‘You do realise, that by ignoring the issues, by closing your eyes, sticking your fingers in your ears and singing La La La! They aren’t actually going to go away right?’
‘I am not three, Irish one.’
‘I am aware of that, oh befuddled one,’ he sighs ‘And please stop referring to me as the Irish one. Doing it on your blog is one thing but in person? I feel like a piece of meat.’
‘Ok,’ I respond trying not to laugh, and attempting to craftily change the subject ‘when are we going on the London Eye? I won it for us you know, with my hard work! So when do you fancy going?’
I sigh. ‘Go on then, what do you want to discuss?’
‘Well, so tell me then, what day are you returning once again, to work?’
‘I er, I er, um, ar, Oh look!’ I shout, pointing at the television my mouth falling open aghast ‘Angeline Jolie has no clothes on!!’
And while his head swivels at the speed of light towards the odd children on Waybaloo that have clearly been dubbed but I will never understand why (Naked Angelina Jolie? Seriously Irish One? On Cbeebies?) I make a run for it in to the bathroom and switch on the shower.
It isn’t that I am not aware it isn’t going to happen I just don’t want to talk about it you know?
I am like Julia Roberts in pretty woman, not a whore, I am not a whore just to clarify here, although on some days I do wish… never mind, but I like to ‘fly by the seat of my pants.’
Some things I just don’t like to face.
I hate facing bills.
Which is why they usually only get paid when a man knocks at the door holding a spanner and asking me where the electricity meter is.
‘Why?’ I ask aghast.
‘I am here to cut you off’ he speaks solemnly in a broad Boltonion accent.
‘But why?’ I inquire again aghast ‘I deserve light.’
‘Because you haven’t paid missis, and if you don’t pay, you get to live in the dark.’
At which point, just as everything is about to be emerged in to obscurity I will reach for my debit card, face up to the fact we can’t cook Thomas the tank engine pasta shapes by candle light and make a payment.
It isn’t laziness, or irresponsibility (although I suppose it is a bit) and it isn’t because I don’t have the money, or because I am stingy and would rather spend my money on shoes than electricity (although clearly I would. I saw some lovely heels today in Topshop…)
It is because, well, it is because… I don’t know why but I blame Spain.
Yes the whole country.
I grew up over there and brilliant country that it is, the general rule for living seems to be ‘why do today what you can clearly put off until tomorrow?’ And seriously, I was brainwashed.
This excuse unfortunately didn’t wash with my therapist when I visited him last week though, and when I pointed out of the window and screamed that Jennifer Aniston had just turned up butt naked and waving a cucumber about, he didn’t even flinch. (Damn it, he is gay, I KNEW I should have gone for brad Pitt.)
But it seems most people currently, want to ask me things I am not ready to answer or to think about even, and in all honesty, it is driving me insane.
‘Do you blame yourself for the last year?’
‘What do you mean?’
‘Do you regret the way things have gone since Addison was born?’
‘Yes. Do you wish you could have behaved differently?’
‘I have a feeling you are trying to trick me here.’ I respond looking towards the door.
‘I can assure you I am not, I am just trying to find out if you blame yourself?’
‘Look!! Brad Pitt with no clothes on waving a jar of hummus about!’
‘Nice try, answer the question.’
‘Why do you want to know?’ I sigh, looking everywhere but at him, anxiety creeping out as my legs becoming possessed by Michael Flatly.
‘Humour me. I’m your therapist.’ He smiles.
‘Of course I regret it,’ I say quietly looking down at my open palms staring back up at me ‘and of course I wish things could have been different, who wouldn’t in my position? I don’t remember the way I felt when I first saw my son, I don’t recall feeling love, I don’t remember huge chunks of his life, people tell me I was happy, that I was a great mum, but I don’t remember him as a tiny baby or me even, I can’t even look at photos from that time, I missed out on so much, of course I regret it. I mean, no I don’t regret it,’ I stumble as I see him latching on and about to go in for the kill ‘I just wish things could be different.’
‘Why are you crying?’
‘Oh,’ I exclaim surprised, wiping my eye ‘I didn’t realise I was.’
‘You are. Do you blame yourself?’
‘I guess I do yeah.’ I shrug ‘but who else is responsible if not me?’
‘Why does anybody need to be held responsible? Postnatal Depression is an illness, you need to grieve what could have been, that is true, but it needs to be let go of, maybe it is time to stop punishing yourself, as it is getting you nowhere.’
‘Right,’ I smile slightly ‘except it is.’
‘It is.’ He confirms nodding slightly. ‘You are right it is. How could I have missed this? It is allowing you to remain static in a nonsensical circle of self-harming and avoidance. Blaming yourself for things that are out of your control feels comfortable to you doesn’t it?’
‘That’s right.’ I laugh. (Although he is mistaken, everything is within my control. EVERYTHING!!)
‘Why are you laughing?’
‘Because if I don’t I will break.’
‘It isn’t funny Lexy. It is heartbreaking.’
I laugh almost sarcastically, annoyed. I am angry with him. Indignant. What does he know? This isn’t heartbreaking, this is life, he isn’t a mother, he doesn’t know, he has no idea of the pressure, heartbroken? I am not heartbroken I am nothing! I am a big fat sodding failure.
‘I am not heartbroken’ I spit out at him. ‘I am nothing.’
He looks deep in to my eyes, a look of shock on his face.
‘You are nothing?’
‘Nothing.’ I confirm. ‘So let’s just change the subject.’
He is silent again.
‘Who is allowed to call you worthless?’ He continues, ignoring my pleas to move on.
‘No one’ I say annoyed that he should even suggest it. I am not worthless, much.
‘Who is allowed to shout at you?’
‘Really?’ he says an amused look playing on his features ‘I don’t believe that.’
I just look at him blankly. I am not in the mood.
‘Ok,’ he tries again ‘who is allowed to call you worthless?’
‘No one!’ I almost shout ‘of course, no one!’
‘Just you then?’
‘You wouldn’t stand to be treated like this off anyone else, and I am damn sure you wouldn’t dream of inflicting this behavior on anyone else, so why is it ok to do it to yourself? Why is it ok to call yourself a failure, a nothing, a piece of shit?’
I don’t answer for a long time, defiant.
‘How can you regret something that isn’t your fault?’ he asks chin jutting out towards me breaking the atmosphere.
I look up at him solemnly from my chair in the opposite corner of the room ‘it is my fault though’ I disagree with him, ‘that is what you don’t know’ and I lean in to him, trying to make him hear. ‘I could have been different if I had tried a bit harder. Look at all those other mothers, they did it.’
‘Ah.’ He nods ‘So you chose to be this way?’
‘So then?’ he sits back in his chair, and slaps his knees lightly in exasperation.
‘But I allowed it to happen’ I shout louder than I intended to. ‘If I had been stronger, not so selfish, not an evil selfish bitch then maybe…’
‘Did you try and stop it?’
‘Yes.’ I whisper quietly, alarmed ‘of course I did.’
‘And what happened?’
‘You know what happened, can we move on?’
‘So, again, did you choose this?’ he repeats himself.
‘No. I didn’t chose it but…’
‘Would you change it if you could?’ He interrupts me.
‘In a heartbeat.’ I nod, wiping another trespassing tear. ‘Just for Addison. I would live through it a hundred times to keep him here, but it is just not fair on him, to have half a mum, he didn’t chose this did he?’ I am faintly aware of my face being wet again.
‘No and neither did you. Did you?’
‘Can you regret something that isn’t your fault?’
‘I don’t suppose you can, but you can regret not trying harder…’
He sighs, not the answer he is looking for.
I cannot let him win this point, I am not ready to.
‘Do you love your son?’
‘Yes, but not as much as I should. Not as much as all those other mum’s love their children. I see them and they look brilliant, while I am on the outskirts, failing to be…’ I trail off.
‘Can you measure it?’ He asks kindly
‘No’ I sob again ‘I can’t. I am a failure.’
After a few minutes of silence, only broken by my sniffing and trying to hold back the tears he draws the session to an end.
‘That is enough for today.’
‘Ok.’ I nod mutely, glancing at the clock, wiping my nose.
‘Before you go, I want you to think about something and next session we can talk about it. Ok?’
‘Ok.’ I say glumly about to stand up.
‘I want you to write it down.’ He directs and I immediately reach in to my bag and pull out my notebook and pen.
‘Ok’ I say pen poised.
If your child became poorly with an illness out of his control, how long would you punish him for?
And if you wouldn’t punish him for being ill, write down all the things you would do.
Write down five reasons why it is time to stop punishing yourself.
I put my book away, stand up and smile. Bastard.
There is no way I will be able to answer those questions without admitting it isn’t my fault and he knows it.
‘Bye James, see you Wednesday.’
‘Bye Lexy, and oh, one thing…’
‘What?’ I ask, turning to face him from the door.
‘You do love your son enough.’ He smiles up at me ‘you have nothing to worry about there. You aren’t a failure, not at all. And contrary to what you believe, you love him more than you will ever realise.’
My heart skips a beat.
‘How do you know?’ I ask hopefully.
‘Because every time you talk about him you cry.’
….aaaannnnnndddd this is why avoidance is probably a bit poo. (That and the fact I potentially won’t have running water in a couple of days…)
Because ever since he said that, anytime I look at Addison, I cry.
Of course I love him enough, I always have.
Maybe it is time to stop punishing myself? Ourselves?
But I am still not paying the bills, or ringing the council tax people, or even discussing my return to work…
One step at a time yeah?
‘Look! Mr Bloom with no clothes on!!’