Therapy Guy is back from vacation. Now I have a safe place to cry instead of leaking all over town. He thinks I need to cry more, I think he needs to shut up.
‘Did you miss me’ he says?
I admit I did.
‘That’s progress’, he says, ‘you’d never have admitted that a year ago.’
‘Shut up’ I say. I really mean fuck you. He hates when I say fuck you, finds shut up disrespectful. How does he know me so long and not understand that shut up, fuck you, idiot, these are terms of endearment coming from me? I’m still there, still engaging. It’s playful, affectionate even. My aunt used to call her three boys her “shitheads”. If he doesn’t want to hear shut up or fuck you he really should keep his fingers outta my brainpan.
I get the fuck you finger from the boy in the crosswalk when I’m driving. Fuck you from the man on the subway when I ask ‘Would you slide over a little?’ ‘Fuck you’, he says, ‘I built this country for people like you’, he says. Wait, what? You built it but you won’t move your ass over six inches so I can sit down? Fuck me? Fuck you, I think at him.
So many chips on so many shoulders, some of them mine, apparently.
My friend Lyle used to say we’re hard-hearted and thin-skinned, but what we needed were softer hearts and thicker skins. I was hard-hearted to survive, I’ve become too tenderhearted for such a thin skin. I need to hide behind that thicker hide.
I also need less concrete around me and less garbage. There are too many people here. Too many angry people. Too many tailgaters, Fuck youers, two-seat-on-the-subway-taking angry people.
I used to fantasize about shaving my head and moving to a remote village on the cliffs in Italy. A small house with no electricity, I’d take the long walk to town daily for fresh fruits & vegetables. I don’t speak Italian. No one can say anything to me, nothing to hurt me, nothing tender to frighten me (because it does, tender scares the beejesus out of me). This was the safe place I went in my head when it got too noisy inside or out. Sweet Italian silence, the ocean & fresh fruit.
Reality check. I live in Queens, in a neighborhood that is almost exclusively South American. I don’t speak South American. I go to market daily to buy fresh fruits & vegetables. And there is no one here I can talk to. No one can say anything to me that I would understand. I’m living my fantasy but instead of being comforting, it’s lonely. Instead of feeling safe, I feel isolated and angry.
I need that thicker skin, a safe place to cry, but mostly, I need a new fantasy.