The Therapist’s Couch
I have been known to talk mad shit -
to myself, my cats, a lot to my therapist.
As I sit on the couch in my therapist’s office, she stares at me as I stare at the clock. Trying to figure out if it would be more effective to verbally vomit my thoughts or control the flow with the emotional baggage that always seems to clog my voice.
Verbal vomit that is uncontrollable can be, overwhelming. And and clogged voice from emotional baggage can be, deafening.
There are times when the hour goes by so quickly, I feel like I haven’t even touched on what was bothering me. Although, it must have not bothered me if I got through the whole session without bringing it up. Yet, somehow other things came up, that I thought were minuscule in the bigger picture.
I have finally gotten out of the hell hole that I found myself in for almost two years. A small town that promotes tourism and hatred all in the same breath. A town where conservatives and liberals point of view are so extreme that they often end up on the same page, fighting for the same things and will still say they are different. In my mind, I no longer look at people based on political affiliation. I now look at people based on their moral compass.
My therapist gets more comfortable in her chair. She smiles as I continue my hour long rant of the world’s, or should I say, my world filled with injustices that will somehow be fixed by the end of this session.
Practicing my voice, I reveal that I want to start writing again. I proclaim that I want to be involved with the community, that once shamed me for being different. I find strength in this particular section of my sound off and decide to go all in on my thoughts.
I want to be heard again!
My therapist stops me with a look. Her blue eyes pierce through me, I know this look. This is the look right before she’s about to call me on my bullshit. I stare at her like a kid that just got caught eating all the ice cream. She tilts her head, and half smiles.
“ To say you want to be heard again, means you are acknowledging that at some point you felt that you were heard in the past.”
I stare at her, dumbfounded.
What the fuck?!?
Every part of me wants to stand up and throw my slippers, have an adult temper tantrum and tell her she doesn’t know what she’s talking about. But I can’t, cause she will defuse it even before I can wind myself up enough to have one. She sits and waits, patiently. I go through my mental survival bag to decide how to answer. Her eyes are now burning my skin.
I start off slowly and I think strategically, “When I was in graduate school, maybe. No. When I was behind the scenes, writing, not as myself, but under another name. I guess I’ve always been attracted to writing anonymously. I know that sometimes, most times my words are sharp and will cut through even the toughest of skin. I have no problems of being held accountable, what I don’t know how to get past is, the canopy of judgment.”
My therapist adjusts her gaze. It’s softer now, she’s not aiming to come in for the kill.
“ Who’s judgement are you speaking about? Yours or others?”
… my mind searches for the answer in my database of protective comebacks when I feel that I’m being dismantled. FUCK!
“ I guess my judgements come from my experiences based on how others interact with me. I’ve noticed as a woman of color, I need a dissertation of facts and resources behind what I say. Yet, a white person, can assert a claim and it’s considered fact.”
“ Give me an example” She says, quietly.
“ My partner will assert herself as a white woman, she will say directly what it is that she is feeling or how things need to be done. People will listen, and not question her. There is no push back. I, on the other hand, can deliver the same statement, using the same tone, same affectation in my delivery and I will be questioned.”
My therapist sits in silence and stares at me. I stare back expecting a rebuttal.
Her face changes. I know she won’t say anything, cause she knows she can’t. As a white woman, she is very familiar with what I’m talking about as she sees it all too often. She could say she understands as a woman, but that doesn’t come close to what a black woman goes through on a daily basis. So we sit in silence.
She allows for the moment to pass. “ So, what do you want your voice to be known for ?”
I look up at the clock. She looks at the clock.
Time is up.
We sit in silence.
I’m waiting for her to say, time is up.
I wait, patiently, to see if she will cut it off.
She calls my bluff through her body language.
She’s gonna wait me out! I always knew she was a scrapper. She’s done this to me before. She lets me talk mad shit, and then out of nowhere will call me on it. But I don’t know she’s calling me on it until I can’t answer.
I don’t have an answer. No one has asked me this question before. It’s not in my database of questions.
I say, “ I know time is up, I’m sure you have other appointments” as I start to move to signal, I’m done.
She continues to wait, patiently. She says nothing.
I stare at her, she stares back.
“ I want my verbalizations to be as strong as my written voice”
She smiles, “It already is”