I sit back and fidget with a piece of string that is hanging off the arm of the slightly uncomfortable yet slightly comforting chair. Anything to avoid that stare. God, can’t she look somewhere else just for one second?
What the hell am I doing? This isn’t me? What am I doing here?
I squeeze my eyes shut for a second, maybe I can just will it all away. I open them… nope that same ugly green chair still sits in front of me with that same ugly damn fray.
“I don’t think I can do this?”
“Why not?” What the hell is with that voice? I feel like she was about to dissect me, spread me out on some stainless steel table and start running a scalpel through my naked skin. I can’t hide the shiver that runs up my spine.
My hand, apparently bored with the string, moves away from the arm of the chair and starts nervously combing itself through my hair. Funnily enough, my eyes still stare down at the fray as if it were the most interesting thing in the world.
“I don’t even know you.”
“Isn’t that the point.” I cringe as the statement of fact, rather than a question, hits me. Man I hate it when other people are right. Especially when I already know the right answer, I just don’t want to hear it. Can’t she just nod her head and say ‘ok’ and let me bow out peacefully. No harm, no foul. Christ, I’m the one that set this up, shouldn’t I be able to end it too. But right now she is making me feel like a dumbass for even thinking it.
I suddenly feel uncomfortable leaning back against the chair. The position is too comfortable, too relaxed. My body jerks itself up, I place my elbows on my knees with both hands now running through the hair on top of my head. My gaze finally shifts from the boring ass fray on the chair to my boring ass shoes. I really need to get new ones, they are almost as frayed as the damn chair. Fitting, I guess. I close my eyes and let out a sigh. How the hell did I get here? Me of all people? I’m the last person anyone thought they would see in a place like this. Fuck. I’d like to think this all started when I moved to Boston. That finite answer was very appealing, but who was I kidding, this had been bouncing around the back of my head for awhile now. Boston only brought it to the forefront. Nothing like some good repression to bring out the best in people.
I let out a little laugh. And to think I thought I was moving to some place if not more, than at least just as liberal as Seattle. Boy was I wrong. Sure Mass was one of the first states to allow gays to marry and the first to try and implement universal health care, but the longer I live here the more I begin to understand these things are more like a big fuck you to the country’s status quo. People in Mass are not embracing their inner gaydom or their tired, their weak, and their poor, they just don’t like to be told what to do. It is hard to shake off the centuries of Puritan ethics or the century of Catholic morals that run down the center of the city like the Charles.
It probably also doesn’t help that I chose a profession that is very rigid in its gender roles. I mean, come on, how many librarians do you see crossdressing? Yeah, I’ve met my share of freaky librarians, but if you want to make the money you need to be a part of the prestige. You need to be professional. You need to be business casual. A woman needs to be feminine. Sure, I could pull it off for a little while, but after a few months I could feel my skin itch every time I put on one of those damn dress shirts. I tried to mix it up with some new more manly dress pants, but they were still too god damn girly for me.
My eyes begin to wander across the floor until they hit the dark heels and the nyloned legs of the doctor. Jesus, I wouldn’t be caught dead in something like that, and if for some miracle I were, I would probably kill myself trying to walk normal. How the hell do they do that? Can people actually walk in those? At least I can be thankful I don’t have to look like that everyday – or ever.
“What do you see when you look at me?” My eyes begin the wandering trek back to my Sketchers. The doctor doesn’t even wait a beat to answer.
“What do you see when you look at yourself?” Christ, she is going to be one of those. I should probably resign myself now to never getting a straight answer out of her. Man, I suddenly feel like I am in an episode of the Sopranos. I suppose to some my problem was just as sinful and shocking as being a cold blooded murdering mob boss. Although, I’m sure my HBO TV series wouldn’t be as exciting. Damn, that was a good show, too bad it had to come to an end. Shit, what were we talking about? Oh yeah, me.
“What do you mean by “look” at myself?” Ha, two can play at this game. Hell, I used to practice this game with my sister. Thank you Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead. I wish I could see the play sometime.
“Ok, let’s say I mean, what do you see when you look in the mirror.” I can’t repress the smile on my face: point – no statements. My smile turns into a scowl. Shit, I really don’t like this question, talk about getting straight to the point. Although, it is my own fault, I opened the door. Damn, she’s good. My eyes move to my hands which are now sticking out over the floor. I take in the small size. The long, thin, delicate fingers. The long pink cuticles. The soft skin. Jesus, it looks like I haven’t done a day of work in my life. They look like the hands of some pampered fucking aristocrat. My hands clench into fists and scurry to the protection of my body, hiding themselves from my eyes. My gaze drops back to my Sketchers.
“Not what I expect.” Maybe if I say it quietly enough, she won’t hear and won’t push me. Ha, right, she isn’t going to let this one go. Wait for it…..
“And what do you expect?” Her voice is too damn calm, almost apathetic. I give her something this juicy and she acts like I just stated the sky was blue. Doesn’t she know this is a big fucking deal? I can count on one finger how many people I’ve talked to about this. Jesus, have a heart lady. Bored and cramped, my hands creep out from their hiding place and start in again with the playing with the hair. Why the hell is one hand bouncing around so much? Is it seizuring? Oh, no, just my leg starting the bouncing thing. Thanks dad, I always wanted a nervous twitch. Jez, can I be any more fucking transparent? I will my leg to stop tapping out the beat to some Jungle music on crack, only to realize my fingers pick it up without missing a beat. Damn it.
“Something….Something a little less wussie. Something that doesn’t look like it could be snapped in half by a midget. Something bigger, something stronger. My body doesn’t seem to match up with what’s happening in here.” I give myself a tap on the temple. Should I tell her what’s going on in here was something that swore like a sailor, something that was as cocky as a new fighter pilot, something that was as rawly masculine as Bruce Willis in all those damn Die Hard movies? Probably not, she wouldn’t believe me if I did, just like everyone else. People just can’t see how something like that could live in a little feminine body like mine. And even those who know my stubbornness, my cockiness, who have suffered the sharp bite of my anger, merely laugh at the cute little upstart, which only pisses me off even more. Man, do I have a Napoleon complex or what? I’m sure if I had a dick it would be small, and if I had a truck it would be the biggest damn thing I could get my hands on. Jesus, I’m pathetic.
“And what’s happening in there?” I shake my head. Nope, not gonna go there.
“You wouldn’t believe me if I told you. And it sounds really stupid when I say it out loud.” Penis envy, I know that’s what she’s thinking, or at least would be thinking if I told her. No fucking way. I am not one of those dikes that pretend to be something they’re not, fuck it, I’m not even a dike. Damn it, now both my leg and fingers are tapping out some kind of Morse code – get me the fuck out of here.
“You know, I’m not here to judge you, I’m only here to help.” My jaw clenches while my body tenses. Jesus, and I thought the calm apathetic voice was bad. Now she’s fucking talking to me like I’m some damn bird with a broken wing. It never fucking fails, in the end they always see me as some frail little girl. You can’t really deny what you see, or what you hear. For fuck sake, I might as well have batted my eyes and blushed with that stupid ‘it sounds stupid when I say it out loud’ shit. Always the fucking performer, gotta give them what they expect.
“Let’s talk about something else.” I hiss out between clenched teeth and looking her straight in the eye for a second then bringing my gaze back down to my Sketchers. Deep breaths, deep fucking breaths. Getting in her face will accomplish nothing except prove you’re an ass, an insecure ass. After a moment of silence the doctor finally cuts her losses.
“Ok then, lets go back to when you said you wish you were stronger.” Thank god the calm voice returns. “Have you done anything to improve how your body feels and looks?” This is a little bit safer, but not by much.
“I used to do boxing, I liked it a lot.” Until I noticed the condescending smirks on the faces of my trainers when we sparred. I knew exactly what they were thinking: doesn’t she have spunk and isn’t she cute when she grits her teeth when she punches. Fuckers. But I did like the fact that when I walked down the street, I knew I could probably beat the shit out of most of the fuckers who passed me. That, that was cool. I glance down at my hands. Shit, except I’d probably break every bone in my little wussie hands. No amount of muscle building could change that.
“Why did you stop?” What are my lines again? Oh yeah…
“Didn’t have the money, didn’t have the time.” Blah, blah, blah.
“How about how your body looks, have you played around with different styles?” You mean like cutting my hair short, wearing men’s clothes, wearing wifebeaters and baseball hats? Yeah been there done that and all I accomplished is at best looking like a 13 year old boy at worst looking like a poser penis envy dike. No thank you. Nothing like wearing men’s clothes to point out how truly feminine and small your body really is. And these fucking boobs they never stop growing. Nowadays, even when wearing a tight sports bra, I couldn’t pass as a 13 year old boy. No, its all dike poser from here on out, lucky fucking me.
“Yeah, I messed around a lot throughout the years, nothing really appealing though.” As an awkward silence drones on my fingers suddenly find an interest in the seam of my jeans. As I watch my fingers move around, I can hear the ticking of the doctor’s clock on the wall behind her. I am sure she is waiting for me to speak next, but I’ve had about enough of the whole damn thing for one day.
“Well, I think that’s about it for our time today.” Thank fucking Christ. Boy was this a bad idea. “I would be more than happy to set up another appointment the same time next week.” Fuck that. “Or… you could give me a call and let me know later if you would like to continue.” Yeah sure lady. As I stand up, I shoot a quick glance over to her.
“Yeah, why don’t I call you.” Jesus, it feels like we are finally putting an end to a very bad fucking date, except only one of the parties involved thinks that it has been torture. At least I don’t have to grapple with the whole kissing thing. Thank God. As I turn to go, I hear her walk to her desk and rustle around some papers.
“Here’s my card. Please don’t hesitate to call if you feel you need to talk some more. I hope I do hear from you again.” Great it’s confirmed, I’m a fucking nut and the doctor here knows it. Who am I kidding, I already knew that. I take the card she offers, stuff it in my back pocket where I hope it will find its way into the washing machine and dissolve into nothingness, say a quick thank you and leave.
As I walk out of her office and down the hall to the elevators, I let out a deep breath like I have been holding it the entire session. Jesus do I feel tired, drained more like it. She did put me up on one of those stainless steel tables and cut me open right there infront of her, draining me of all my fucking energy like she was draining the blood out of me. Yeah right, not going back there again anytime soon. Fuck that.