She proceeded to ask about my father’s job and I, again, told her he was dead and that, to my knowledge, dead people don’t have jobs. That was the moment she took her first note. When I told her about my family’s educational background, she started laughing and asked me what I did in grad school; I told her I didn’t know and assured her I wasn’t joking. She took more and more notes, soon her desk would be filled with her words dramatically describing my experience of existing. At some point, she put her pencil down (I don’t know why she chose to write with a pencil, perhaps there were notes that demanded potential erasure) and leaned forward, resting her arms and upper body on the desk, merging the sea of blue-green-turquoise with the heavy wooden desk. She said, You know, I have a therapy group here I think you’d be a great fit for, it’s academics only. I said, Just academics? She said, Yes, 12 like-minded folks. I noticed my sweaty palms and inappropriately fast heart-beat but also how I felt warm regardless. I said, I don’t think a group is the right choice for me. She leaned back and took notes again. For the remaining time, we had a back and forth about the uses of group therapy. When our session ended, she got up and said, I bet you won’t come back, wearing the big-house smile. I left feeling agitated, hesitating out of the labyrinth-like house-garden-house assembly, hurrying back to a class at grad school – where I felt similar but at least I was getting paid and nobody would talk to me (since I mentioned my family doesn’t really celebrate Christmas). If you had a real job, I thought, you’d have to get back there too.
I saw someone coming out of the house; incredibly long hair – I remembered how I used to have long hair like that and what a pain it was to take care of it, what a commitment it was and how impractical it was-; oscillating clothing that didn’t seem to have any ends but was a sea of green and blue and turquoise covering someone’s body. She wore a smile on her face, I think, but not the kind of smile that says “I’m happy to see you” or “Don’t be afraid, you’re welcome here” but a smile that says “Do you love my big house?”.
She asked me to come in. There were stone plates on the ground that determined the path. We walked in and I wondered about whether I was supposed to close the glass door behind me; she turned around and said “Don’t worry, it’s automatic”. I was not wondering whether she could read my mind. I was glad she used the power that came with property to show me how it’s done. (In hindsight, I think I was thankful she took the burden of interaction off me. Now I know that Interacting with wealthy people like her is easy; they follow a specific set of rules and you get to play with it.). After what seemed like an endless walk through the depths of her backyard house, we sat down, a heavy wooden desk between us, actually way too close to one another.
She asked me why I was seeking her help. I was too depressed to laugh at this obvious platitude. I told her I lost my father to suicide a few years ago and I had never gotten to process it, I told her I just started grad school and how I felt like an alien, I told her I’m having trouble interacting with people, I told her I feel nothing. She kept having the big-house-smile on her face – I felt like watching a movie on my way too cheap laptop that couldn’t even download the expensive software I was asked to get in grad school.
In 2016 I had my first ever appointment with a therapist – it was a session in which we were supposed to get to know each other to see if things would work between us; much like the first in-person date after having chatted with someone on a dating app. I was 25, just started grad school, a place where I felt incredibly alienated. But I couldn’t yet put a finger on why I felt this way. Fellow students told each other about their families – medical doctors, academics, lawyers – and about how little the money we got was. I told them nothing; and I felt uncomfortable hearing someone think the money is too little after I’ve experienced feeling grateful for getting paid for what I love to do. I couldn’t believe I was getting paid this much for sitting in an office and think about stuff and write down the stuff I think about. The first couple of weeks I spend some days in office because I thought I was supposed to do so. I thought that’s what everyone does, so I should do it too. I spent my time there not working at all because I felt like someone was going to approach me about how I do not belong there. The therapist’s practice was in the backyard of a big, modern house in Charlottenburg. There was a fence – not a countryside fence that typically functions to keep your pets or animals at bay or to protect your garden from cows running lose. It was a fence that said “I protect property”, though it doesn’t actually do so by its physicality but merely by its presence as this kind of fence. So I rang the bell, was let in, walked through a wild-seeming but actually trimmed garden (it was trimmed to look wild, that’s what rich people do) until I reached the back of the big house to which a smaller house was attached, it seemed. My mind doesn’t let me access the full architectural details of the therapist’s house-garden-house assembly. The small house had a glass front and I had no clue where the door was. I didn’t know whether I was supposed to go in or not. I felt like I was breaking into a rich person’s garden. I felt how I felt like in the office, like someone was going to approach me about not belonging where I am.
This photo series aims at critically analyzing and examining the taxonomies and stereotypes persistent in the gay community.
Portrayed are trans, inter, and cis gay/ bisexual/ queer masculinities.
veröffentlicht bei Down by Berlin
Ich habe 8 Tage Einsamkeit überlebt.
Ich erinnere mich selbst an meine Mutter, als ich das Gefühl habe, nur zuhause sein zu wollen. Ich denke, reiß dich zusammen, sei nicht so wie deine Mutter, du bist gerne hier, du bist gerne woanders. (…)”