I stared at the door to the meeting hall. Normally I would head right in with the fake smile I give when I tell my dates I’ll call them. This time, I could barely move. My mind was reeling and my self-worth seemed to be crashing into the pile of fake horse shit I let build. I could have easily sped off and never looked back; driving into the abyss I had surrounded myself with in comfort over the years. Instead I took a deep breath and I forced myself from the self-contained comfort of my car & made my way into the meeting hall.
The lights shined bright, making the lingering hangover pound between my temples. I walked past the coffee table and sank deep into a folding chair. I looked across the room, my Wednesday sat softly talking to the person next to her. They looked comfortable, like best friends, like she was happy. I, on the other hand, looked like I had been hit by a bus. I pulled my hood up in an attempt at being incognito. I didn’t want her to notice me staring at her if she even turned to look in my direction for just a second. The moments before the group session started felt like the longest minutes of my life. There was an uncanny abundance of whispers that had stopped when I walked into the room. My personal business seemed to be dauntingly the topic. Sitting alone, glancing from face to face, I could see the eyes of everyone in the room bounce off of me like a game of pong.
With relief our leader took center stage and the meeting started. Before she could even finish asking for volunteers I raised my hand and said “I’ll go”. My heart was pounding as everyone turned to stare at me. I could hear their soft grumbles, I wasn’t liked by the context of chatter that rang throughout the room.
“Ok Vivian, the floor is yours.”
I looked up to see my Wednesday staring at me. Her face contorted into a sour patch glare. Our past history was just that, in the past. While it hurt, she made me realize a lot about myself, but to get back with her, to mend parts of myself for someone else wasn’t a part of the game I was going to play.
Standing, I took a deep breath and pulled my hood down. Staring straight at her cowering grin I straightened myself up, a boost of confidence in my stature even if it was fake was enough to give me courage to keep talking.
“As most of you know, I normally talk about myself in a way that lets me avoid my emotions. You know about my sheer hate for all things sports, my boss, the last person I fucked, but mostly you don’t know the real me. No one knows the real me, not even myself these days. I once let someone into my life, the darkest parts I had hidden out of fear in an attempt to let someone into knowing who I was. I felt confident and courageous letting them in, as if the pain couldn’t hurt me anymore. Instead of encouragement from this person about letting them in, I was told to never speak of those moments again. Until this person, I had given up on the concept of loving again. To carry those words around, to carry this hurt around is like a full time job. I’m confused, lonely and scared majority of the time. How do I let someone in, if I can’t let them past the second layer of the onion that is me? I know that they say I shouldn’t listen to the things past exes have said, but when you trust that person, when you trust everything about them, these things stick like glitter to a stripper.
Recently, I started to have feelings. I didn’t know what they were because I had pushed them off for so long. They scared me, they agitated me, they made me repulsive to someone who I really wanted to know more about. I made many mistakes, painful ones. I can’t open up to you or anyone when I can’t fully digest everything that’s happened. This person has likely called me names, made fun of me, been angrier than God, or truly doesn’t care; either way, I’m not ready to open up, but I’m ready to start trying.”
I sunk into my chair, pulled my hood up and waited for the eyes of my Wednesday to burn holes into my skull until our break.
“What the fuck was that?” I heard as I reached for the creamer at the coffee table.
“Excuse me?” I said dousing my coffee until it turned into a baby poop brown.
“You embarrassed me. You told them how horrible of a person I was.”
“They are all going to think that I’m this horrible bitch because you can’t express your fucking feelings.”
I stared at her once porcelain skin turn bright red. Her eyes were flaming and she shook with anger. This was the exact same look I watched walk out of my life just weeks before.
“I just told a room full of people one of my darkest secrets and you come over here to tell me I’m wrong. To tell me that me hiding my secrets is the right thing to do if it involves you?”
“Yes… No… well…”
And just like that, I couldn’t do this group thing anymore. I left my coffee on the table, grabbed my purse and walked out. Wednesday is no longer my Wednesday, but worst of all I now have to face my therapist one on one next Thursday.