I wrote this last night, awake into the small hours of the morning. I'm not sure how clear it is or what, really, I wanted it to frame. But it is written, and because I am intent on tracking this little life of mine, it is here.
My Monday morning meetings are now my Wednesday afternoons. And they are exactly the same, but for the sideways step into the mid-week.
Counselling is a curious thing. A thing so unpredictable. Every week I find myself balled up with a flash of pre-emptive nerves: I am at a complete loss of what to say--of how and where and why I am to begin. But as soon as I step into that little rented office, there is a movement. A tumbling, somersaulting collapse of words I never dared to speak, and thoughts I never knew I had, and images I didn't know I visualised. And within an hour they become palpable; they are words spoken by myself, then reflected back, and they are--perhaps most importantly--to the conscience of another.
It is undoubtedly that reflection that I find the most helpful. Not just my own isolation of thought and feeling--but the retorts and the comments that they feed. I got lucky with Joan--so, extremely lucky. She is reflective and compassionate in the ways that I need--more than that, though, she is empathic. It seems a little silly, now, having spent a few months with her, but I never expected empathy--never expected someone to care as much, or as understandingly. And today of all days, I was blown away by that. Blown away by her intuition and her--I suppose her sense of nurturing. She is attune, now, to the way I speak and to noticing the precipice: that split-second moment before my cheeks dampen with a little too much emotive cause. What struck me today was this sense of intimacy--this knowledge that this woman knows more about me, now, than most people ever will. She sees more depth and expulsion of thought than I ever understand. It is bewildering, in some ways. Strange and confusing to know that I will one day walk out of her office and that distance that we first had will somehow resume. We will become strangers, again. It sounds strangely romantic, doesn't it? That if I hadn't slotted in that word--that ugly, stigmatic word: counselling--an understanding of this "intimacy" would connote another attachment--an entirely different connection. There is no resolution to me explaining this--not really. It is just an observation of this strangely disorientating process.
And as a process, it is halting. In July I felt a bigger kind of shift. A bigger, easier stretch where the patches of light reached, and the roots uplifted themselves--they grew. Now there is a much greater frustration. A kind of expectation that has been left to fall and really, it has crashed. But Joan reminds me every week that this is what the process is about. It is a kind of convolution: a rise followed by a fall. I haven't felt a rise in a while. But it will come. I know in my heart it will come--a small one, at first. It will become like an opened door that is left ajar, just a crack. And if I didn't believe this--and if I didn't want to welcome this with widely opened arms--I would not go every week. I would not filter up the labyrinthine steps or into the green-housed glass of an office Joan rents. I would not open my mouth to speak or accept tissues or leave, swallowing a breath.
So--and this is just to let you know--I'm ready for that gap. Ready to squint my eyes through the crack of the door and search some more. Ready to see what that little light illuminates, again.