We are not interesting

I am not a morning person. Not. A. Morning. Person. I hate being assaulted by anything more challenging than opening the little packet of Equal in my coffee. Wifey knows by now to not say good morning for thirty minutes after I wake up unless she’s going to lay me.

So this morning as I sit with those first precious drops of caffeine winding their way to my heart I open the evening’s mail from my clients. I am a mental health worker for animals so I have a very close relationship with my people.

Imagine my surprise (if anybody remembers Holly Near) to read of a fascination with the fact that I am a lesbian. Somehow I’ve been transformed from a person who explains her behavior with her dog and how it impacts him to freak out into an object of tremendous personal virtue.

In my job I play therapist. I find out everything I can about my clients, how they live what they do. I find out how they approach their lives what is important to them. Most importantly I discern their moment-to-moment emotional states. I have to do this in order to figure out how they relate to their animals. Which tells me how their animals react to them. It is exhausting work at times but hugely rewarding when I can gain real mental well-being for these pets.

Anyway. Clients very rarely show any interest in me personally which is the way it’s gotta be. They are tense and emotional when I first see them. The more honest and open they are with me the better job I can do for them. As I sift thru their self-perceptions there’s just no room for them to consider me.

So. How pisswd off am I that this woman who has poured out her heart to me Has such little regard for me personally that she thinks it’s her right to stuff me into a box of You People? That I am somehow a completely different person. A Thing? An Other?

It’s the Gilded Cage of lesbian chic. It matters not that the separated box she’s tossed me into has some positive/interesting/fascinating characteristics. A box is a box. You People is You People.

Anybody who has hears of Jerry Seinfeld knows this one…Not that there’s anything wrong with that! No indeed. There’s nothing wrong with being gay. Or being straight bi queer Rhodesian or Polish. The entire point is that I am not an Other.

I am me. I am a pushing-fifty woman who has been in a Monogamous relationship with a wonderful partner. I have three of the world’s dumbest cats. I drive a beat-up 1998 Honda Civic named Sally. About the most interesting thing about me personally is that I live in a haunted house and I’m an Impressionist painter, not a popular style these days.

I came out in 1976 when I was 16 years old. Things have changed alot since I was marching in a tiny parade in Chicago’s Boystown, our gay ghetto. I used to be cursed when I’d hold my girlfriend’s hands walking down the street.

It makes no difference that I am being discriminated against in a “good” way. A box is a box is a box. If you want to know if I am a good person or a bad one then look at me as just that. Just an uninteresting woman who has a gift for helping animals.

EDIT: The talk.

So on next meeting this client I felt compelled to have the Boundary Talk. You know, the one where the therapist tells you to back off, that yours is a special, unique relationship? That she is all about listening to you, that she what she’s about isn’t what it’s about, that it’s about you the client and what YOUR needs are?

Yes, I had to have that talk coming from the other side of the couch. Had heard it so many times from my early therapy days it just flew off my tongue. She was appalled. Not a surprise. I had been working with her on meditation skills to cut her anxiety so her dog would stop being anxious. She confessed at this point that when she did so she thought of me. Not in any sexual way she says I Don’t Go That Way ( why do straight women always think we want to Go Thag Way with them???? Irritating) . I let her go on for another minute or two when I suddenly realized that she was describing transference. Oh No! Not the “T” word!

So. Hum. Told her that I appreciated her concern for me but that it wasn’t necessary. Trying to give her an out she didn’t get. Told her hen that while she and I talk about her anxieties alot of the time that my real focus is on her dog.

I know, I know. Totally the chicken’s way out. But it got me outta there with wverybody’s dignity intact and so. Let’s just hope she transfers her latent homosexual crud onto somebody else. Man, what a job!

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