I’ve been writing take 1 of this post since I met with T1 privately, for the first time, last Wednesday. I’d been adding to it, refining it, updating as my thoughts became a little clearer. It was so neat and pretty I even considered sending the link to T1 (although she has the link to my blog, and she knows she can read it, I don’t think she does. Which hurts.) Then, when I went to edit it from ‘draft’ to ‘publish’, it vanished. And I cried. So here is a vastly edited, second-time-around, rushed version, so that I at least have some record of my thoughts before I go to T again tomorrow and forget how I felt at this moment. Technology sucks.
The preface to this rant is that meeting with T1 privately was amazing, like reminding my body that I can breathe. You know when you’re a kid, and you jump into the deep end of a swimming pool, except you sink a bit too far and as you’re struggling to swim back to the top you really think that this might actually be it — until you surface and the blanket of water restricting your face unfurls and you take that breath and wow – that feeling of being alive, the air almost takes sweet with relief. That’s what it felt like when I was sat back opposite her. A little like being alive, a little like coming home.
So I’m really trying to hold on to the importance of that feeling, because apart from the initial ‘wow’ feeling, the rest fucking sucked. I’m aware that those who know me will be screaming ‘no shit, Sherlock!’ at this point – I hate change, I hate anything different and I really hate not feeling secure or in control. It was inevitable that I was going to hate this transition.
I felt very stressed that T1 was actually real. Previously she’s been a part of my university – I’ve never even seen her outside of that one room, in that one building. So seeing her in the ‘outside’ world is really scary. It sounds ridiculous, but it made me feel more vulnerable – like now, she’s in my world, I can’t hide so much any more. I know she always has been, truthfully… But the first feeling I got was one of being out of the doll’s house and into the big wide world of the playroom. Little kind of wanted to prove T1 was real – sometimes we get these urges to touch stuff, like fabrics that look inexplicably soft, or bouncing our fingers off railings – if we’d been close enough (and didn’t think T1 would laugh us out of the room for such a suggestion), we would probably have benefitted from proving that she wasn’t just a beautiful, painful figment of our imagination. I’m worried about going back tonight, just in case she isn’t real. I had a dream last night that I knocked on the door and a stranger opened it – T1 had vanished, it hadn’t been real. I logically know she will be there tonight – but what if she’s not?
Honestly though, Little found the whole experience pretty ‘woooaah’ inducing. Her room is beautiful but very, very different from where we’ve come from. It’s much more busy – and Little was completely fascinated by reading the book spines, wondering whether T1 can play the piano that is there, wondering if the flower in the bottle is big enough for Them to place a microphone in. I was aware that, externally, I was doing a good job. I was adult, making eye contact, and talking like I was in a job interview. But Little was totally unfocused and felt very unsafe – T1 even asked me a question and, though Little answered in my head, I didn’t say the answer – we didn’t feel safe enough.
I think I know why I didn’t feel safe though. The chair layout is all wrong. She suggested where we sit, which was fine, but we were practically shouting distance from each other. Previously, we sat with a small table between us, and when I was at my most small and vulnerable, I’d sit on the floor between our chairs and by her feet. There was something incredibly comforting about being close to her – close enough that she was stood with me, facing the evils, not watching me fight the battle alone.
In this new room, though, I am on display. She is watching me, from across the room. She cannot catch me. The last few sessions we’ve been taking tiny little steps towards hand holding; now there is absolutely no chance, she’d have to walk right across the room! Now, we are separated into good, and evil. She is not sat with me, she’s observing, and I hate it. She is watching my disgrace, the disgust of me, and she is safe from it, in her corner.
Maybe that’s how it should be. So I don’t taint her.
But I feel isolated, and I don’t like it. So the challenge for this evening is to be honest… To feel less alone.