❦ Eyes Open ❦

Something that has always bothered me about myself is the difficulty I have with making eye-contact with people. I’m okay with my friends. But I struggle when I’m working with a client or even with my co-workers.

Nick is always bobbing and weaving his head to keep my gaze locked with his. Once when I was sitting across from him in his office, I wanted to see how low I could make his head go and if it would touch his desk or not, so I kept lowering my gaze. He came pretty close to bumping his chin on his desktop. Not sure how I kept my face straight (or my job!) that day. 😇

There was this other time a long time ago when I was in the hospital and my speech therapist was talking to me for what felt like hours. I’d somehow found myself in the throes of a several months long period of selective mutism. It was during that first year after I’d left home (after my adoptive dad’s second and final assault on me).

During his visits, my therapist would just take up the room with his presence and maintain these one-sided dialogues with me. He would pace. He would sit and stare at me. His determination was palpable at times. I remember he was also a bodybuilder and I’m pretty sure he is one of the people who influenced my love of physical fitness.

On this one particular day, I remember really wanting to talk to him. I was leaving in a couple weeks and I wanted so badly to have a conversation with him before I left, but I just couldn’t bring out the words somehow. I wasn’t very fond of communicating non-verbally, either.

At some point during this visit, in a moment of pure frustration and fury, I remember clenching my fists and pressing them into the wall behind me. A moment later, I slid to the floor, pulling my knees to my chest and began rocking. I was crying tears of rage, but I cannot remember why.

My therapist quietly sat down on the floor in front of me. I remember looking up and seeing him and realizing that the sun had already set. There was a dusky pall in the room and it would be dark soon.

I looked away from him very quickly, almost guiltily. He patiently searched out my gaze and when I broke it, he reached out his hand and gently tilted my chin up so that he could look at me. touching-a-womans-chinThis small move seemed to halt his one-sided conversation and we sat like that for at least a minute regarding each other.

I think he was trying so hard to break through to me, but I just could not let him or anyone else reach me. I still feel this way, to this day, most of the time..

Looking back, I can see how risky that moment was for him. The touch was made with kindness, but doctors have ethics to abide by…I never felt compromised and that moment taught me that I was worth more than what I’d previously been taught about myself (the articulation of which I will spare you, dear reader!).

Anyway, a few years ago, before Shawn, before the miscarriage, before all the bad stuff from last year happened, I had a conference in my speech therapist’s town and invited him to dinner on one of the nights I was there. He accepted, but then about an hour before we were supposed to meet up, he texted: “I can’t. I’m so sorry, K.” We haven’t spoken since then, but I got an email from him last week. He is going to be here in my town for work next week. In a reversal of roles, let’s just say that the tiny little wicked witch in me recognizes the irony here.

However, the grown up woman in me sees the value of reconnecting with someone who was instrumental in my growth during a time of severe trauma and upheaval. I’m kind of excited to see him. I was only 14, turning 15 the summer we worked together. He never did get me to talk during our time together (45 days).

But, I hope we’ll be able to talk next week. And, I hope I’ll be able to look him in the eyes this time. 🐾

91 thoughts on “❦ Eyes Open ❦

  1. you seem to have come a long way. for one of the things i appreciate about you is your ease of unabashed expression, with tasteful discretion. i know that feeling of having a timeless appreciation for those there for us in our darkest of hours. even the slightest gesture can be more than we could ever comprehend. such moments are the beauty of life. and i talk to much.

    1. It amazes me how you keyed into the one thing that meant the most to me about that whole experience. 🙂 I appreciate you. I appreciate what you stand for, the work you do for women. You instill a sense of trust that I find so rare. Thank you for your understanding and seeing things a little deeper. ❥

      1. oh,shucks, lol. i’m just lucky to have been privy to the dynamic influences from the various women throughout my lif which have granted me the tools which have allowed for unfettered observation and analysis of the blaring truths abound. i was raised by a single mother with an older sister by 20 months and later, a younger sister by 12 years who i then helped to raise. my older sister has always suffered the afflictions of which i would eventually come to understand as resulting from having been abused as a child. i am uber-protective of them and of course, all women. i have witnessed the incessant and psychotic indifference that inhabits the minds of misogynists as they have sought to exploit practically every woman i have ever known over the years. i take these issues very seriously. in truth, i am something of a misandrist lol. i talk too much.

  2. You’re not alone in that JM. I have a hard time looking directly at people whether it’s family or friends or others in general. Hang in there. Love you. Hugs!

      1. but of course, my queen.

        sorry. no. that’s a lie. not sorry. I’m going for the full belly laugh this time. let me know how that turned out for me. 😋

      2. Haha! Oh, dear! Yep. You’ve been spending time with Evan. I told you he was a trip, huh? I can only take his blog in small doses. I swear, I get an entire ab workout just from laughing so hard!

        I c wut u did der, too, smarty jones. ;o)

  3. Good morning, missy. Did you finally sleep this a.m? 🙂

    I like your shares. I know how hard it is to pull out the old memory file and let it out. But keep up the great work. You can’t be wrong. And on the other, don’t worry about those walls. Sometimes people just have to throw them up because of the stuff, the baggage they have. Don’t take it personally is my motto. You are an extremely sensitive soul and you tend to absorb others energy. Just sit tight and wait it out. Sending you hugs for now. Get some rest tonight. This schedule is wearing you down. Love you, sis. ❤️

    1. Gah. The walls are the worst sometimes. I never see them coming and it throws me off balance. I’m almost ready to throw in that proverbial towel and write it off, you know?

      Anyway, I appreciate your support. Sorry I can’t do the Facebook thing, etc. Sometimes I wish I could just chuck it all and let loose.

      You’re better than any “real” sibling, haha! I think it’s ‘cuz we chose one another. Love you. ❤️

  4. I just love how far you’ve come and the gentle sense of self awareness with which you express your past 🙂
    Have fun catching up with your old friend!! Hugs 🙂

  5. I remember you telling me about this a while back. 🙂 Glad you found the words. And, wow! Y’all are actually getting together this time, huh? I’m happy for you. I know you’ve always had a soft spot for the fella. I think the way you put it was “you put him through his paces” haha! You did the best you could and you turned out to be a fine young woman. Good luck on your dinner. I hope it turns out well, angel. ❤️

    1. Yeah. I think you may be the only person on earth besides Alex who knows all of my secrets. ;o)

      It was a bold move back in the early 90’s when therapeutic touch was being given a hard look and examined for its ethics.

      Some would say that gesture breached a boundary, but the more we see on therapeutic touch, it appears that in certain situations, it can be very healing for the patient.

      And, it should be mentioned that in a hospital setting such as that one, doors are always open, people always walking by and seeing inside at random, and there are never any compromising situations. 🙂 Doctor and patient enjoy a safe environment.

      I’m looking forward to “seeing” him. Time changes everyone, right? Of all the moments from that time, this one always stayed with me so to have the opportunity to reconnect makes me feel so lucky.

      Thanks for the read, my dear friend. 💞💖

  6. Funny. This is the third post in as many days that mentions eye contact in some form. I’m big on making eye contact with someone, and I’m not always sensitive enough to the challenges that some people have in maintaining it. We all have strengths and weaknesses and sometimes it’s good to remember that during impersonal moments. This was a nice post, JM. I like how you wove anecdotal moment from your own life to make the points. – Marty

    1. Wait, you’ve been cheating on me with other blogs? *gasp*

      I’ve seen a picture of you on your blog, so I can easily imagine you having a strong, solid, assertive gaze. 🙂

      Thanks for reading, mister. :o)

  7. Hi JM hope my comment doesn’t end up in your spam folder again Ha! Ha!. Concerning eye contact because my daughter Hazel is autistic eye contact is one aspect of Autism that prevents her giving eye Contact and we both use lots of Non Verbal communication like pointing and Hand gestures loved your piece especially commenting about your therapist very interesting and intriguing. xxx

    1. It was one of those moments from a coming of age time frame….quite impactful.

      I understand about Hazel, Laur. As a person with Asperger’s, I know that the eye contact thing is not to helped, really. But I also know that people with autism do have an even more difficult time with communication that most take for granted. 🙂 I enjoyed your visit today, my friend. 🌺

      1. Weird? Weird is inviting yourself over for a threesome and me completely ignoring my husband once you get your gorgeous ass over here. 😁😘

      1. What a wonderful question. 🙂 Are you asking what’s on my mind in the present? Or are you asking what was on my mind during all of these events in this story?

      2. You have to go an entire day without taking a subtle shot at anyone. 🙂

        No subtle criticisms, no negative comments at all, no matter how minor, k?

        Can you do that?

        So, no saying things like “when women say no worries, that means to worry, you one of them?” or any snarky comment like it, cool? 😊

        like no comments like: “you are hard to please” or “you read too much into it”

        NO criticisms allowed, cool? 🙂

        Just conversation and positive feedback only is allowed.

        think you can do it? 🙂

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