i have been paying a therapist. i have been paying a therapist since the beginning of september, after months of crushing anxiety and panic attacks left me unable to do much more than eat buttered toast and sit at my desk at work and cry.
he is very good, this therapist. his office smells like expensive coffee and he keeps a little rainbow flag on a little plastic flagpole next to the telephone. we talk about lots of things: what i did, what happened afterward, why i often feel like i am watching my life go by from the wrong side of the glass. i tell him that i feel like i have spent my entire adult life watching other people grow up and move on and leave me behind, and i am tired of this feeling.
he is a very kind person, this therapist. he passes me tissue and tells me to stop carrying 200% of the blame for the thing that i did.
ok, i say.
we do not talk about anything to do with rainbow flags.
because (i think) it doesn’t matter, that i am here to get help with universal problems, like fear and self-doubt and anger and jealousy and self-destructive habits. and my particular spiritual emergency, that invisible disaster that has been quietly throwing on the lights and the sirens every day for years, that trainwreck of shame and fear of disappointing people (and god) or of being pushed out of the church, or of staying in the church but not knowing why; of meeting someone and falling in love and then having to tell my parents; of never meeting anyone; of feeling used up with a life wasted;
at my last session he asked me how i thought it was going, if therapy was helping me, if after three months i felt better.
on a scale of 1-10, i asked, with like, 1 being that point where i can’t stop crying?
sure, he said.
maybe a 7? i said.
i had coffee with my (new) pastor a few weeks ago. we talked about why i have decided to wear myself out splitting myself between two churches. we talked about teen youth group experiences and how much we both love interview podcasts. i was so nervous i accidentally spilled tea all over the table. right before i left he gave me a hug.
when i got home i sent him an email. ps. i wrote. i am gay.