a girl meets girl story, pt. 3
(pt. 1) / (pt. 2)
“Today’s group discussion is about fear”, Rita started. The moment I heard that, I was already trembling, sweating, looking at my hands and thinking perhaps I picked the wrong clothes. “I believe I have talked with everyone here individually about fear, but this is the first time you will be encouraged to expose it to a bunch of strangers. Sounds fun, huh?”. Rita is middle aged, with dark blonde hair that reminds me of Debbie Harry. She has tattoos on her shoulders, something I keep promising myself to ask her about. She’s a woman I occasionally hate – mostly when she does things like imply that there’s humor to lay bare what you’ve been hiding for so long. “Nothing that will be said here will leave this room and the reason why we are saying them is to face the core of our fears, they are rooted in shame and guilt, while also bringing trust to the relationship”, she continues with a serious tone. Last week, we just listened to Rita talk about what forms our personality and our behavior, and in what ways therapy helps to be more conscious of them.
I was sensing some hearing loss. Which I knew was a protecting measure. It happens whenever I want to block something I don’t want to do. Since I had no idea what Rita was going on about, my sight became the most important sense during that speech, and it also made me notice body responses from other people. Luke couldn’t stop moving his legs and I could also see that it was driving crazy the girl, Mary, sitting next to him. And then there was Claire. She looked like she had already understood what would be asked of us and pretended to be paying attention to Rita by exchanging glances whenever Rita would look at her, but I could see her eyes were somewhere else. There was this big green vase across the room filled with daisies, and that’s where she was looking at. I went back to hearing things, and Rita finished her speech with “For now, I just want you to write that fear, everything that comes to you related to that feeling. You all have half an hour”.
I wrote non-stop. I described the room I was in my head. Not Rita’s office, but the place I would go when my fear was overcoming me. It was this dark room, with a small rectangular window at the top, it’s so high I can’t see outside, but I can see a small amount of light coming in and it’s very white, as if all days were cloudy. It’s with this rare light that I can see what I appear to be. This isn’t me, but how I am able to see myself. I have been here for so long that maybe I am starting to believe this is all I will ever be. My skin is grayish, my arms are tired, I feel weak. I sit in an old ripped apart armchair, there is nothing else there. I have to describe how I feel, before I can name the feeling. I write the title: Abandonment. I get up to get some paper tissues. Mary is crying, Luke has his eyes closed. Claire is rubbing her hands on her legs as to warm up her body.
Rita said our writing was over. “We still have time for one of you to read. Who can start?”.
Claire raised her hand. The room got quieter, even Luke stopped moving his legs, I felt cold. Claire started talking. “Most people think they know me and would say my greatest fear is to have a drink and fall off the wagon again. I don’t try to dismiss that fear anymore, but I now know it’s not the thing I fear the most. What I fear is the feeling that makes me want to drink. And that is… the feeling of not being good enough”. Rita was taking notes, everyone else had their eyes fixed on Claire – I think we were all sort of saying ‘I feel like that too’. She went on. “It started the day my mother put me out of the house, and it escalated from that. Maybe it started the day I was born and my mom wanted a boy, to be honest, but when I was homeless and nowhere to go, that was the moment that scarred me and made think later that alcohol would be the solution to what I was missing. For a while, it was. At first, it really filled me. I felt like I could be fun, complete, liked, loved even, and happy”. Claire looked down at her hands, signaling she was done talking. For some reason, Luke and Mary turned to me after that.
I was sitting next to Claire. Rita was looking at me too. “What?”, I asked. “Well, according to what I said earlier, we would all say something to the person that shared their fear, going the clockwise direction. That would be you, Katherine”. “Fuck, sorry. I forgot”, I said. “No problem, take your time”. “OK. I… just wanted to say that you are very brave; that I admire you wholeheartedly for facing all of that and still not falling into a sad spiral. Or maybe… falling into the spiral and coming out of it anyway? There is a lot more I could or should say, but I think for now it’s all that I can make sense of what you shared”. I asked if I could hug her. She accepted. There is only one thing that could describe that embrace. You know when you hear a fantastic song for the first time and you wonder what’s happening and you get all excited that you are living those minutes with that song on? It wasn’t hearing a song for the first time, but it was the moment when that song is over, and you feel you are a different person, and you just want to hear that song over and over again immediately. It wasn’t love, yet, but it was something.
listening while writing: Smashing Patriarchy is Self Care Mix / Outside Lands Mix