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DECONSTRUCTING BRIAN
Session 7, and Session with Joan Kinney
by Randall Morgan

Guys, attached is the latest in the Deconstructing series, posted a little early. This one also features a meeting with Lydia and Brian's Mom, Joan. So it's a little longer. Enjoy! Randall

Doctor's Notes: Brian arrived early, and seemed impatient that he had to wait for his scheduled time. He appeared agitated and was eager to initiate the session.

Excerpt from transcript:

BK: My life has officially passed over into Stephen King territory.

Doctor: Dead cats coming back from the Pet Cemetery to annoy you? Evil clowns appearing in gutters?

BK: Worse. My mother is in town.

Doctor: To visit you?

BK: Yeah, right. She wouldn't visit me when we lived in the same town. Not after she found out about the BIG SECRET.

Doctor: Your homosexuality?

BK: Right.

Doctor: So her reaction was less than accepting?

BK: Before or after she told me I was going to hell?

Doctor: So why is she here?

BK: Religious Fanatics Convention. Something her church is sponsoring, I don't know.

Doctor: She obviously contacted you about the fact she's coming here.

BK: She's terrified of New York. She thinks rapists and muggers are on every corner. She was quizzing me about this hotel they had her booked into, she asked me about the convention center, she asked me about cabs, and she asked me about terrorists. The woman lives in a bubble.

Doctor: Will you see her?

BK: Sure, she wanted me to get tickets to the Lion King for her and some of her cronies.

Doctor: Are you doing it?

BK: (Shrugged.) No big deal. I can get them free through the agency.

Doctor: Will she visit you and Justin?

BK: She tries not to expose herself to alternative lifestyles and points of view. But I'm bartering those tickets.

Doctor: How do you mean?

BK: I'm going to make her come here to see you.

Doctor: Make her? That doesn't sound very propitious, Brian.

BK: She wants the tickets; she can damn well give you an hour of her precious time.

Doctor: I suspect she's down on psychotherapy, correct?

BK: I'm sure she'd overcome her voodoo bias if she believed you could cure my hunger for dick.

Doctor: I hope you don't tell her that. I don't want her to think I view your homosexuality as something to be "cured".

BK: She thinks it is, so she'll just presume any right thinking person would agree.

Doctor: Are you asking that I use this time with your mother to help her understand what it means to be gay? To enlighten her?

BK: (Met my eyes, sighed.) I guess that's not possible, right?

Doctor: It's not impossible, but it's not probable that I can change her fear and prejudice in one session. I'm sure she has deeply rooted ideas about this volatile subject, especially where you're concerned. Were you ever close to your mother?

BK: (Winced.) Yes, when I was little. She was my protector, in her eyes. She carried me and gave birth to me, despite my old man's objections. She claims now that she even took his violence to keep him off of me, but I never saw him hit her and I got it plenty of times from Jack.

Doctor: You don't believe her?

BK: (Shrugged.) I don't disbelieve her. I just think she utterly failed in her obligation to protect her children. In my view, if a man hits a woman, or a child, more than once, he's out. You move your child out of that dangerous situation. That's how you protect someone who can't protect himself.

Doctor: Why do you think she stayed?

BK: Inertia. Easier not to make waves than to have to start over. Also her church doesn't believe in divorce. And she'd have to get her ass out there and work, rather than stay home and be the little woman. Maybe she liked it. There are women who get off on that kind of abuse.

Doctor: Do you believe that?

BK: Not really. Anyway, she waited him out and after Claire and I left home, I think they reached this cold détente. He stayed out with his buddies, drinking, whoring and gambling, and she stayed at the church. I think the violence died away, along with all vestiges of passion.

Doctor: How do you feel about your mother today, Brian?

BK: (Exhaled slowly.) That's loaded.

Doctor: I know.

BK: I have mixed feelings about her. I want her approval. I want her to tell me I'm successful and smart and that she's proud of me. At the same time, I hate her for her rejection of the fundamental person that I am. I didn't become gay to piss her off or thumb my nose at her church. Life is a lot easier for non gays. We have all the same problems as straights plus the overlay of being despised by many just because of who we fuck. I'm gay because that's how I was made. Either at birth or somewhere along the line, I got bent in this direction. It's not a choice. I would like her to understand that fact. I choose what color shirt to wear in the morning. I do NOT wake up and decide, `Hum, I think I'll be queer today'.

Doctor: You are absolutely right, Brian, but that's a very difficult concept for less knowledgeable straight people to understand.

BK: I'm her only son, Lydia. Can't she try to make that extra effort to understand me?

Doctor: That's a fair request. How are other things, Brian? How are you sleeping?

BK: Mostly well. I told Justin I love him, sort of. That should make you happy.

Doctor: It's not about making me happy, Brian. Did it make you happy? Why did you say it?

BK: It wasn't planned. It slipped out. I said "I'm in love with you, not Jeff." We were sort of arguing. He seized on it, however.

Doctor: Do you regret it?

BK: (Shrugged.) No, it's just stating what's been a fact for a long time.

Doctor: Was it a relief?

BK: I don't know. Maybe. I didn't obsess over it. It's just words.

Doctor: You were arguing over Jeffrey?

BK: Yeah.

Doctor: Is that still a problem?

BK: (Tensely.) Define problem.

Doctor: You tell me.

BK: I like Jeffrey. A lot. We've decided to cool it, though, Jeff and me.

Doctor: Meaning what?

BK: You know, not see each other for awhile.

Doctor: Why is that, Brian?

BK: Things were getting a little too intense.

Doctor: In what way?

BK: In every way, I guess.

Doctor: Are you sleeping with him?

BK: No, oddly enough.

Doctor: Why oddly?

BK: That would be my usual M.O. I fuck him, I move on.

Doctor: But not here. Not in this case.

BK: No.

Doctor: Are you attracted to him?

BK: (Smiled wanly.) Horribly.

Doctor: Then...?

BK: I'm afraid of him. I'm afraid of what might happen if I fucked him.

Doctor: Brian, are you in love with Jeffrey?

BK: (Frowned, crossed legs tightly, shook his head.) I love Justin.

Doctor: So you say. But does that preclude you from falling for someone else? If so, you're remarkably unique.

BK: I like Jeff a lot. I think he's a fine human being and a lot of fun. I can talk to him for hours. About real things. I think he's a beautiful man, elegant and classic. He's sophisticated and intelligent. He's compassionate and feels very deeply about things. He's humanitarian and charismatic. He has many traits that I lack and admire. He is all of those things without being smug or fake about it. We just click, for some reason. He was teaching me how to tango.

Doctor: Ah, a lovely, sensual dance. What happened?

BK: We danced, we held each other, we knew. We were getting deep into something that neither of us was prepared for. We shared a kiss and it was better than fucking. Hotter. I haven't talked to him since then. It's been a week, today, and everyday I struggle against calling him, and hope he will call me. I feel a hole in my life without him.

Doctor: What do you plan to do about that hole?

BK: Be strong, I guess.

Doctor: How is it affecting your relationship with Justin?

BK: It isn't. We seem to be getting along very well. The sex is hot, as always, and we argue less. He met this art dealer through Jeff and the guy has been very helpful in getting Justin established in the art scene here. That's taken up a lot of his time.

Doctor: Does that bother you?

BK: No, I've always been a great supporter of Justin's artistic genius. I want to see him get the recognition he deserves. I have a demanding career of my own, so my tolerance for his dedication to his art is quite high.

Doctor: Will you talk to Jeffrey again?

BK: I want to. (Paused.) I want to talk to him very badly.

Doctor: But will you?

BK: I...I'm not sure. I'm resisting.

Doctor: Brian, it might be healthier if you dealt with these feelings for Jeffrey rather than denying them altogether. You could be setting yourselves up for an inevitable and explosive reunion.

BK: Can you help me with that?

Doctor: I can try, but you have to be honest with yourself in order for it to work. Brian, I'll ask you again. Are you falling in love with Jeffrey?

BK: (Looked away, stared out the window, his face set in a pensive mask.) I'm calling time on this session.

End of excerpt

Doctor's Notes: BK finds himself in an unfamiliar dilemma. He has long protected himself from emotional connections to other men, and suddenly he finds himself in love with one man, with whom he is living in a committed relationship, and falling in love with a second man, which he is trying to avoid. His denial is a treatment issue, because it prevents us from fully exploring his feelings for Jeffrey. I am unsure if he is truly enamored of Jeffrey, or if Jeffrey is a shield to keep him from abandoning himself to his relationship with JT. However, these deep emotions could be sincere, and if so, then he is in for some interesting emotional challenges as he must eventually decide which direction to take. On a different note, he wants me to meet with his mother, towards whom he still harbors feelings of anger, rage and betrayal combined with a desperate need for her approval. Should she call, I will work her in because her insight into BK's youth and upbringing will be invaluable to his treatment.

Session with Joan Kinney

Doctor's Notes: Joan Kinney is a 55 year old widow, with two children, Claire, 34 and Brian, 31. She also has three grandsons, two >from Claire and one from Brian. She was asked to attend this session by her son, who is undergoing therapy. She was reluctant to do so, and I suspect he pressed her heavily to come. She began the session by expressing her belief that analysis is an unproven science and is the epitome of self indulgence. She appears to be a tightly controlled, emotionally remote woman.

Excerpt from transcript:

JK: I'm surprised that Brian would put any credence in this profession of yours, but if he did, I'm even more surprised that he would choose you as a therapist.

Doctor: Why is that, Joan?

JK: You're closer to my age than his, you're a woman, and you're black.

Doctor: Help me understand why you think each of those accurate observations would be negative to Brian.

JK: He has no patience with people older than himself, never has. He fears aging and believes we know nothing. He was always so much smarter than his father or me, or so he believed. As for the black issue, he just hasn't spent that much time among your people. And as for the other, what does Brian want with a female therapist? He dislikes women intensely.

Doctor: Why do you think he dislikes women, Joan?

JK: He hasn't told you?

Doctor: That he's gay? Yes, of course he has. But what does one have to do with the other?

JK: What use does a gay man have for women?

Doctor: Every use except one. You know he has close relationships with women, don't you?

JK: With whom? Certainly neither with me nor with his sister.

Doctor: Lindsay Peterson, for one.

JK: (Raised a single brow as if questioning that name.) Oh yes, Lindsay. The girl who claims that Brian fathered her son.

Doctor: Do you believe that fact is in question, Joan?

JK: (Shrugged.) Who can tell? The child was not conceived as God intended. Anything could have happened.

Doctor: Actually, that's not true, Joan. Unless other men mixed their sperm up with his, its indisputable that the child is Brian's. He has no doubt. I understand the boy resembles him physically. Have you expressed your doubts to Brian?

JK: I don't recall if we've ever discussed that child.

Doctor: Have you seen Gus?

JK: No.

Doctor: You don't consider him your grandchild?

JK: No.

Doctor: Why not if Brian considers him his son? Because of the way he was conceived?

JK: He doesn't live with Brian. There's no relationship between Brian and his mother. The whole thing is disgusting and unnatural. She's not even a normal woman. What kind of home is that? Two women living together as if they were a couple.

Doctor: You do know they underwent a commitment ceremony?

JK: Meaningless drivel. Not an accepted sacrament.

Doctor: I see. Joan, when did you discover Brian was gay?

JK: Recently. A little over a year ago. I'm the last to know, as always. Name another woman he's close to? You made it sound plural.

Doctor: Debbie Novotny. He loves her very much.

JK: (Visibly disturbed by that name.) That trashy woman has been a thorn in my side for years!

Doctor: Why is that, Joan?

JK: Always butting in on Brian's life. Giving him unsolicited advice and imposing her ridiculous views on him when he was at an impressionable age. I wouldn't be a bit surprised if that son of hers was the one to lead Brian down the path he's taken.

Doctor: You mean the fact he's homosexual?

JK: Yes, her son is too, and she wears that fact around as if he won the Nobel Prize!

Doctor: Joan, Brian is very clear that he and Michael Novotny are friends, not lovers. Michael wasn't the cause for Brian's homosexuality.

JK: I'm sure you think it's my fault then. That I emasculated him in some way. Isn't that what you people always think? A domineering mother is behind every gay son?

Doctor: Of course it's not what `my people' think, Joan, although that can be a factor. The most widely held belief is that most people have their gender orientation set before they turn five years old. We're still not sure of the cause, whether there's a genetic coding or if it's based on events that happen to the child, or even what those events are. But approximately ten per cent of all men are gay, and that has been a rather steady number for generations. Bisexuals increase that percentage slightly. There has never been a time we didn't have homosexuals, but the environment has imposed more or less visibility upon them. You never suspected Brian could be gay as he was growing up?

JK: Why would I suspect that? He was a normal boy. Beautiful, smart, athletic. He did normal boy things like sports and bicycles. He was never a sissy.

Doctor: Is that what you think most homosexuals are like? Sissies?

JK: I don't think about them at all.

Doctor: When Brian got older, did you never question why a handsome boy like Brian didn't date girls?

JK: He was popular. Girls called him all the time. But he was raised with strong Christian principals and I believe he had no interest in being promiscuous with those pushy girls.

Doctor: Alright, Joan. So you found out recently he was gay. How did you respond to that important fact?

JK: I am sickened by it.

Doctor: Why?

JK: It's a sin. An abomination.

Doctor: According to your religious beliefs?

JK: According to God's law. Brian is damned.

Doctor: You believe your only son is condemned to hell for his attraction to his own gender?

JK: For acting on that attraction, yes.

Doctor: What would you have him do?

JK: Pray for help from God to live a normal life with a wife and family.

Doctor: In other words, live a lie. Marry a woman when he is oriented to male sexual partners. Bring children into that false union and live a life of quiet desperation.

JK: Yes, he wouldn't be alone in that. Homosexuals are not the only ones who are often forced to live a lie.

Doctor: Were you forced to live a lie, Joan? To remain in a loveless marriage with an abusive man because that was imposed on you by your church and by society?

JK: (Coldly.) I have no idea what you mean.

Doctor: Do you resent Brian for being true to himself even though his is not a life accepted by the majority of society?

JK: What has he told you about my marriage? Why do you even ask that?

Doctor: He told me you tried to protect him from a father who beat him with some regularity and who was verbally abusive when he wasn't hitting him.

JK: I see.

Doctor: Is that not true?

JK: Jack could be abusive when he drank, true. Brian was often the focus of that abuse because Jack never wanted him to be born.

Doctor: But you did.

JK: A child is a gift from God, even when unplanned.

Doctor: Then isn't Gus a gift from God despite the method of his conception?

JK: (Reflecting.) What do you want from me?

Doctor: Joan, I want nothing from you. It's Brian who needs you.

JK: Brian needs no one. Never has.

Doctor: Do you honestly believe that?

JK: He's very self sufficient.

Doctor: Do you know whether Brian's contemplated suicide?

JK: Suicide? Of course not! Why would he? It's a mortal sin, and he's a beautiful successful man.

Doctor: Do you know the depths of the depression he's been in for the last year and why?

JK: Why should Brian be depressed? He got this big job, big promotion. He gets to live in New York, which he's always wanted. He's young, healthy and free. Why should he be depressed?

Doctor: Because he lost the one man he's ever allowed himself to love? Because he feels unworthy of having anyone love him? Because he is blocked from being able to express his emotions to someone he cares about? Brian was on the verge of complete nervous and physical exhaustion when he started seeing me. He was desperate. Did you know that, Joan? Did you know he would go for days, unable to sleep? Did you even know that Justin Taylor broke his heart by leaving him for another man? A year ago?

JK: (Leaned back, exhibiting a crack in her calm, some evident anxiety.) He never tells me anything.

Doctor: When was the last time you asked?

End of Excerpt.

Doctor's Notes: JK is an emotionally remote and inexpressive woman, although I suspect at least one reason this remote behavior was developed was to protect herself emotionally from a volatile and abusive husband. She finds her solace in strict religious dogma, but cannot apply Christian principals to her own family, outside using the letter of the gospel as her shield. She disapproves of BK's homosexuality which she seems to regard as a lifestyle choice. She still defends her deceased husband and exhibits jealousy and anger towards Debbie Novotny, BK's substitute mother. She disapproves of BK's friendship with Lindsay Peterson, and with the way they conceived their son through artificial intervention. I suspect she views BK's homosexuality as her own failure to control his life. JK is seriously in need of analysis and anti-depressants. It would be extremely beneficial to BK's low self image if I could assist him in becoming closer to his mother. I am going to suggest she seek counseling with someone I recommend in Pittsburgh, but I suspect she will not. Her inability to get help will continue to complicate BK's treatment.

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July 25, 2004