Today my therapist asked me what my goals were for therapy, now that we’ve been together for more than a few months. I started out, a few years ago, in therapy because I was in the second in a row of a very abusive (although this one didn’t become physically so) relationship. “What do you want to do with your time today”, Ms. Lovely Therapist (MLT) asked. I stammered, “I don’t know.” What DO we want to do with our time today? Did I want to tell her about the time I remember stealing money from my mom’s checking account with her ATM card, and then buying presents for the kids who were bullying me in 7th grade? Did I want to tell her about the time I was left on Sunset Blvd to take the bus home, after all of my 10th grade friends decided that they weren’t enough seats in the car to drive me to wherever we were going next after they all decided to smoke weed (quelle horreur for me in high school) and drink? Did I want to tell her about the time I saw my dad come to the apartment, being so drunk and on whatever-other drugs, with a large gash on his forehead, from trying to (and failing to) climb over the ten foot security gate that is still stained with his blood? No.
I wound up telling her about the time I went skiing with my ex-husband. Well, he went skiing, I sat in the ski lodge for 6 hours waiting for him. This was would not be the first, and it would not be the last, in what seemed to be like an endless, non-stop series, of trying to mold myself to his shape and interests. Race down a mountain in freezing weather and a too-big snowsuit that let cold air in, on skis that I would find out later were literally almost a foot too long for me? Why not! In later relationships, I’d find myself bending in ways that I also didn’t ever imagine myself doing. Polyamourous, sure! Let’s try it! Of COURSE I can get you into that show/restaurant/gig/reading/etc. You’re “allergic to latex”? I get it, it’s totally ok for us not to use condoms. You’re not sure that if you’re even capable of loving another human being, that sounds like an invitation for party time for me.
There are going to be a lot of stories/memories I recover regarding my marriage. Some of this stuff that’s coming up to the surface in therapy for me is so painful, so alarming, so abusive, so dejecting, that I haven’t wanted to go there in over a decade. But that’s what this project is for, it’s for me to workout all of the pain, process all of the horrifying stuff that I allowed myself to go through, in order to clean house, nurse the wounds that keep splitting open again and again and again. The blood-crusted, decades old band-aids can no longer keep it safe and closed, and this seems like a good vessel in which to pour out all of the bile and grime that has built up for almost 30 years.