“So It looks like you’ve lost a bit of weight!’ Dr. Gajera said as we both entered his office. He sat down in his chair and fixed his tie.
“Just a little bit of weight. Not a lot!” I said adjusting myself in the chair. I placed my arms around my belly to hold myself. I hadn’t seen Dr. Gajera in a while. I missed my last schedule appointment because there was a lot going on in my life and the appointment completely slipped my mind.
Today was really to catch up with each other after my breakdown in June. I was afraid of telling him about July 14th. Actually, I didn’t tell anyone about July 14h. That will remain between me and myself. Today, I seemed very calm. He pointed that out immediately. My voice was softer and my thoughts seemed organized.
“Okay,was the weight loss on purpose?” He asked reaching for his legal pad. His eyes were piercing as he gazed at me. I hadn’t been there for a full 30 seconds and my doctor was already analyzing me.
“Yeah! I had to lose weight. It was uncomfortable for me!‘ I said. “The Focalin and exercising gave me an extra boost.”
“How are you adjusting to the meds?” He asked.
‘I love them. I ran out of the 15 that you gave me before, so I am currently on 20 milligrams. I doubled the tens that you gave me before.” I said.
“How long have you been doubling the dose?” Dr. Gajera asked.
“Oh, for three days!” I answered. “I like it so far. The stomach ache is intense. The headache isn’t bad, but it completely turns my appetite down to four.” I smiled
“You have no appetite? He asked.
“I usually do not have an appetite until I get home from work. By that time, it comes back full force, so I eat something small and fill up on water.” I said. “I don’t like to feel bloated in the morning, so I don’t really like to eat late.”
“Any other side effects? You might want to talk about?”
“Extreme aggravation!” I laughed. “I am easily angered now. Before, certain things would simply slide off of my back without a problem. Now, that is not the case.” I told him about the issues that I was having at work where I felt bullied by the director of my department.
“Now when he says anything remotely backwards to me, I let him have it. But that goes for anyone at work now.” I said. “I stand up for myself a lot more.”
“Were you a push-over before?’ Dr. Gajera asked. He shifted in his seat and continued writing. ‘
“In some ways, yes. That’s changed. Being alone has helped me with that.” I said. “I don’t feel like I have to please anyone anymore. When Christina and I argued about how my feelings were hurt and she wanted to put an end to our friendship, I was unaffected by it.” I said.
“How long have you guys known each other?” He asked.
“I’ve known her since I was 12 years old.”
“Okay and you are 29 now” He does the math in his head. “That’s a long time.”
“I didn’t care! I wasn’t fighting for a relationship when my thoughts and feelings were not being recognized. I spent 18 years of my life dealing with that. I wasn’t living the rest of my life doing it.” I said. “I was tired of keeping silent about shit that was really eating me apart. Then as soon as I told her how I felt about it, she would call off the friendship as if I was disposable.” I said. I was calm and still very soft spoken, but I was visibly upset. The look on his face said that he noticed it. I continued…
“That gets old and I had no problem letting her go. For the past few months, I pretty much lived a life that didn’t include her and that was her decision. Not mine. We barely saw each other and I learned how to live without going out with her because she was always busy.”
“Was that hurtful?” He asked.
“The first two months, but then I felt numb to it. It felt like any other form of neglect and I stopped caring about it.” I said. “If she needed me, I was there, but other than that. I didn’t want to be with her at that time. I was fed up with making plans, just to be ditched.”
“Why do you feel like she ditched you?” He asked. I was silent. I knew why. I didn’t want to express those thoughts to him. Not out loud. He waited for my answer and I just sat there as if I was searching for the answer that was already on the tip of my tongue. I started questioning myself if I would continue to keep the secrets of everyone I knew even though the secrets were killing me. I could have come right out with the reason.
“I don’t want to talk about her anymore. It’s not worth the money I pay for this session.” I said. “But I love her!” Dr. Gajera sensed how bothered I was and started to scramble for words.
“That’s okay!” He said. He paused for a minute. The pause felt pregnant and painful. “You said before that you were struggling with your confidence. How are you now?’
“I am still struggling with my confidence. I will probably struggle with it until I am able to see the person I dream about.”
“Who do you dream about?” He asked.
“Justice!” I smiled. “ I dream about Justice.” I giggled.
“Is he a love interest or friend of yours?” Dr. Gareja asked.
“Justice is so many things. Justice is just Justice!” I said. “Justice is confident. Justice has awesome hair and great style. Justice is everything that I was. Justice doesn’t conform to traditional values, standards or gender roles. Justice doesn’t like to be labeled as any specific gender because it’s uncomfortable.”
“You’re Justice!” He asked.
“I was Justice.” I said. Justice was a character I used to write about when I was a kid. In my stories, Justice was a celebrity with amazing charisma. He was beautiful with long curly hair and deep bedroom eyes. The name Justice was taken from the Janet Jackson character in Poetic Justice. Justice became a nickname that my dad would use after the other “prison guard” names didn’t work. I explained that Justice started to come to life.
I used to dream about the Justice and his friends. The storyline that I wrote would end up in my dreams. Justice was so strong and I needed that strength so I borrowed his identity.
” When I was Justice, it was like everything in the world, every rule would bend for me.” I said.
I thought about the many times I would see people and I would hang out with different associates. A lot of the times they would make statements about certain subjects or situations and I would always hear the same comments.
You’re Justice, you’re different! or That rule doesn’t apply to you.
” I never understood what that meant.” I laughed. “I’ve spent years asking others what that means. Why is Justice so special. Why is it that certain rules don’t apply to me?”
“What kind of rules? Like, rules in general, or like society?’ Dr. Gajera asked puzzled. He looked as puzzled as I did.
“I don’t know!”
I remember conversation that I was having with a few people from my college. We were talking about a few different things. My friend Ruthie was talking about the pressure she faces looking her best all the time not to be judged. I commented that I simply couldn’t care what people said about what I wear. I throw on anything I want. Then she said.
“Well, you’re different. You could look like you haven’t showered in years and people would still think you are fabulous.” The table of people laughed.
“What does that mean?” I asked.
“It means that you are Justice, the basic rule of human existence doesn’t apply to you.” I was confused. I didn’t know what she meant by that.
“If people think I’m fabulous, shouldn’t that be a reason to feel pressure about what I wear?” I asked the table. Then this Spanish girl named Michelle said.
“To normal people, yes!”
“I’m not normal?’ I asked. A resounding “No” erupted followed by laughter. I was still confused. Then Rosie said.
“I’m sure that you can wear anything you want to wear and people wouldn’t say shit, because you are Justice. You are who you are. But If I wore a fucked up outfit, I’m getting played all day.” She said. “If you walked around all day in high heels and nail polish, no one will care. But I am certain that a lot of gay niggas would get hurt. It’s not to offend you, it speaks to who you are.”
“Who am I?” I asked still confused.
“Justice!” They laughed
“It’s not because you’re gay. It’s how you carry yourself. Your confidence!” I Michelle said. “You can walk through this Cafe every day wearing the same outfit. Walking like this is muthafucking ‘Rip the Runway’ and no one would say shit to you! Because you are who you are.”
I looked confused telling Dr. Gajera this story. He looked thoroughly confused and entertained.
“I still don’t know what that means.” I said. “I am still trying to figure out what made me so special when I looked and felt like this person I created.”
“That bugs you?” He asked.
“I’m still waiting for an answer.” I said. “I know who Justice is to me. I’m not certain about how others view Justice. If he was more than a person to them. But it’s not knowing that scares me. I think that’s why I’ve lost so much confidence.” I thought about it. “I’m scared that if anyone saw this version of me, then whatever they thought about him, would disappear and I wouldn’t be that person anymore. That’s why it is comfortable to hide in the house. I’m hiding from expectations.”
Then Dr. Gajera said.
“Maybe you are over-thinking it. Justice is just a name with confidence that you created. The look was still you. How you carried yourself was still your doing. He only ever existed because you created him.” He explained. “I don’t think that these people have any real superficial expectations of you. I think the expectations you have for yourself are blocking you and giving you an excuse ti hide.”
“You can disagree! I don’t have the answers, I can just suggest my thoughts. Your lack of confidence seems to be inspired by the thoughts and expectations that you have blindly created for yourself. This is in result of not knowing how others feel about Justice. But none of these expectations are real.
“I just want an answer. I want to know who he was to others. What made him so special?” I stopped. “What made me special?”