love psychoanalysis

learning to love

Glassell Park graffiti, L.A.

I am now loving my analyst. What a difficult feeling this has been to carve, hold, allow, sustain. I almost don’t mind missing her terribly on weekends because this missing does not feel, as it used to, like the desperate abandonment endured by an uncomprehending baby but, rather, like the wrenching longing for someone who is temporarily absent but fundamentally there, loved and loving, certain to return. While the week could not go any faster, the weekend minutes etch themselves in my mind in precise detail. I notice them all. The weekend is a very rich time. These excruciatingly slow days are their own gift in intensity and abundance.

My mother is visiting, but how to explain to her, the woman who could not teach me love, what it is to push myself up and, step by little step, learn to love on my own? In this slow slow weekend I tell her that I’m very sad; she helps me any way she can, tenderly, solicitously, attentively. She does or does not ask me why, but it doesn’t matter, because if I tell her I miss my analyst she’ll simply say, soothingly, “Oh, but you’ll see her soon!” Yet this is a gift, too, this ham-fisted consoling, this trying to make me things better for me, to obliterate the pain with reason. There could be dismissal, incomprehension, jealousy. I am grateful for every moment in which those who love me do not feel jealous of the fierce love I feel for my analyst.

In fact, I am genuinely lucky with my cheering crowd, my little fan club. They love my therapist for teaching me to love her. Miraculously, they understand. Would I understand if I were in their place? No, not yet. I haven’t yet learned to run on my own. I am only now beginning to walk, step by little wobbly step.