Everyone has a place where they fit. At work, with friends, in a family. We all have them.
I have a place with T. Her sofa, same place, same time, same day. It’s been mine for what feels like forever. She has her place with me too. She sits in her chair, I sit on her sofa, and together we are in our places.
A number of months ago, I willingly relinquished my place on her sofa and in her life for that hour. I wanted to drop sessions and start to feel like my life had a little more space in it. We had been speaking in between but for a few months it’s been lovely to have more space in my normal, adult life by giving up my place.
My mood has dropped since Halloween and with it has come a need to be more clingy to T. Inevitably when I’m like this, I lose stability and with that has come a need to see her more frequently again. The first time I asked, she couldn’t fit me in but she made sure she saw me the week after. When we met, we agreed on a more frequent pattern until Christmas. T reminded me that this wasn’t a failure and it doesn’t mean we won’t go back to monthly when I’m ready.
But this week brought immense anger at the person in my place. It’s NOT mine but to L it feels like they’ve stolen something from her. They’ve taken T’s therapy place and they’ve taken my place with T. When ‘my’ time came round this week I found myself sat sobbing my heart out. I texted T:
“It physically hurts L that someone else has ‘her’ time with you. She’s totally evil. I hate her. She hates whoever gets you and thinks they’re evil. Too much hating. Everyone is mad cross. Grrrrrrrrr. I know you can’t fix it but at least I’ve said it out loud. I’m sorry. X”
Then I sobbed some more because, of course, T didn’t reply because she had someone else in my place.
This is bigger than therapy schedules. T has always been clear that if I need to come back she will find me a place with her. It might not be instant but it will happen. It’s bigger than that.
T has her invite to my wedding. I invited her, knowing that she would be unable to attend because I am getting married hundreds of miles away. We’ve talked many times before about how she would come to the ceremony – this is obviously impractical when travelling so far. I still invited her because, in my heart, she has a place in my wedding that nobody else can truly fill. The day will still be beautiful and of course I will be surrounded by many people who hold immensely important places in my life, people who I love and who love me. But I know that T won’t be there and that’s totally heartbreaking. At the moment, without her official rsvp, I’m still dreaming of her being there. I know that there is a moment coming up when I am going to have to face that I’m getting married and she isn’t going to be there.
With that comes grief and anger and unfairness. This wedding, or more specifically the love that means we are getting married, has only happened because of how she’s ‘raised’ me into an adult capable of accepting and giving love. Everybody else invited has also played their part of course (and I’m conscious that I don’t want this blog post to sound like I’m ungrateful about the guests who are coming!) but T has been there through the roughest, toughest times. At times, she was the only anchor in my rough seas and even now when I have so many more anchors, they feel like they’ve been possible because of her.
It comes back to the places we fit. T has her place within my heart – she has her place within my wedding. She will have her place when I have children, she will have her place forever. But she isn’t going to be able to be in some of those places and I think that is what is fueling this anger about somebody in my space. It’s a desperate attempt to hold on to a place where I know we can be together and it feels safe and warm and allowed.
It feels unfair. T isn’t going to be half as upset about not being at my wedding as I am. She isn’t going to feel like something is missing on the day. She has already done her daughter’s wedding, she’s been in that place for her. Of course. That’s family, I’m not. It feels totally agonising. I know she’s not going to be in the place I need her to be.
For now, I wait. I know it’s going to be agonising.
There is no neat end to this. Sorry.