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26th Aug 2015

I feel like, in the course of an hour, my insides have been slowly twisted and removed, only to be shoved in hurriedly at the end.

I feel like I have been turned upside down and shaken. Shaken until the dust rises and falls and I can’t breathe through it anymore.

I think that’s meant to be good.

“Are you feeling emotional?” she asks gently.

I could lie. Let her have the triumph. Could probably dab at my eyes a bit and do a fair imitation of being briefly overcome.

How does counselling work really? The space to talk. The silence when you run out of things to say. The embarrassment when that silence is misconstrued for emotion that you know you will never, ever feel.

I don’t do sad. I don’t do angry.

Apparently I am quite good at fear.

I excel at being happy and upbeat. If it wasn’t an act.

You learn to give the right answers. Name and shame the bad habits. You know they see through you. They know you know. You become honest despite your best efforts.

But then, in that battle for words to fill the silence comes a moment I don’t expect. I freeze and she reminds me to breathe. She jokes that she can’t see movement in my chest. Once she told me about some animals learning, from a young age, to stay frozen in times of danger. While this hovers awkwardly in my mind, she reminds me again, but louder.

I take a breath. I speak. She speaks. When I speak I look at the floor, or that space beside the files and the clock. My hands twist together. I cross my legs in a futile attempt at casual ease and confidence.

Behind the words comes a wisp, like smoke. It might be a perfume, a word, a sense of gathering dusk.

“Look at your wording there..” she says and draws me in.

“Say more about that.”

“Look at your body language.”

And I grasp at those moments because in them, there might be a clue and that clue might lead to a little shred of emotion and I will be human after all.

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