“What do you want to talk about today?” she said, waiting for me to take up the conversation. This is the question she asks every week when I hesitate. And sometimes I do still hesitate. Even though she has been my therapist for nearly 5 years. Even though I talk to her every week. Even though she is the most consistent part of the bringing my old life with my new life when I moved to Berlin. I still hesitate from time to time.
“I talked to my mom last weekend,” I finally say in a mad rush of words. Her surprise apparent. I know she was not expecting that…but hell…neither was I.
As I unpacked the very heavy phone call I’d had with my mother the previous week, Ali and I worked through the pieces. The feelings of grief at the final loss of that relationship. The feelings of pride for saying exactly what I needed to say and asking the questions I wanted answers to. The frustration of more dead ends when my mother refused to acknowledge my hurt and loss over the past few years. And the peace…the blessed god damn peace…that comes with not feeling any need to pursue and chase this woman anymore for all my (or her) living days.
“How do you feel?” she asked.
“I feel all the things all at the same time. And as usual that means I feel nothing at all,” I replied.
And that is where we sat. She and I. Trying to sort out why my brain goes to numb and quiet places every time feelings get overwhelming. Why do I retreat inside myself when faced with another’s coldness. Why does my mind go all white space and blank canvasses when I have to describe how I FEEL about something instead of what I THINK.
We are products of so many things. All the pieces of ourselves picked up and put back and carried and left behind along the way. The wounds and joys and heartbreak and beauty. All of it is woven intricately into our minds and onto our hearts. And what happens along the way is we become this masterpiece of artwork. With stitches and threads going in all sorts of directions. Some are mistakes and we choose not to fix them. Others we fuss at for decades until the thread is bare and must be left to dangle.
I don’t live with much guilt or regret. I try to have all the conversations I need to have while there is daylight to have them. And when there is no conversation to be had or it will be without conclusion, I tie a knot in the thread and change colors.
I am in a knot tying season. With my mother. With a relationship. With old habits. With other parts of my life. Tying off the threads and picking up a new color is filled with grief, longing, excitement and anticipation.