Welcome to the cupboard of broken toys — Part 27
We are in a Group Therapy session. We have these twice a week. The Group includes “Fantasy” McCarthy, “Creepy” Creedy (AKA “That-Wanker-Justin”), “Terrified” Michaels, “Fucked-Up-Mood-Swings” Lamb, Doctor Holst and our new key worker; Sergeant Black.
Black has challenged me about the way my life is now going.
“Would you say your life is simple or complicated?” he asks.
I have to think about it. The truth is that it has become very, very complicated. I mean, VERY complicated. Really, really complicated. Some people are said to be leading a double-life. They are amateurs. I think I might be leading a ‘Quadruple-life’ if such a thing can be said to exist.
MY QUADRUPLE LIFE
- My life here on Ward 9. It is mostly open and honest (provided I don’t include all of those lies I persist in telling myself, or the armour of bullshit I can’t seem to shake off). But, I am open about my sexuality and lack of a love life. I am trying to be a better, simpler, more honest (ha!) person.
- My life down at the Depot Regiment. It is mostly a gigantic pack of lies. They don’t know anything about my sexuality (they can guess all they like!). They think I am just up here for a rest and some therapy. They still think it is all about competitive success and getting one over on the weaker person. They think I still buy into all that crap. Not a hope.
- My life with the Morris and the folkies. This is mostly open and honest. I have dropped broad hints about my sexuality and they are generally fine with it. Although, I do hear some sneering comments behind my back. But no overt hostility. This is where I have most fun and fulfilment. This is where I am making friends. These people are becoming my life-support system.
- My life on the Gay scene. This is mostly a gigantic pack of lies, not to say mostly imaginary, for the moment. While I am in hospital the chances of getting out to try and hook-up with someone is non-existent. As I don’t have my own pad that reduces the chances of hooking-up even further. Also, I have no close gay friends, so the chances of meeting a partner also doesn’t exist.
Please don’t ask me to do a Venn diagram.
“My life is complicated.” I reply to the question.
“Why do you think that is?
“Because I keep making bad choices and then fail to learn to live with them.” I reply glibly. This is actually a quote from a play I saw at the National Theatre. I can’t remember anything else about the play. Just that memorable line.
“I meant; What is so complicated about your life?” Black corrects me.
I look around the group. Normally I would have a strategy lined up to deflect this sort of armour-piercing question but these people really don’t deserve my crap. Even That-Wanker-Justin.
“Okay, how about this: All my life I seem to have been trying to be something I am not. When I find out what it is I am trying to be, I find it is not worth trying to be it. I used to have heroes, up to the point I discovered they weren’t worth it. My parents ambitions for me will never be fulfilled. My teachers ambitions for me will never be fulfilled. My recruiters ambitions for me will never be fulfilled.” I pause for a moment.
“What about your ambitions for yourself?” asks Black. Another armour-piercing question.
“I don’t have ambitions for myself anymore.” I answer. That is a big fat lie. It’s just that my former ambitions seem irrelevant, trivial and pointless. I haven’t had much of a chance to formulate new, realistic ambitions for myself. I don’t know what the future holds for me.
“You must have some ambitions. Even small ones. Come on, have a go.”
I think about it.
“Okay, how about this; I want to meet someone I can spend the rest of my life with. There, is that small enough for you?” You Complete Bastard, Lamb.
There is a long silence.
“Thank you, Bombardier Lamb,” says Major Holst, after a lengthy pause. “Does anyone else have something they want to ask Lamb?”
That is so unfair.
McCarthy won’t make eye contact. Justin stares at me with his lip quivering. Michaels has taken to staring at the carpet. I look around the room.
“I don’t think anyone else has anything they want to ask.” I say. “Unless you do.” I stare at Major Holst accusingly. I know perfectly well this has all been set up. Group Therapy is never the spontaneous thing it pretends to be.
“Why do you always get so fucking angry with yourself?” asks McCarthy. This is unexpected.
“I’ve seen you standing in the corner giving yourself a hard time. Why?”
“I. I… I…” I have no answer. Glib or otherwise. Why am I so angry with myself?