A continuation of Brian's therapy. NC-17. (If you want the details on the third session, read Blue Lights II).
Characters are property of Cowlip or Showtime or someone other than myself. No infringement intended.
Doctor's Notes: Session 3
We came very close to a breakthrough today. BK exhibited his usual defenses, so I assumed an attack mode and told him if he wasn't interested in therapy, he was taking up my time and some needy patient's space. He didn't seize that opportunity to "fire" me, instead he opened up slightly. Suicide came up again, and he flatly denied a serious attempt. I decided not to remind him of what he said earlier about the aspirin overdose when he was 13. He is not ready to probe that issue. I suspect he would have said it was not serious, therefore it doesn't count as an attempt.
When we were discussing his promiscuous activities, he showed what has become his anticipated arrogance. He exhibits narcissistic qualities, suggesting sex to him is a quest for personal pleasure with little attention given to whether his partner is equally satisfied. I predict his strong identification with his sexual aggressor mode requires him to be at least a competent lover, for he would find a suggestion that he was less than adequate in that area intolerable. I then asked if he had ever been in a relationship, which he skirted. Later, he offered me a diatribe on why relationships are useless. He ended with, "Who needs that shit?"
I responded, "I don't know. You maybe?"
He suddenly became quite emotional, to the point that tears formed, which he quickly brushed away. I tried to convince him to let go, assuring him he was in a safe place, but he responded with, "Big boys don't cry, Lydia." And the opportunity passed. His reaction and self protection suggest there is a failed relationship behind at least some of his pain, perhaps a catalyst for his seeking therapy and a cause for his sleep dysfunction. I told him to consider his reasons for seeking therapy between now and his next session.
Because BK was very agitated when he left here, I called him at home that evening. I wanted to ensure he was coping and taking his medication. He was uncommunicative on the phone, but I expected the same. The next session is critical. I intend to press the issue of revelation. If BK can't make that breakthrough with me, I will suggest another therapist, perhaps a man. He must feel comfortable and trusting enough to permit himself that freedom. If not with me, with someone.
Doctor's Notes: Session 4
BK arrived on time for the session looking relaxed and dressed in casual clothes, for the first time. He has never been so physically comfortable in my presence. He leaned back in the chair, his body stretched out, instead of tightly folded. I looked for signs of a manic episode, but his mood does not appear to be that extreme. He brought a large container of coffee with him, and sipped from it as we talked.
Excerpt from transcript:
Doctor: That's a big shot of caffeine.
BK: It's cha. Chinese sweet tea with milk. I don't think it contains any caffeine.
Doctor: Good choice. You seem chipper this morning. Any reason for that? Taking a day off?
BK: How can you tell?
Doctor: No Italian designer suit.
BK: (laughs) No, just Levis. I am taking off. A friend of mine is in town.
Doctor: Ah. Mikey?
BK: No, not Mikey.
(Doctor's note: BK blushes at this point in the conversation, smiles slightly, looks away from me, and out the window.)
Doctor: Brian, is this friend a lover?
BK: Former lover (paused, smiled). Yes, a lover.
Doctor: Tell me about him.
BK: Better yet, let me tell you about my sleep.
Doctor: Okay, tell me about your sleep.
BK: I've slept like a baby for several nights. I've been up late, but when I want to go to sleep, I do. And I sleep straight through to the alarm. I haven't felt this good in a year. Maybe it is those anti-depressants, I don't know. Maybe I'm cured.
Doctor: Cured of what?
BK: The reason I started coming here! Insomnia.
Doctor: I see.
BK: (smiled) Don't look worried, Lydia. I plan to continue my sessions.
Doctor: Why is that?
BK: Because the fact that I'm coming here may have turned around the whole thing with Justin.
Doctor: You'll have to lead me through that, Brian. Who is Justin? What "thing"? And why is your coming here important to him?
Doctor's notes: At this point, BK gave me some background on a lover named Justin Taylor (JT) who is twelve years his junior. His demeanor changes dramatically when discussing JT. His features soften, he smiles often, his palms are open and outreaching as a gesture, suggesting comfort associated with this person. He describes a physically handsome, blond, youthful man with a strong artistic ability, which appeals to BK's creative skill set. JT appears to be open with his emotions, while BK is tightly closed. This would create an obvious tension between them. JT is described as extroverted and charismatic. They met when JT was 17, and a virgin. BK was 29. BK was his first lover. The sex was fully consensual. After describing that much, BK suddenly stopped himself and became pensive.
Doctor: Brian, you weren't completely honest with me when you said you've never been in a relationship. You obviously have a relationship with Justin.
BK: (his mood abruptly shifted; he suddenly appeared cautious and melancholy.) Past tense.
Doctor: I'm confused. He's here now, right?
BK: Just visiting. He lives in Pittsburgh.
Doctor: Yes, but...
BK: With another man. (His gaze became fixed on the window again. He nervously drummed his fingertips on his thigh)
Doctor: I see. How long has he lived with this other man?
BK: I can tell you in months, days, minutes. Which would you prefer? Let's just say about a year.
Doctor: Is that why you left Pittsburgh?
BK: It's one reason, I won't bullshit you about that. But its not the only reason.
Doctor: What were some other reasons, Brian?
BK: Career progression, I've always wanted to live in New York. I've already fucked everyone in Pittsburgh.
Doctor: So Justin was a 'trick' as you put it. When and how did it evolve into more than that with you two?
BK: (He crossed his legs, began to fold in again, protect himself.) I'm not sure. At first he just irritated me. I couldn't get rid of him. He was like a little groupie. Sure, he was hot, but I felt like I had adopted a kid.
Doctor: Did you try to get rid of him?
BK: Only about a thousand times in a thousand ways.
Doctor: Brian, you seem very direct to me. I'm sure Justin isn't the first 'trick' who fixated on you. Have you had this problem before?
BK: No, I just tell them to fuck off.
Doctor: But you didn't with him.
Bk: Well...yeah. I mean, I TRIED to tell him to fuck off, he just didn't hear me. And...well, I did try. Strange circumstances. He had family issues.
Doctor: And then?
BK: One night, after I tried to put some distance between us, I went to Babylon, this dance club where we all hung out. I went after this hot guy I had been cruising all night. Finally cornered him. We were moving towards the conclusion I was hoping for, when I saw Justin come in with his friend, Daphne. He stripped off his shirt. He was every fag's twinkie dream. They were all over the boy.
Doctor: How did you feel about that?
BK: I don't know how to explain it. The hottie I was dancing with even went over to dance with Justin, which kind of pissed me off and kind of amused me. Justin was sandwiched between another guy and him. Something just kind of snapped in me. I thought what bullshit. I went over to them and put my arms between Justin and the two men. I pulled him into my dance. I embraced him, kissed him. I knew he was playing me, but I couldn't resist his game.
Doctor: What happened next?
BK: I took him home and fucked him. From that moment on, it got murky.
Doctor: Explain murky, Brian.
BK: Confusing, unclear, muddy.
Doctor: For you or for Justin?
BK: Both, I think.
Doctor: Tell me what it was like for you, Brian. Was this the first time you felt this way about someone? "Murky", as you put it?
BK: Since college, yeah.
(Doctor's note: We need to explore the college reference, but for now I wanted to keep him on track.)
Doctor: Were you afraid of your feelings for Justin? And what exactly did you feel for him?
BK: (Leaned back and stared hard at my face but failed to make eye contact.) I don't know how to answer that.
Doctor: Why not?
BK: I don't know how I feel about Justin.
Doctor: Don't know or can't admit?
BK: Admit what?
Doctor: Well, Brian, the empiric evidence suggests you fell in love with this young man. Is that so impossible to consider?
BK: (Leaning back, smiling, shaking his head.) Ah, the "L" word. Most overused word in the English language. 'I love chocolate. I love to ski. I love a fast bike. I love Calvin Kleins. I love Hong Kong action movies. I heart New York.' Love is a completely devalued commodity. As we say in the advertising game, the brand has lost its punch from overexposure. It's become generic.
Doctor: Love is just a word, Brian. It connotes an emotion. It's the emotion I care about here. If you don't want to use the word love', then choose another word to describe your emotions for Justin.
BK: Ok, Lydia. Here's one for you: complicated.
Doctor: How so?
BK: In every way. I tried with Justin, I really did. It just wasn't enough. I couldn't be the kind of lover he wanted me to be. So we bombed. I have enough feelings for him that I want him to be happy. I want him to have what he deserves. But...
Doctor: But what, Brian?
BK: ( hesitated, expression tense and gaze directed at the wall behind me.) It hurts.
(Doctor's Note: This admission of pain associated with an emotional attachment is significant. BK protects himself by refusing to acknowledge pain, and views such acknowledgement as a weakness. The fact that he can do so now, in a session, is indeed progress.)
Doctor: Did you try to stop him from leaving?
Doctor: Why not?
BK: Why would I? If he wants to go, go. I'm not begging him to stay! Fuck that. Besides, he's better off with the one he chose.
Doctor: Why is that?
BK: He's the kind of guy who buys flowers and takes him out for romantic dinners and writes him love notes. If that's what Justin wants, then he was right to go, because I can never be that man.
Doctor: Do you honestly believe he left because he needed those trappings, Brian?
BK: He left because I couldn't tell him 'I love you'. Not in words, anyway. Because I couldn't be monogamous. Because I couldn't be Ozzie to his Harriett.
Doctor: Why couldn't you do those things if it meant preserving your relationship, Brian?
BK: ( Scrubbed hands over face, as if suddenly tired, and leaned back with a sigh.) I don't know why. I guess that's one reason I started coming here to see you. You asked me to tell you what my goal is for these sessions. I think my goal is to understand why I can't feel things the way other people do. If I do feel something, why can't I express it? Doctor: Bravo, Brian! That is exactly the answer I was hoping for. First of all, you do feel things. No two people experience emotion in exactly the same way. But if you didn't feel something, you wouldn't be tortured by these emotions. Your instinct is right, however. You disconnect between the feeling and the expression of that feeling, and that's one thing we will work on together.
BK: Lydia, what good will that do me? I mean, why go through all this? I guess I'm having a hard time seeing the benefit.
Doctor: If you were satisfied to live in emotional isolation, I may agree with you, Brian. Because the process is painful. But you're not satisfied. You're questioning, you're worried, you're sleepless. You lost someone you love due in part to this disconnection. Think of these sessions as chemotherapy for your psyche. It's painful, it's unpleasant, but in the end, it may well save your life.
BK: (Met my eyes, his expression haunted.) You don't think it's too late for me?
Doctor: Brian, you're a young man. Of course it's not too late. Even if you were an old man, it's not too late. Everyone is entitled to peace, at any age. But don't do this for Justin, or for any reason other than because you want to understand yourself a little better and exorcise some demons. If that makes a difference with Justin, fine. But the person we want to help is Brian Kinney.
BK: (spoke softly) First, you have to find Brian Kinney. I lost track of him years ago.
Doctor: Really? Who is Brian Kinney to you?
BK: He was this goofy little kid. He had a dog named Rex and he liked to ride a bicycle and fish with his grandfather. He dreamed about being an astronaut. He spent summers on his grandparents' farm in the heart of Amish country in Pennsylvania, although they weren't Amish. Brian thought the Amish people had the right idea. Everything was simple and natural. His grandmother told him, "But Brian, you'd have to give up television and soccer and Coca Cola." (laughing) She could always put things in perspective for me.
Doctor: You were close to your grandparents?
BK: Yes, very. Happy with them, on that farm.
Doctor: Are they still living?
BK: (hesitantly) No. She died when I was thirteen. He died the next fall, broken hearted.
Doctor: How did that loss affect you?"
BK: (He grimaced, tears formed in his eyes, and he looked away. He blinked, causing the tears to streak his cheeks. I handed him a tissue that he accepted and was silent for a moment. More tears, silence, then he wiped his cheeks and inhaled deeply before he spoke.) That was the last of Brian Kinney. I lost the one place where I could truly be myself, and where I was accepted unconditionally and loved unconditionally. From that moment on, I began to build the walls.
Doctor: Why, Brian?
BK: To protect myself from the pain.
Doctor: You were thirteen. That's the same age when you took the aspirin. Were the two related?
BK: Not directly, but I believe if my grandparents had been alive, I would have run away to them rather than swallow a bottle of aspirin.
Doctor: What caused you to swallow a bottle of aspirin, Brian?
BK: It seems silly now, in retrospect.
Doctor: Don't judge it or censor it. Just tell me.
BK: I overheard my parents fighting one night. They were arguing about money, a common complaint in our house. My old man was drunk and he was bitching about the fact my mom bought me a new pair of soccer cleats. They had recently bought me a pair, and I went through a sudden growth spurt and couldn't wear them anymore. My father said I was a drain on their finances. He told her if she had listened to him, she would have had that 'fucking abortion', and the problem would be solved.
Doctor: What did your mother say?
BK: Some religious dogma against abortion, and my old man said, "Then let the god damned church buy his fucking shoes! He should never have been born!"
Doctor: How did that make you feel?
BK: Like I wasn't supposed to be alive. Like my father hated me so much he didn't even want me to be born. Like my mother only had me because her church was down on abortion. Like I was better off dead. Maybe then they'd be at peace. Happy.
Doctor: So you took a bottle of aspirin in some desperate attempt to bring harmony to your family?
BK: I guess you could say that. Stupid, huh?
Doctor: No Brian, it was the act of a bleeding, unhappy, rejected child. Not at all unpredictable. After you swallowed the aspirin, what did you do?
BK: I ran out of the house. Hopped on my bike. Rode to this rural area behind our subdivision and sat down under a tree and cried. I felt bad about Mikey and I felt bad about my dog, Rex. But I thought I would be reunited with my grandparents in some half-ass kid's view of heaven. Then I started vomiting. The tablets were still whole in my spew. Probably no more than two or three had dissolved.
Doctor: How did that make you feel?
BK: Like I couldn't even kill myself properly. I was angry, but I was also relieved. Death is pretty scary.
Doctor: Brian, it's very important that you find that young Brian Kinney again and welcome him back into your life. Only after you're able to do that, will you be a whole person. Right now, you're a shadow in search of your substance.
BK: Well, this is fucked up. I came into this session, feeling really upbeat. Now I feel like shit. Tell me again why this is good for me?
Doctor: I don't have to tell you, Brian. You're a smart cookie. You've already figured that out, or you wouldn't be here.
End of excerpt.
Doctor's Notes: Significant progress was made today. The reappearance of JT in BK's life has instigated a renewed effort on his part to find a way of dealing with his emotions. I suspect he is hopeful that he can attract JT back into a relationship. But I also suspect he fears if he is not better able to express his emotions and make a commitment to this lover, he will lose again, probably irrevocably. I don't know whether JT has any plan of leaving his current partner for BK. If not, I anticipate a serious backstep for BK. His discussion of his suicide attempt at thirteen was revealing. He has a framework for accepting love and feeling worthy of love due to his relationship with his grandparents, now deceased. Bringing him to a state of acceptance for his parents' rejection and bringing out those long suppressed feelings of worthiness are critical to his recovery. These next few weeks, as influenced by outside events in his life, are key.
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July 25, 2004