When I was growing up, my parents put me in therapy a multitude of times. The first was after my mother left my father, and she thought I might need to see somebody about it, as if 5 year old me had any fucking idea how to process the concept of a separation or divorce or how to talk about any feelings I might’ve (but didn’t at the time cause I was fucking 5 years old) had on the subject. Then, throughout middle school and some early high school, my stepfather convinced my mother I needed to go to therapy. In fact, I’m relatively sure it’s safe to say that the most common heard phrase I’ve had said to me by my parents, and other people, is:
“You should see somebody/talk to a therapist”
Because what’s the best thing to tell someone who’s already well aware of their issues? That they have issues. Bitch, I know I’m ruined, thank you very much for the critical update. The time I was in therapy throughout my adolescence (the middle school/high school time) was terrible and spanned about 4 different therapists, all of whom did nothing to help me or care about whatever I had to say in the slightest, and, all of whom were reporting everything I might’ve told them right back to my parents, so I was smart enough not to say much of a damn thing to begin with. What forcing a child to go to therapy does to them is obliterate their trust.
“Oh, we don’t know how to handle this, so we just fucking won’t, and we’ll pay someone else to deal with our childs issues.”
I recognize these people are technically ‘specialists’, that they go to school for years to get their degrees and all that, but so many kids put in therapy don’t need to talk to a total fucking stranger. They need to talk to their fucking parents. If they think they can’t even talk to their parents, all that does is say you can’t talk to anyone, and so they’ll never open up, or at least not easily, thus making friendships and relationships harder to form. People put so much emphasis on family, how family will be there for you no matter what, but rarely back it up when it comes time to. So, instead of talking to these ‘specialists’, I vented to the girls that I liked, and took their genuine heartfelt concern as romantic interest because I was a stupid teenage lesbian who didn’t know any better.
All that did, in turn, was make me bitter when they stated their obvious and understandable disinterest in me, and though I never became hateful towards women because of rejection, it didn’t help me feel any better when I was already at my lowest. And then, when a girl DID show genuine romantic interest in me, I was cautious to believe it and was always skeptical, even if she was 100% sincere. And to think, all of this could’ve been avoided if my parents had just. fucking. talked to me.
So, perhaps, just perhaps, the people who don’t know me, aren’t me and aren’t therapists need to stop telling me and others that they need to seek therapy. Trust me when I tell you that a lot of us know we’re damaged, that the last thing we need is it being said is so few words repeatedly to our faces, and that we are perfectly capable of working things out, if we choose to do so. I’m not saying therapy can’t be helpful and does nothing. There’s people it works for, and it can be of great help to people, but not everyone is the same, and that’s where it starts. Painting everyone with a mental illness as the same is the start of the problem. Not all depressed people are the same. Symptoms give the idea that we all experience the same thing, but we all experience it differently.
Stop telling us to talk to people and talk TO us.
I can remember every single room I’ve ever been in.
It doesn’t matter where it was; family members room, friends room, my room, parents room, classroom, etc. Any room. Not even bedrooms, either, no, it extends to bathrooms, kitchens, garages. It doesn’t matter. If there was a room and I was in it, I can recall every single detail about it down to the rivets in the goddamned floorboards. What’s really “funny” about this is that I actually have a rather sketchy memory. A lot of my adolescence I’ve actually blocked for my own sake and then there’s just a lot I don’t remember in general, but I can remember every. single. fucking. room.
I’m sentimental, that much has been made abundantly clear from this blog by this point I’d think, but even so, I’m amazed at what I can recall. For a major example, one of the few friends I had growing up, his mother was an apartment manager and they moved around the city alot, which meant he wound up occupying multiple bedrooms in multiple apartments and all within a 3 or 4 year radius. I remember every single one. I remember the one overlooking the parking lot and the dumpsters with the big window, I remember the one right by the pool that was essentially filled with nothing but his futon bed, and I remember the one in the small house they rented when we first met. I remember them all.
And yet, despite all of this, I have never once felt at home in any one of them. How sad is that? A lifetime of rooms, even my own bedrooms, and I have never once felt at home in any of them. Maybe one day I will find my room. Maybe I won’t. Who knows. All I DO know is that I can remember these rooms better than I can remember relatives I knew for years or ‘friends’ I’d had forever. Voices. Faces. All lost to time. Rooms, though, rooms are the constant.
I think it’s because a room is something you yourself occupy; your energy, your space, and so you’re fit to remember it, even if it isn’t your own room. So, for the sake of some transparency for once, here’s some of my old rooms. Enjoy.
This weeks “Close To Monsters” is brought to you by your lack of prioritizing.
This week’s “Close To Monsters” is brought to you by the realization that no matter how bad things seem, they could always get worse.
Every year I go to my father’s for his birthday.
I don’t take him out for a meal, or to see a film or anything like that. We talk for a while, I give him his gift, and then we do what we’ve done every year for the last 7 years…we open up his time capsule. Inside, there are 5 items, each as important as the last. We take them out one by one, examining and discussing them. The first is a beautiful, golden ring. He puts it in the time capsule, because he wants to make sure it never gets lost, and he wants to give it to me when I get married. He says it’s a perfect fit, and I know it’s true, because I’ve tried it on. On the inner curve of the ring, there’s an inscription that reads, “Your smile is my oxygen.”
Next would have to be the camera. It’s a small, black camera that he took all of my childhood photos on, and that he took every photo in general on for as long as I can remember. He and my mother bought it at a thrift store before they got married, and he’d used it ever since. He even took every photo from their honeymoon on it. He tells me that I should do the same, ‘keep it in the family’, so to speak.
After that would be the corsage. It’s a beautiful shade of pink, and it fits perfectly on my wrist. It was my mothers as well, and she was the one who put it into the time capsule. He got it for her on their prom night, and she still cherishes it he says.
After the corsage comes the key. It’s the key to the first place my parents owned. It was their dream house. He says my mom wishes they still lived there, but I know better, that she’s happy where she is now. She’s happy where they are. But, that aside, it’s still an important piece of their history, and therefore, it’s made its way into the time capsule.
Finally, the last item in the box is a baby photo of me. It was taken by that same camera, in the hospital, mere moments after I was born. In the photo, my mother is holding me, beaming so happily, and my father says it’s her favorite photo of all time. After we’re through, we repack the time capsule, put it back onto the top shelf of his closet and go to dinner. We do this every single year.
We do this every single year, and we will continue to do so. We do it for mom. She’s been gone a while now, but they made that time capsule together on her deathbed in the hospital, where they spent her last days together. She told him that this way, they’d never be apart. This way, none of us would be apart. My father won’t admit it, but he misses her more than he lets on, though he tries to stay strong. But, if you look at just the right angle into his eyes, you can see her, still caught in his gaze, looking just as beautiful as the day they met.
We miss you, mom.