We have Russian cleaners who come clean our house. Today a new woman came to clean, and I chatted briefly with her and hung out in the kitchen while she cleaned my writing cave. Then I came up and we got to talking.
Every time someone new comes, I always ask them what they really do. Or did. Many Russian women immigrants have degrees up the wazoo, and after coming to America work as cleaners to make ends meet while they study English and try to figure out how to continue doing work they've been doing for years in Russia. Of course, it was just as I thought. She asked me if I'm a writer and what kinds of books I write and how I publish them, then told me she wrote several books too. In Russian. Turns out, she is a psychoanalyst and has worked in her field for years, as a researcher, as a counselor for abused children and sexually assaulted and battered women, having advised them when they gave statements to authorities.
After this we could hardly stop talking.
Finally, I snuck back upstairs and wrote some more, but it was hopeless. I kept thinking about the things she told me. So I asked her to knock on my door when she was done. She did. And we talked for the next hour, diving deeper and deeper into darkness. I couldn't shut up. I started cautiously explaining why I began writing, giving her the safe clipped version of my suicidal thoughts and the reason for them. But the more we talked, the more I understood that she has heard lots of stories like mine. So I opened up. I told her everything. And she nodded and finished my sentences.
I forgot all about writing.
This was the second time in my life that I was able to talk about my father sexually abusing me in Russian to a Russian woman who understood and cited similar cases, and acknowledged that's it very common. She was like a mother figure, a mother who listened to me talk about my pain and UNDERSTOOD. VALIDATED. DIDN'T CALL ME CRAZY. I tried really hard not to cry. And I couldn't stop talking. I was sputtering. It was rushing out of me. By the time she had to go, I only started and could talk for another week. It was such a relief to talk about it in Russian. I do talk about my past in English, but it's not quite the same. The only other person I was able to share it with, without being presented with a wall of silence or called crazy, is my girlfriend Olya whose aunt is a therapist and has seen thousands of cases like mine. Olya always understood.
We have agreed to keep in touch. She is gathering interviews from women and asked me if I could contribute. I said yes. She is trying to make enough money cleaning houses to open her own little practice. And it hit me. I better hurry up and start making money so I could be her first client. So I could pay her for psychoanalysis in Russian. Serendipitously, I have written down on my to-do list to look for a therapist. My insurance covers it. I just have to find one. What's happening is, I'm comfortable writing TUBE, comfortable talking about the pain I've lived through via fiction. I couldn't a year ago. That's why I trashed 375K words of previous TUBE drafts. It wasn't the truth. I was hiding behind little half-lies. I wasn't ready to face it. I wasn't ready to write it. I am now.
The universe has been watching me, I'm convinced. And it has seen that I'm ready to move to a new plateau, to start digging deeper, so it's sensing me signals. But I'm afraid. I know that if I go into therapy again, it will plunge me into darkness before I'll climb out the other end. So I don't know when I'll do this. TUBE is pressing. So is Janna. Maybe after Janna. Which means in two years. Maybe more. But I got relief today. This one hour of talking did wonders. Forget psychoanalysis, I wish I could simply talk to her. I'd pay for just talking to support her. Damn. Gotta hurry up. Gotta keep writing, keep reading, keep studying my craft so I can do this. Well then, back to writing I go.