Suzy-Q. Wow, this is truly amazing. Like others have mentioned, I love the way you have it cut off at the end of the session--even though I am dying for more, it feels so deeply real this way. Your descriptions are excellent--we are absolutely there with you, both the adult and the child.

I also laughed--your dry "Suzy" humor is unstoppable--but now I have tears in my eyes for that lonely little girl left to fend for herself all the time. It's true that it has helped make you an independent woman, but I just cannot understand how a mother could neglect her child like that--it makes me so f'in angry.

I LOVE this writing SO MUCH! And I LOVE YOU!

2:21 PM  
Blogger jennifer said...

Excellent, excellent, excellent! Thank you, Suzy. I know it's hard but you are doing in and day out...your shining the stone. Be patient with yourself, be kind.

5:47 PM  
Blogger Mystic Wing said...

Great writing, Suzy, as always. Can't wait to hear more.

8:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh Suzy! I loved this! I feet bad the the little girl, it made my heart ache, but at the same time your annoyance with TGD was cracking me up.

10:44 PM  

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