group therapy. a nice change of pace. in the most confidential way, I can tell you that we sit in the room, less than ten of us, and talk about things mundane and things not so mundane. I feel humbled when I leave the room, and I feel like I want to say so many things to the people inside the room that I don't say. like, e-, you're not even remotely fat, tell your boyfriend to fuck himself, let's get coffee some time, even though I don't drink coffee, because you seem pretty cool, in an i could be friends with you outside of group therapy type of way. it's weird though, group therapy etiquette. inside the confines of the room, in the space of eighty short minutes, we can share our deepest neurotic tendencies. outside of this room and the eighty minutes, we must forge a weird strangerdom for the sake of respecting each others' privacy. in the waiting room I have to pretend i'm not picturing the boy flipping through the sports illustrated magazine being asked for sex advice by his mom who is cheating on his dad, i'm not envisioning the girl with the green backpack ten years ago being told boys will be boys and at the same time feeling a deep need to tell her I heard the same thing once. even immediately after therapy, it's weird interacting with these people. once the threshold of the therapy room door is crossed, I don't even know how to go about holding the door for these people, I don't even know how to encounter them in the bathroom. refusing to acknowledge that we know each other is a lie, and casually acknowledging that we know each other only feels like a half-truth.
the particular day that i'm writing about was really nice from the get-go, even though I forgot to ask if anyone found the soft red and new gloves I left behind the week before. i swiveled from left to right in the teal swivel chair, and when n- said h-, can you start us off with something from your week?? I found myself talking about going home, about not having a home to go home to. I’d tried it the week before, and I’d have to do it this summer for the first time in three summers, and I was worried about this, I said. then I burst into tears for the first time in many months and said I was embarrassed because I don’t really ever cry. after that everyone acted really nice to me but I wasn’t really that sad anymore, in fact I felt pretty good, but I had to kind of act sad because I’d spontaneously cried and given the impression that I’d had a bad week. this is one thing about group therapy I dislike: sometimes if your week is just all around good, you have to unearth things that you normally don’t get hung up on just to start the group off on an introspective note. m- went on to talk about a text message that a boy she liked never replied to, and e- said her boyfriend came through her window drunk last night and vomited on her at two am, and then she had to give him a sponge bath and wash her sheets. i feel persistent hostility towards her anonymous boyfriend. we all agreed she could do better, but only after we laughed at the absurdity of the situation and then apologized for doing so. m- said she thinks she doesn’t have enough problems to be in the group, and she feels like she talks about trivial things in comparison with the rest of us. I often look at m’s bone structure and think she’s beautiful. we talk about how we’re not competing or ranking our issues, and then f- asks us why we like to come to group therapy, what do we get out of it, and how do we want people to respond to us? everyone is silent for a while and then e- says: “sometimes it’s nice if people just respond with silence, instead of trying to console you or relate the conversation back to themselves. sometimes silence is nice.” a time when I should have been silent: p- and I were laying on a mattress on the floor, his hamster making dying noises behind us, his eyes bloodshot to hell, when he mentioned his dad to me for the first time. memory: his dad had wanted to see how much tylenol a cat could consume before dying, so he administered a gradual dose, observing the signs of gradual death in p’s cat until p's cat became drowsy with death and died of an overdose.