Wednesday, 14 March 2012
A group of girls meet at a typical cool, Madrid café/bar. One of the women is urged to recount her latest escapades with her shrink. She begins with an extravagant swinging of her legs wide open and explains that in their last session, her shrink (also a woman) instructed her (the patient) to approach for a full body, maternal embrace. The shrink had opened her legs (as the patient reenacted for us) and arms to make space for the patient to snuggle up and receive good, maternal vibes.
The group of girls, including the patient and including me, laughed at the awkward discomfort the patient must have felt at that moment of forced consolation.
My shrink has been trying to get me to make some kind of primal noises. There is a padded room next to her office. The floor is wall to wall mattresses and is littered with throw pillows and children's dolls. It is a colourful place full of blues and reds and yellows and greens. There is a sliding metal door on the other side of the main door. It seems a tarted-up loony bin.
This is the room where the shrinks in the centre bring their subjects to make disturbing noises. My shrink tried to get me into this room two weeks ago. "No, no. I'm not really ready for that." I stammered. I have tried to give the impression of being a cerebral client; that I don't go in for the primal screaming type of thing. She accepted my rejection with grace. This week, after I had said something about something, she fixed me with a compassionate stare and asked, "how did that make you feel? ... why? ... maybe you need to give that feeling a place of its own. Are you ready to go next door?"
I wonder how many patients go into that room (go into this type of 'treatment') purely out of shrink-pressure.
I am happing talking until I am blue in the face, but please don't try to make me grunt or moan or quiver; I'm just fine with my own language (or Spanish). I say in my head, whilst I'm lead next door.
After I huff and puff for a couple of minutes and bang my fists half-heartedly against the mattresses (again at the shrink's request), I stop the banging to cry.
"I don't wwww www wannntt to do this."
The shrink opens her legs and arms and beckons me into a maternal hug.
As I sit there with my mascara running onto my shrink's pretty autumnally-orange coloured sweater, I think, "What kind of person wants to do this job? Maybe a lesbian, but she's no lesbian. What of the patients whom she doesn't like? Can you give this kind of hug to someone you don't like? You can't like everyone .. surely you will have a patient you think is a twat .. are you going to invite them to whimper all over your nice blouse?"
Friday, 9 March 2012
I know what it is: loneliness.
Thoughtfully, I tell myself that I am no more alone than I have ever been.
We are born alone; we die alone; yadda yadda yadda.
Still, I feel alone and empty, yet full of static, dead tree-trunk weight.
The D word came up. Not divorce. I won't allow myself to think about that.
It was suggested that I need to go out on dates. That we need to go out on dates. This suggestion came out of a 48 hour session of tears and deep breaths and blubbering and other symptoms of a marathon emotional crisis. The suggestion did little to help solve the crisis.
When he suggested it, my thoughts were sarcastic. Yeah. Right. Who the fuck would I go out on a date with anyway? Where do you meet people to go on dates? I don't particularly relish participating in any kind of commonly-assumed dating-type of related activity. I'm too old for this shit.
After the d'ing conversation, I go on a business trip. There is a work related conference. Suddenly I realise I am peeking at the hands of all the men I meet. I am looking for wedding bands. As if this means anything, anyway. My Man never wore one; whereas plenty of men who do, play the field. I can't help myself though; it's part of putting things (these men) into context.
I don't want to date any of them; still, I scope them out for potential availability.
I am still wrecked with exhaustion. Wrung dry from the emotional crisis in which the d word was broached. (I repeating: dating NOT divorce). I cannot bother looking at these men at the conference any more. I want to focus on work not on men as prospects. I am so very tired of everything.
I take my plate of hors d'oeuvres to a quiet spot in the back of the room where I can sit on a step and forget about chit chatting and men and the possibility of dating. I can stop - everything - networking, thinking, life; just for a few moments. Before I really begin to enjoy this moment of solitude, I sense someone approaching. A man has scoped me out. Somehow I sensed the double-take, the checking me out, the coy approach to sit not right next to - but close by - so a tactful introduction could be made.
I take a breath to sum up the energy to deal with the impending interaction.
When he does clear his throat and stretch out his hand and smile when he introduces himself, I am lured in. His features are individually wrong. His eyes are too small and squinty and his lips too full. His nose a bit bulbous, but they fit together to make a most attractive man. His smile sweeps me off my feet. We chat and laugh and chat some more -- nothing about work or this stupid conference. I forget my self-pity. As well as being charmed, I might even be charming.
We exchange business cards and go on our respective ways at the event. I text him from the crowd to tell him I enjoyed our chat. He responds: we should share another drink before the end of the night. But I only get this response after I have left the venue and have gone to bed.
The next day, I am walking through the lobby; I see him through the revolving doorway. He is putting his bag in a taxi. "Hey!" I yell. He turns and smiles. A big, seemingly*-sincere grin.
"Hi, Ellie! How funny ..." (I assume it is funny that we bump into each other here; we didn't know we were in the same hotel) "I'm off to the airport now."
"I can see that." I don't even hesitate in saying: "You were my favourite part of the conference!"
He doesn't hesitate in returning the compliment, "And you were mine."
He is all seemingly*-sincere big smiles. I want more time with this strange, oddly attractive man. Timing is all wrong. He tells me to stay in touch. He waves good-bye from the taxi.
The tree trunk has turned to butterflies. I chastise myself for letting myself get carried away by a chance encounter. I wonder if I should write him.
You texted him first. If he's really interested he'll write you.
I'm annoyed with how quickly I have joined the anguish-filled games associated with 'dating'.
*Seemingly because I suddenly don't trust my judge of character. I don't trust men. I have become a caricature of a single woman of a certain age who thinks there must be something wrong with a man if he's around my age and not married.
Posted by Ellie at 00:08