“I don’t even know why I’m here…” I grumbled to no one in particular, especially the dude sitting across from me with his freshly sharpened number 2 pencil and his brand-new pad of paper. It’s almost like he needs a new pad, just for me. I believe it.
“Well,” The Dr. Phil look-alike began, “I thought you wanted to talk. Isn’t that why we’re here? You always seem like you have a lot to say but you never get around to saying it..”
He cocked his head and looked at me, his shaggy brown hair falling into his eyes. It was thinning on top. He was prettier than Dr. Phil, in a boyish, bad boy sort of way. And, well, he still had hair. But the clothes, of course. I think he wanted people to think he resembled the man, honestly.
“That’s not fair,” I blurted, almost as an afterthought. “I say a lot. No one listens.” I was defensive. Arrogant. Haughty. I heard it in my voice. My sweet, girlish voice that matched my charming and adorable exterior. Fuck him. I hope he makes me cry.
No one likes it when I cry. It’s rather like punting a teddy bear off of a ten-story building. The guilt they feel makes me smile. For a second. Fuck them. They deserve it. I swallowed. Not true. No one deserves to feel the pain I feel. No one.
“You’re doing it again,” he says. Waiting.
“I’m not doing anything!” I insisted, knowing it was a lie. Liar. Yep. I’m a rather good liar to myself. I can’t lie to other people but boy oh boy, can I lie to myself. I glare at him and rub my elbow. Nervous tick, that. The nerve damage in my arm causes my elbow to itch, incessantly.
“Still doing it.” He waits.
“FINE. I’m doing IT. Whatever it is..” I grumbled again. “Aren’t you supposed to ask me questions so I have somewhere to start? Isn’t like that, you know, your JOB?” I couldn’t keep the snark out of my tone. I hated being here. I wanted to go somewhere else. Anywhere. Not even sure really why I decided this was a good idea.
“Well, I could,” he said “but… what would be the point of engaging in conversation with someone who’s already got their own monologue going on inside their head and have no room for anyone else?”
He said it. He went there. Yah. Boom. Guilty. I do that. No one else hears a fuck thing I say, so why not. At least when I talk to myself, I listen. I snickered. He waited.
I sighed. “Fine. You’re right. I’m doing IT. I can’t help it.”
He smirked. That smirk reminds me of someone else. I swallow. Nope. Not today Satan. I blink twice and chew on my tongue ring.
“What do you want.” Dr. Phil’s little brother says. Not a question. Not a statement. A writing prompt, maybe. Out loud.
“I want to be happy.” I blurt. Stupid. Idiot. Way to open a can of worms that you barely keep a lid on in the first place.
“Why are you unhappy?” He asks and waits. This is what I want. Someone who listens.
“I didn’t say I was unhappy!” I snap. God, I sound like a freaking idiot. Of course, I’m unhappy because the opposite of happy is unhappy. A second grader knows this. Freaking idiot.
He waits. I wait.
“I don’t know. I don’t know why I am unhappy. I don’t allow myself to think about it and when I do, I get busy.”
“Busy?” He queries.
“Yes, busy.” I clench my jaw. Jesus, I’m a freaking walking montage of bottled up rage today. “I write. I draw. I bake cookies. That I eat. I eat a lot of cookies.” I don’t know why I brought up the damn cookies. “I work a lot. When I’m not working at work, I work at home. Busy. I like to keep my mind busy and my hands busy.”
He waits to see if I’m done talking. No judgement on his face. He doesn’t scribble in his notebook. Strange. He hasn’t written anything down at all. I wonder why.
“I sleep a lot too, “I added. “Sort of. I mean, sometimes I sleep a lot. Sometimes, I don’t sleep at all. It’s weird. When I sleep, I sleep A LOT. And then I don’t sleep, so you know I do… stuff.” I stopped talking, suddenly feeling like a damn idiot, again.
“Would you say you’re depressed?” He asked. Of course, he asked that. They always ask that. Everyone does.
“No.” No attitude. No snark. No hidden emotion. I’m not depressed.
“What word would you use to describe eating and sleeping too much or too little?”
He asked, calmly, letting me get there on my own.
“I don’t know. I just know it’s not depression. I’m just tired.” I rub my elbow. “Not tired, like tired. Just…. Tired. Everything is so fucking hard and it doesn’t have to be. I’m a pretty simple person and everyone makes everything so damn complicated and it pisses me off. I’m TIRED.”
“I see.” He nods his head and waits.
A bell dings. I clench my jaw. Always. It takes half a lifetime for me to open my mouth and use words and then…. Well, I am paying the guy to listen to me. So, whatever.
He doesn’t rush me. He waits.
I stand up and catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror across the way.
I look away.
“See you next week Dr. Phil..” I muttered, shouldering on the black leather trench coat that perfectly matches the black jeans, biker boots and black t-shirt with the skull on it. Adorable little purple haired bad ass. That’s me. Be afraid.
“I’ll be here, of course.” He smiles and stands, as he motions me towards the door.
Dr. Phil’s little brother looked at me, unblinking. Stoic. Waiting.
“It’s not like I ACTUALLY hit him,” I said, slightly chastised. “I said I wanted to.”
“No.” Phil Jr. said, glancing down at his notepad. He was taking notes today. Goody for me. “You said,” He paused, as if about to drop some massive truth bomb. “I wanted to reach across the counter and grab him by his man bun, and slam his head into the glass display case.” He looked up and waited.
I shrugged and waited.
“Okay. So. He was a douche. To me. To the nice elderly lady in front of me, whose only crime was asking if the blueberry muffins were fresh.”
“I see.” Curly hair fell into his eyes as Dr. Phil look-alike jotted something down in his black notebook filled with steno paper. I stared at the top of his head where his hair was thinning. He’d have a bald spot inside of a year. I wonder if his wife liked bald guys.
I glanced down at his hand as he scribbled, realizing I didn’t know if Phil Jr. was married. Yep. Big thick gold band. Gold. Gaudy. Loud. Typical.
“I hate gold.” I blurted, “And diamonds. Both are…. obnoxious.” I finished lamely while he stared at me, unblinking.
“Do you think you have an anger problem?” He asked. Of course he asked.
“No. I have an idiot problem,” I quipped back.
“Yes, I suppose I do,” I agreed and the paused, “Sort of.”
“How does that work, sort of?” He smirked.
That tiny smirk. Why did I like that smirk? Jackass. Quit smirking.
I shrugged. “Sort of, as in I don’t USUALLY have an anger problem unless…”
“Unless…” He prompted me.
“Unless I come face to face with sheer stupidity, douchebaggery, or general fuckery,” I finished, staring hard at him.
Half a smirk that time. “Are you going to explain douchebaggery and fuckery then?” He asks calmly. Politely.
Another shrug. “You know.”
“I really don’t…..know.” Slight impatience that time. My inner mean girl squirms in delight and I shut her down.
“God.” I huff. “It’s really not that hard. A douchebag is a person without regard or thought of another’s feelings, personal space, or general lack of respect for those around them.” I heard the anger in my voice. The sweet, melodic tones everyone became so enamored with bleeding into bitterness. I stopped talking and chewed on my tongue ring.
“I see.” A slight head nod followed by his freshly sharpened number 2 pencil scratching on his steno pad. “And, “He glanced down. “General fuckery?”
I gnawed on the ball of my tongue ring, positive that I was about to crack a tooth. “It’s douchebaggery. To the extreme,” I said quietly, feeling stupid. “People who can’t be talked out of or down from their idiotic behavior.”
“And do you do that a lot?” He taps his pencil on his twill pants. Target. I bet his wife bought them. They perfectly complimented his grey tie and purple shirt.
“Huh? Do what?” Yah. I zoned out there for a second. I wonder if his wife irons his pants.
“Talk people down?” He queries, rather like asking me if I would like lemonade or tea.
“Oh. Yah. I guess, sometimes. Sometimes people are just too damn stupid to know how their words and actions affect others though.” I blurted, feeling lame again.
“Do you think that is your responsibility then?” He keeps tapping his pencil on his Target pants.
“My responsibility? No. Yes. Maybe. Shouldn’t it be? Shouldn’t it be everyone’s responsibility to ensure that we have a general level of respect and civility in society?”
I tamped down my irritation, aggrieved by such a stupid question.
Phil Jr. nods his head, in agreement or simply acknowledging my response, I don’t know. He doesn’t scribble. That irritates me too. I say something that smart and self-aware and you don’t write that down? Asshole.
I blink as a bell chimes. Great. We didn’t even get to talk about the leaking faucet or the stupid coffee cup.
I glance down at his notebook as I stand up, trying to read his chicken scratch. Probably using me to write a book. Musings of a Mad Girl. It has a nice ring to it.
“Are you high?” He was dressed in jeans today. Strange. Still wearing the loafers with no socks though. I bet he was meeting his wife for lunch after this. Somewhere casual but not too casual. Jeans and loafers casual.I bet his wife wears a messy bun and yoga pants. Probably dresses it up with a tunic and scarf.
“I heard you.” I grumbled and snapped my gaze back to his. “I’m not high. I dunno why you would even ask me that. Are you even allowed to ask me that? I mean, I’m paying you to listen to my issues right. Well, what if I’m a drug addict. Wouldn’t a question like that trigger me? Maybe you’re the reason so many people fall off the wagon. You ever think about that? How do you sleep at night, going around accusing people of being high…..” I stopped, realizing suddenly that I was rambling and he was calmly staring at me, waiting on me to finish.
“You seem agitated. More than usual,” Phil Jr. crossed his sockless ankles as he waited on me to respond. Damn the man has bony ankles. It really must hurt when they knock together like that. I wonder if his wife is a scrawny thing too. Two skeletons having sex, bones rattling and creaking. Yah. That escalated. I do that sometimes. Okay, most of the time.
“Not agitated,” I insisted. “Okay, maybe a little but it’s your fault. I cut down on the coffee like you suggested and this is what happens when I cut down on the coffee. I don’t drink coffee for me, I drink it for everyone else. Because they annoy the hell out of me and coffee makes me feel nice. Pretty. Coffee makes me feel nice and pretty.”
He smirked as I rambled on.
“On Monday, we talked a little about managing your anger better. Would you like to continue on that avenue or is there something else you would like to talk about?” Junior asked as he watched me intently. He still thinks I’m stoned. Go figure.
I shrugged. “I don’t feel much like talking today.” I muttered and then rolled my eyes so hard at myself in my head that I nearly fell out of the chair. I’ve been rambling for ten minutes and I have nothing to say. Obviously. Clearly.
Phil Jr. uncrossed his ankles and sat up straighter, as if he was preparing himself for a struggle. I snickered. He waited.
“I had a BLT at the Huddle House this morning,” I finally said, tired of counting the ticks of the clock on the wall. Ticks of a tocking clock. That’s funny. I should write that down. “It didn’t suck. “I finished.
“That’s it? It didn’t suck?” He wrote something down. I swear to God I think he’s doodling in that notebook. What the hell did I say that he has to write down. Seriously.
“Well yah, it didn’t suck. That was different. Enjoyable. The Huddle House used to be my favorite place to eat. Freaking awesome BLT’S and the coffee is off the chain. The good stuff, they serve the customers while they’re eating. Did you know that they switch it up on you when you ask for a to go cup? I’m totally not kidding. It’s not the same coffee. They only serve you the good coffee if you’re a sitting customer. But yah, anyway. They sucked for a while. A lot. But now they don’t. So, yah. It didn’t suck.” Geeze what is wrong with me. Shut up.
He doodled in his steno pad a little more. I know he is. Probably jotted a grocery list in the corner. Eggs, milk, dog biscuits, flowers for the old lady.
“So, you had a BLT at the Huddle House that didn’t suck. And coffee? Did you have coffee?” Yah now he’s judging me.
“One cup,” I bit my lip, “and a refill.” I mumbled, wondering why I suddenly felt like a kid with their hand in the cookie jar.
“And sleep?” His hand was poised above his steno pad like I was about to impart some vital piece of information that was going to save the world from the zombie apocalypse and he needed to get it just right. I focused on the pencil lead, noticing it was getting dull. Irritating. I hate when people don’t sharpen pencils and the words get all faded out and hard to read. Pencils should always have a nice sharpened point so that words are clear and precise on the paper.
“Did you sleep last night?” Dr Phil look-alike cleared his throat, waiting for me to come back.
“Yah. I guess. Some. Same as always.” I said, trying to avoid the question. I didn’t like to talk about that. It was hard explaining to people that you either didn’t sleep at all or you slept like you were in a coma. There seemed to be no in between. Any time the subject was broached, some know-it-all would bring up depression again. All roads lead to depression. Obviously.
I glanced at the clock on the wall, suddenly willing the hands to rotate themselves around to 4:00. Uhg. Five minutes left. He’s going to make me talk about why I’m not sleeping.
“Are you still having the dreams?” He asks. Yah. I knew he was going to do that.
“Yah. Sometimes. They’re…. changing though.” I plucked at the strings of my holy jeans, twirling the frayed denim around my pinkie finger until I cut the circulation off. I released it and stared at my purplish digit as the blood begin to refill it. “I’m alone. Wearing a flapper style wedding dress and standing on the bank of a river. I think I’m waiting but I don’t really know what I’m waiting for. It’s really dark and I can’t see much. Cold too. The dreams aren’t in the spring time anymore. It’s really cold.” I twirled the denim around my finger again and went silent. My heart suddenly heavy.
“Why do you think the dream changed to winter,” He cocks his head at me and studies me.
“I..” A bell chimes and I jump up like someone just shot me, grabbing my jacket off the back of the chair.
“We’re going to talk about this more later,” He insists as he stands and walks towards the door.
“Sure thing Dr Phil, “ I mumble, clenching my jacket in my fingers, feeling trapped.
“Joe.” He smirks at me. “My name is Joe. Not Phil. It says so right there on my desk and on the card, I gave you. I know you remember it.”
“Joe huh? What’s that short for? Joseph? Jose?” I was desperate to leave and I have no idea why I was still talking.
“Just Joe.” He opened the door and I felt all the air leave my lungs. “My mother, bless her heart, was not an imaginative woman. Just Joe.”
I nodded. “Alrighty. Just Joe. See you on the flip side….” I all but ran out the door.
“That is stupidest thing I have ever heard,” just Joe scowled at me as he sat perched on the edge of his chair wearing his spiffy Target attire.
I stared him down, irate that it didn’t seem to faze him at all.
“It’s not stupid. It’s the truth. I think God fucked up. It’s that simple. I think he meant to stuff my soul into someone like Mother Theresa or you know, Lady Diana.” I kicked myself mentally as the words spilled out of my mouth. I sounded like a blubbering idiot but I wasn’t backing down.
Joe tapped his freshly sharpened number 2 pencil on his twill pants as he waited for me to finish. Oh. I was getting to him. Ha. He’s probably thinking he doesn’t get paid enough to listen to this crap.
“I’m still not seeing the correlation between you wanting to punch someone for carelessly using the word Nazi and your soul being in the wrong body here, you’re going to have to clarify the chain of events for me.” He finally said, in his would you like tea or lemonade voice.
Oh yah. Dr. Phil Jr was about to lose his ever-loving mind. Maybe I should add a couple bucks to the next check I write.
“Okay. She was organizing this stupid protest slash sit in thing, protesting some silly imagined millennial age offense that the college had committed against the student body.” I paused to see if Joe was following me, gathering my thoughts. “She accused the administration of being Nazi’s and I kind of… lost it.”
I stopped talking and listened to the ticking clock on the wall while he waited for me to continue.
I let him wait. The clock was some cheap knock off that was supposed to look like one of those fancy Pier One to-dos. It was just really a little grotesque.
Joe cleared his throat and I sighed.
“Okay, so. I went off on this whole tangent about how people are so stupid and insensitive that they can throw around a word like Nazi without knowing the full extent of their own stupidity. People were held prisoner, branded, murdered by Nazi’s and this girl is running around slinging that word about because she can’t get gluten free bread in the college cafeteria. Yah. I lost it. I made her cry. I made her friends cry.”
He let me spew in silence, not bothering to scribble in his steno as I worked myself into a frenzy of irritation.
“And…” Just Joe prompted me, his face passive. I have no idea what he’s thinking at this point. I feel a little weird about that. Did I piss off my therapist? Is that even possible?
I slumped down in my chair, pulling the sleeves of my sweater over my hands. I don’t know why I do that. Like I’m hiding inside my clothes. Half of my sweaters have little holes in the sleeves where my thumbs hang out. My mind wanders a moment longer before I focus on Joe again.
“Seriously. I don’t mean to verbally strip people of their humanity. It… happens. I know that inside me there is a good person. I always try to do the right thing and I try not to lie or say things to people that are hurtful. I am hyper aware that my words and actions are capable of causing harm to those around me. But, sometimes…” I paused, thinking.
“Triggered. I really hate using that word because it’s another phrase that gets thrown around a lot in casual conversation. People don’t really understand what it means for someone to be truly triggered. That’s a loaded word. A powerful word. The simple smell of alcohol can send a struggling soul into a downward spiral. A raised hand can send a tortured heart into a panic. I was triggered. The pain that the word Nazi inflicts on the human heart and mind when it is heard… and this girl is using it to describe something as trivial as not being able to have gluten free bread because she’s an entitled little shit who can’t see beyond her own self-absorbed desires. I verbally emasculate people and strip them bare. And then… “
I paused again. Swallowing the lump in my throat. I didn’t look at Joe. I know he’s judging me. I’m judging myself.
“And then I have to live with myself after. I can’t let it go. Even when I apologize to people for being an asshole, I still can’t let it go. That’s why I know. See. Guilt is there to make you do the right thing. It’s the purpose of guilt. If you don’t feel remorse for your actions then you really don’t care who you hurt. Guilt is supposed to correct you, steer you in the right direction, make you a better person. It doesn’t work for me. So., I think God fucked up. There is a good soul inside of a body and mind that doesn’t deserve it. Do you understand now?”
I think that’s the most I’ve said in all the weeks that I’ve been paying this man to listen to me. He looks so serious.
“I know you’re not going to believe me when I say this but, you’re perfectly normal.” Joe smirks at me slightly. I hate him. Quit smirking. It makes me smile.
“There is nothing normal about the way I feel,” I argued.
The bell chimed and for the first time in weeks, I didn’t leap out of my chair. I’m disappointed. I have stuff to say. Stuff I need to say. I’m bursting at the seams.
Just Joe stands up, dusting some imaginary lint off of his twill pants and lays his steno pad on the table beside him. He didn’t take notes today. I sigh and stand up, grabbing my black duster off the back of the chair.
He smiles at me. I blink in astonishment.
Joe motions towards the door, “There is a quote that hangs on the wall of my study at home. My wife embroidered it and it’s a wonderful piece of work. It says.. I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples. Mother Theresa did not change the world by forcing people to love one another. She did it by loving people. One person at a time. Without judgement, or anger. You can change the world.”
I stared at him a moment before I silently walked out of his office, swallowing the tears I refused to shed.
“No. I don’t hate the holidays,” I paused and swallowed my tears, “I just hate the way I feel. I know it’s stupid because I actually do love Christmas. I love all the decorating, and the lights, and all the annoying Joy to the worlding. I actually love all of it but….”
Just Joe waited on me to finish my train of thought, always the avid audience. He wasn’t even tapping his ever-present number 2 pencil on his pants today. He was actually treating me more or less like a skittish animal. Cute but probably rabid. I snickered in my head. Then I sighed. He was still waiting.
“I’ve lost…. a lot,” I finally said by way of vague explanation. Again, he waited. I should have known that wasn’t going to cut it. I wonder why he’s not wearing his Target attire today. He actually looks kind of spiffy. Looks like Dickies. Still wearing the loafers though. What a weird choice. I wonder if his wife dresses him in the mornings. Maybe she slept late. Or, they had a fight. What does a head shrinker and his old lady fight about? How do they fight? I bet she threatens him with a baseball bat at least once a week because he cocks his head with that freaking smirk and waits for her tangents to end. I’d kill him. Poor woman.
I sighed again and continued, “I’ve lost a lot of people in my life. Important people. Mostly because they died. You know that movie, Four weddings and a Funeral? My life is the opposite of that. I’ve been to more funerals in my lifetime than one person should ever have to experience. So, yah. Dead. Gone. Not here. And then,” again I paused. This was harder than I thought it was going to be. I was getting better at spewing my feelings to this guy but some things just still sucked freaking monkey balls. “And then, “I started again, “… there are all of the people in my life that I’ve cut loose because they’re toxic. They’re a detriment to the life I want to live and to basically…… everything I hold dear in this world. Honestly. Integrity. Loyalty. They’re toxic. I love them and I miss them but they cannot be a part of my life.” I stopped talking, having finally choked it out.
Joe was nodding his head at me slowly, like I was making sense. That can’t be right. Seriously. The guy thinks I’m three cookies short of a box of Animal Crackers. He can’t possibly be agreeing with me. That’s more of an okay she’s finally done puking up nonsense nod. Has to be.
I stared. He smiled. Slowly. Yep. He thinks I’m skittish and rabid.
“Perfectly understandable,” he finally said. I blinked. He nodded at me again. “Many people struggle during the holiday season for the same reasons. It’s not always a happy time despite what mainstream media tries to sell us. There is no reason for you to try to pretend otherwise. You have no obligation to be happy for anyone other than yourself.”
Wait. What. I replayed that in my head. You have no obligation to be happy for anyone other than yourself. I swallowed the lump in my throat, fairly certain that Dr. Just Joe had solved the entire worlds fucking problems in a single sentence.
I stared at him and repeated the phrase, out loud, “I have no obligation to be happy for anyone other than myself.” I jerked my head in the affirmative so hard that I caused an immediate twinge in my neck that crawled its way into my head. Great. Another damn headache. My left eye twitched. Oh. One of those. I love those.
“Just so,” Joe said and smirked at me like I’d just handed him the Golden Ticket. Oh great. Now he thinks he’s helping me. Oh Geeze. He’s scribbling. I wonder what chapter of the book he’s on. I wonder what color my hair is in the book. I ticked off the hair color changes I’d be through since I’d met my Dr. Phil cloned therapist, realizing that he’d seen me rotate through red, pink, purple, black, back to purple. Dang. I bet my hair is pink in the book.
He cleared his throat and I blinked. Oh. Yah. He’s still here. Or, I’m still here rather because he’s supposed to be here. I just come here to babble and I pay him to listen.
“Go home. Do whatever you do during the holidays. Decorate, cook, go to parties. If you feel like crying, then cry. If you’re upset, sad, angry, or feel alone, there is absolutely no reason to hide those things. They’re perfectly normal and natural,” Joe’s voice soothes me. That’s weird. When did I start liking the sound of his voice?
Did I always? I think hard for a moment and come to no certain conclusion, suddenly irritated at the prospect that I might actually like this guy. For real.
He smirked suddenly, like he was reading my thoughts. Probably was. I suck at hiding what I’m thinking because my face says it for me.
A bell chimed. I stood up on auto pilot and grabbed my jean jacket, heading for the door. I muttered under my breath, “I’m under no obligation to be happy for anyone other than myself.” I waved at Joe. “See you next time Dr. Joe”
He peered at me with an amused look on his face as I exited his office. I barely registered the fact that he hadn’t even stood up from his chair. I was mumbling to myself about assholes who smirk too much.
“Everyone wants to be liked,” I said with obvious disdain in my voice. “Anyone who says different is either flat out lying or hiding from the world.” I stared hard at him, pondering for a moment if I’d overestimated his intelligence.
“You’re absolutely correct,” Joe said, smiling. “However, that is not what I asked you. I asked why you feel compelled to make sure everyone in your life liked you. Wouldn’t you agree that it is impossible to please one hundred percent of all people, all of the time?” He asked me calmly. Patiently.
“I don’t do that anymore.” I muttered under my breath, belligerent. Guilty.
“Right.” He was still smiling at me dammit. “But it still keeps you up at night, doesn’t it?” Damn his questions.
“Yah, it still keeps me up at night.,” I begrudgingly agreed, picking at the thread on my jeans. I felt sad today. Unwilling to feel anything other than sad. I wanted to feel sad and he wasn’t going to make me feel anything other than what I wanted to feel. Dammit.
“Tell me about it,” He urged, ever the understanding guru of my damned feelings. I hate him. Damn the man.
“There is nothing there to talk about,” I insisted stubbornly. “It’s pretty simple. I give people more chances to be in my life than any one human being should ever give another. I forgive. I try to forget. I try to move on, but they won’t let me. Their excuse for hurting me again is always the same. I’m human, I make mistakes. Okay. Sure. But it’s always the same mistakes bucko.” I realized I was winding up for another rant and paused, unsure if I wanted to continue stewing in my torment or let it go in my monologue of random spew.
“People think they have a right to tell me who I can and cannot have in my life just because they’re in it. People who have hurt me more times than I can count think they have a right to dictate to me who deserves my forgiveness and who doesn’t. Like they are not guilty of as many crimes or worse to me as the people they think I need to turn my back on.” I stopped talking. Angry but surprisingly better. Less sad. Damn this man.
He just watched me, as if making sure I was done ranting. He nodded slowly at me in understanding. I’m really starting to get annoyed when he does that. It’s really confusing to my psyche.
“Would you say that these people who abuse their position in your inner circle are special to you?” He asked me, while stretching out his hand and offering me a bowl of caramel creams. Oh. That’s not fair. He’s keeping my favorite candy in his office as bribes. What a dick. I rolled my eyes at him and took two candies from the dish. It might be a bribe but I’m still gonna eat it, I’m not stupid.
“Every single person who has ever impacted my life is special to me.” I state plainly, around a gooey wad of caramel.
His mouth curved into a small smile. Whether he was smiling about my childlike enjoyment of a piece of candy or the fact that I had just inadvertently called him special, I don’t know. Uhg.
He nodded at me again. “How does it make you feel when someone tries to force their will upon you in such a way?” Holy shit. Did just Joe really just ‘how does that make you feel’ me? He just head shrinkered me. Gah. This guy.
I glared at him and he smirked slightly, knowing his exact offense and enjoying my offended sensibilities.
“It makes me feel sad. I feel sad that someone who is supposed to know me and love me can have such…” I paused, at a loss of words for what I was trying to say.
He waited. Not filling in any blanks for me. He knew what I was trying to say but he wasn’t going to help me. What freaking good is this guy, really.
I struggled for a moment more. “Disrespect.” I finally blurted. “It hurts me in my soul that people who are supposed to know me and love me have such total disrespect for who I am as a person and a complete and total lack of understanding about what they’re asking me to do. They want me to change who I am. I’m not willing to do that again. For anyone. Ever. NEVER.” I realized that my face was probably scrunched up in my ‘holy hell fear of God holy crap run away’ rage face, I visibly forced myself to relax and took a slow breath.
Joe nodded at me, and waited with that happy little smirk on his face. He was mentally patting himself on the back that I had started to use the techniques he was forcing upon me. I snickered in my head. Okay. So. He was right but whatever.
His voice was quiet when he finally killed the silence. “You are not under any obligation to bow to the will of others to make them happy, especially if it causes you unhappiness. Your will is your own. Your life is your own.”
I swallowed the tears that were choking me, drowning me. “I’m not under any obligation to bow to the will of others to make them happy. Especially if it causes me unhappiness. My will is my own. My LIFE is my own.” I struggled to repeat the words that made so much sense, choking on each, unable to stop the pain that was running down my face. My voice became stronger as I reached the end. Full of determination.
Someone knocked on the door and I jumped.
“It seems we’ve ran a bit over today,” Dr. Joe smiled softly. I glanced at the stupid timer that I hated so much, unblinking and dark. He hadn’t even turned it on.
I cleared my throat, and swiped my arm across my face.
“Thank you, Doctor, … “I paused, hesitating. It suddenly seemed so infantile to call this man Dr. Joe.
“Joe.” He finished and smirked. Okay then.
“Thank you, Dr. Joe.” I finished softly, still trying to regain control of my emotions.
He stood and motioned me towards the door, smiling.
“Same bat time…”
“Same bat channel.” I finished and laughed. I bet this guys wife wants to hit him at least twice a week.
By L.E. Walker
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