Why Are You Here?
I had my first therapy sessions last week. Not my first ever, but my first with the therapist I’m going to stick with for the time being. And she asked an important question, because like most things, therapy doesn’t work as well without a goal in mind.
Why are you here?
But I didn’t have any goals. I mostly wanted to have an ally I trusted just in case. Which I explained. So we talked about what was going on with my life.
I’ve been relatively open about my foray into non-monogamy and polyamory. So I decided, hey, she’s my therapist. She should know. And like with most people, up went the eyebrow.
“Why don’t you just call it dating then? You’re seeing multiple people?”
“I could. I don’t refer to my partners as my boyfriend or anything except to people I don’t know very well because it’s a shorthand people understand.”
“Right. It’s not a traditional form of relationship.” I expect her to write something down, like they do in movies and stuff, but she just continues to face me. “And why do you think non-monogamy works?”
“I like that I can have all my needs met- it may be different folks meeting them, but it’s the first time all of them are being met. And it feels like they have their needs met too. The communication is better.”
“Do you feel you could maybe find everything you need in one person?”
“Well, I haven’t yet.”
“You’re still young, though, you’re… twenty five—? “
“I’m 31, as of last month.”
“You’re 31?” There is a pause and she turns and checks her computer to confirm I’m not lying to her in our first session. “You do not look thirty-one.”
“I know. People always get kinda wide-eyed when I tell them I’m 31. Like, whoa, you’re 31? Have I been doing something wrong all these years?” I grin, because yes, you have people. You drink too much or smoke too much, or both too much, and it shows in your eyes, but hey, we all have our vices, right?
“But yeah, figure I’ll always look young until like, a magic spell gets cast on me and I’m suddenly like 70 years old.”
“Well, you still have time, is what I’m saying. Twenty-five, thirty, thirty-five. Some decisions, though…”
“Oh yes. I’m open to finding everything in one person, I’m just not optimistic. And I like what I have now. I like the people I spend my romantic time with. And I just… I don’t want to get married really, and I don’t want kids. And soon that decision is going to become permanent.”
“Do you like children?”
“I love my niece. She is so cute and funny that it makes me think ‘well, I don’t dislike all kids.’ ‘Not all children’ right?” I laugh but she doesn’t get the joke. Most people do not get my jokes. You’d think by 31 I would have accepted that and stopped trying. “But I’m the cool aunt, you know? I never have to take care of her. I rarely even see her! And when I think of the… being pregnant part… getting fat, and then shoving a baby head through my vagina while it’s being literally ripped apart…” I shiver, and it’s real. This is a real fear of mine. “Fuck that.”
Now she laughs. I notice she doesn’t wear a ring. “It’s good you’ve spent some time thinking about this. You definitely don’t seem to have that same — “ She pauses, searching for the right word. “Natural love some people have for children. The ones that coo at stranger’s kids, or offer to babysit friends’ children so they can have a night off.”
“Yeah, I’d never do that. I babysat like, twice when I was a teenager, and I was just so annoyed. Like, why can’t you guys just draw and do fun stuff with me for longer than 10 minutes?” I sigh. “I want kids to be like me. Tiny versions of me. That’s what it is. And that’s bad, because kids are kids! And some of them are real messy and like tiny less hairy apes running around the earth causing little pockets of chaos everywhere they go.”
“That scares you, too. What kind of children you would have.” It’s not a question. I realize that I like that she doesn’t just ask questions, she makes statements that it’s my job to confirm or deny.
I don’t deny this one. “Oh god, yes. I would have those nightmare kids, I just know it. My manic energy would transfer, but probably not my… insane ability to focus down into projects, and they’d just be little spinning tops of destruction.”
“Sometimes kids are like dogs. You just have to sigh and forgive. They don’t know any better.”
“But what about when they do?”
She smiles. “That’s where parenting comes in.” She checks the clock, and we both realize we’ve been talking for almost an hour. “Well, I think we found some things to talk about, all the same. We can build some goals out of that.”