Client C1A.84 - Session 5


(Music fades in)

To be blunt, yes, I knew parts of it were coming. It was a puzzle I pieced together, drawing from what I was seeing in my dreams and from my own understanding of how certain types of families work and all the inevitability therein. Some families focus on images, perceptions, and the smoke of certain dreams. The details change in their stories, but the path they all walk in their stupor only goes in one direction. It only leads to one place. Simple truth from simple fact. The things they pursue are hard to maintain and dissipate into the air quickly, so they pull critical resources from everything else. Like actual family cohesion. And end up paying the price.

Be honest with yourself, you knew just as well as I did that she was capable of it. And really anyone could fit into the cracks your relationship had formed. (Pause) That's true for either relationship, actually.But that’s not the point.

You feel as if you were cheated out of something. Here you were building to something, to the strength to finally shatter what was already broken, to free yourself, to take control of your life. And you think that affair of years ago negates all that you've done. Simple conclusion but that won’t work here. Do you remember someone saying that simple conclusions are seldom accurate?

I remember.

(Music fades out and new music fades in)

You've been going through the motions for years, on the verge of breaking through, but to break the shell you needed to know what was on the other side. You needed a sense of security, a confidence you never had. That much you were aware of. I mean, it was a hard thing to ignore. You had never felt secure with your family, and then he came along. From that first kiss, you knew he couldn't give you passion, but he could give you stability. You wanted that. And it helped his case that he was in awe of you from that first moment. Well he was in awe of the poetry of that first moment and of you.  Therein the problems lay.

Because poetry may evolve over time and reroot itself in new moments and days but only when it is allowed to. Only when it is given a chance to breathe in its own life and speak its truth can it find itself in new days. And that’s a nice poem in and of itself, isn’t it? But something like this could have happened to anything dwelling in any place where love and nurture fills the soil. That’s was never your situation. And then again, you couldn't be a poem or not that poem. Different styles for different tales, I guess.

And you lacked the calm serenity of the poem he thought he saw. As much as you love the fighting spirit of another, you’ve always had your own brewing inside of you. It had just all needed a reason to come out. But be careful with the attribution. I'm not that reason. I don't care how many times you've listened to that first tape, this has very little to do with me.

(Music fades out)

What? Did you think I was your salvation? It doesn't work that way.

(New music fades in)

I know what you're thinking. And that has been both problem and solution. You think you… I… we were building you up to some grandstand, and that’s all been for naught. It all fell away in the last moment. Because in the last moment, he shattered everything with the secret he presumed you knew and attributed your disconnect to. That the flowers he brought you were really for the makeshift funeral of all that could have been. That he took away your power, your agency, without meaning to, but it still happened.

However, I don't think you give yourself enough credit. Ever and especially now. Agency isn't just charging into battles. It's also not letting the winds blow you over.

With that in mind, I want us to go through what he said. Those words are actually useful. Intention aside. We just have to borrow them.

He said: One. “It was years ago.” Two, "I never meant for it to happen, and I've regretted it ever since.” Three, "She looks so much like you, and I was drunk." Four, "we were drunk." Five, "I thought it would only hurt you to tell you. After all, it didn’t mean anything to us."

And then there was her response. The gifts you know she can't afford. Her finances have been in shambles since… well I have to trust your lead on this, but didn’t you map out the beginning of her downfall to land shortly after it happened. And no one had ever taught either of you how to handle emotions like that. You know for a fact she's doing the best she ever could do as she is.

As she is, I’m tempted to stress. A poem in her own right, but one that never moved forward.

(Music fades out and new music fades in)

I know you normally listen to this on your phone, but you're not doing that today, are you? In fact, you're reluctant to pick it up. After all, you know what's there: all the messages your parents are leaving you. Sometimes angry. Sometimes quote disappointed. Everything like that. I was surprised too how many emotions live in that cluster, but here we are. You know their disgust all too well. You could recite even the message you haven’t seen verbatim, so why even bother?

They want perfection but will settle for the perception of it. And they tried to force that on you. And to a great extent, it worked. Because there was an appeal to it.

It's a blanket. You can hide yourself in it. You can wrap yourself up in it and go back to the way things were. It would have been easier to just do that. You wouldn’t have to deal with them, with your sister’s guilt, and with the surprisingly difficult task of moving him out of your once shared apartment. It would have been seen much easier, and that's what you have been taught to do. You were taught to choose an image of absolute, inhumane perfection, and you had become accustomed to going through the motions. In fact, that's what your body wanted to do. But you wouldn't.

(Music fades in and new music fades out)

You know I didn’t want this gift. We are all born into circumstances we didn’t pick. I, for one, would have made so many different choices if it were up to me, but here we are. We have challenges, we have boundaries, but we are not unarmed. We have our own powers and the ability to choose how we use them.

You did have a choice. You just didn't see it. You could have returned to the way things were, accepted his apology, or lay out terms you could half-heartedly call acceptable. You could pretend it didn’t happen. Or you could marry him and pretend everything is okay and essentially do the exact same thing your parents did. You could have done so much more than what you actually did.

But you don't agree with me. You don't see how you could. But that's not because I’m wrong. That’s because you decided that you didn't want a life that looked perfect, instead desiring one that felt perfect for you and maybe only you. You wanted happiness not the image of it. You wanted something real. And then you looked to me for a blueprint, and you somewhat still expect that. But then again I wouldn't give you even a piece or the most obvious a scrap. And still you've pushed forward. With little to no help you’ve found your way. You have to keep doing that.

I will not be your sword. No one will. And on the other hand, no one will be a prolific and non-redeemable enemy. Life is more complex. The choices harder.

Like the one about her. We both know you aren't ready. You have to pick up the pieces of your life before you can find space for her in it. And I know that's hard. I know not having her around is hard. You've wept just out of love of her, and how overwhelming it all was. That’s cute, but it’s also a reason to be cautious.

Look, I can’t tell you if you’re going to stay with her forever. I genuinely don’t know how this end. But I know you have the ability to write at least part of this story, and I hope you take responsibility seriously.

I will say this much. I don’t think she's ready either. But if you dream of a message for her, I'll deliver it.

The ending, however, will have to come later.

(Music fades out. Beep.)