I am working on finding my place in the world of therapy. I don't really know what that means yet. Like, when do I know when I find my place in it? Will there be a moment of recognition? Will I look different when I do? Will I wake up one morning and just start calling myself Therapy Man?
> Hello, I'm Therapy Man.
> I said I'm Therapy Man.
> You know, proudly and semi-confidently one who is in therapy?
> Oh, yeah. Me too I guess.
> So you're also Therapy Man?!
> Uh. Okay. Yes, Therapy Man.
The other day I unearthed a memory I forgot I had. I was 10 years old or so. My little brother and I found a stray kitten hanging around on the deck just outside our living room. So we brought the kitten inside. It was cute, seemingly lost. No tags, fur matted together in stalagmite spears of grime and neglect. The only reasonable, human response was to provide whatever care we could muster.
But my father found out and made us shoo the kitten outside, back into the stray, scary world.
My father is allergic to cats. When he blew his nose, and he did this as violently as he did everything else, I always thought he was calling my name. Nooooonnnnneeeeee.
The kitten was oblivious to the world of my father though. So its miniature paws found their way back onto the deck ten minutes later. We brought it back inside.
I'm flummoxed by this as I look back upon it. I can't figure out why we'd make that decision, but I suppose I have the benefit of experience and age and decades of stories highlighting his wrath and vengeance and rage-filled way he used to bite his lower lip. At 10, my powers of observation and critical thinking were less adept. I hadn't figured out what a life should be like with him in it. The right, the wrong, the appropriate levels of making your kids afraid of you.
When he discovered that we had brought the kitten back inside the house, he was enraged. But what happened next still surprises me to this day:
My father grabbed the kitten by the scruff of its neck, walked all the way upstairs, through the kitchen, out onto the balcony, and heaved the kitten a hundred yards into the air. I'll never forget the way it tumbled.
So, as I said, I am working on finding my place in therapy. I'm trying at least.