A Conversation With My Therapist 2

“Can you tell me anything about why you can’t leave the house on your own?” she asked.

“No, not really,” I said.

“Nothing at all?”

“Well, I don’t know what you mean,” I said, “What happens to me?  When it started? What caused it?”

She paused for a moment, weighing up the options, “Let’s start with what caused it?”

I looked around the room. Municipal grey, furniture by Staples and the desperation of artificial flowers, faded and dusty, attempting to soften the clinical air. Depressing.

“I don’t know. I honestly have no idea.”

“Really?”

She didn’t seem convinced.

“No,” I said, “I can’t think of a single event where my response was to never leave the house again…”

“But…?”

“Well…,” I sighed and said, “I just remember my world getting narrower.”

“Narrower? What do you mean?”

“It’s difficult to… let me…”

I floundered, trying to articulate something I didn’t really have words for.

“Take your time,” she cooed; a voice that was meant to soothe, but instead, put me on edge.

“Okay,” I paused and took some deep breathes, “It’s just… I wasn’t always like this.”

“Like what?”

“This,” I snapped, “Trapped. Locked indoors. Scared of my own shadow. I used to be…”

I paused again, swallowing by my anger at this ridiculous situation.

“Once I left the family home,” I said. “I was pretty much a force of nature. I had my finger in every pie and, it appears, used every cliché I could find. I sang, acted, danced, wrote, did street theatre and ‘legitimate’ theatre, I was in god knows how many bands. When I wasn’t doing all that, I was out clubbing or gigging. I never stopped”

“That must have been exhausting.”

“I don’t remember exhaustion and I didn’t know the meaning of ‘relaxation.’ I never really understood why people had to stop.  I had so much energy and verve.”

“What happened?”

“Dunno,” I said, “but I spotted something that … I had this idea that what I was doing was…um…”

“Self-centred?”

“No. Well, yes. Sort of… I mean, it’s all stuff that put me front and centre…”

“But?”

“I was never comfortable with it,” I said, shuffling in my seat; a physical representation of my prior discomfort.

“Why did you do it, then?” she asked.

I sighed, “Because I loved it.”

Her brow furrowed, “They don’t… those two statements are…”

“Yes, I know. But that’s the thing. I loved the…” I stopped, knowing something pretentious was about to spew from my lips, “I loved the art of it. I just didn’t like the things that came with it. Acting is great, so is singing.  I loved them.  I just didn’t like the ‘fame’ of it. “

“Isn’t that what most people do it for?  The fame?”

I shrugged, “I guess, but I’m not most people.”

“This is true,” she grinned.

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