“You are a nice person, Rina. You should be nice to yourself too.”
This is what my therapist said yesterday. I’ve been thinking about it. I guess this is a typical saying in textbooks for therapists but it’s a fresh idea to me. I’ve never thought that.
I’m confused! I don’t know who I am. This is my dark question that I always have. If I don’t know who I am, there is no way to be nice to myself.
“Rina, why are you worried about such things? ” my boyfriend, Kenji, says.
He is the only good thing that has happened in my life. He is the most cheerful person I’ve ever met. He always has a big smile on his face. His personality is totally opposite from mine.
We are sitting on a patio. It’s a new cafe that just opened up a few days ago. It’s between his place and my place, close to the busiest fashion street in Tokyo. There are always new shops open every day around here.
I ask Kenji, “How do I look?”
“You look like a very attractive young lady to me. Don’t think too much. That’s your problem!”
When I was 14 years old, my teacher asked me to read a poem and explain the meaning of it in class. After I finished, the teacher said that I have no imagination. The cold comment has remained inside of my brain for more than ten years now.
“I don’t have any imagination.” I say it again. I’ve repeated this story to Kenji a few times.
“Don’t worry about the teacher. Of course, you have a great imagination or maybe even too much of an imagination. That’s why you’re always worried about nothing. He hurt your feelings and it’s still hurting you.”
He pats my head like adults do to small children.
“That’s not true! I’m a failure because I have no imagination.” I say.
The cafe has stylish china but the inside of the teacup is very dark green. I can’t see the colour of the tea. I hate this. I want to see it. My anxiety increases, I almost cry. Kenji gives me a quick kiss. I felt his beard. He didn’t shave this morning, it’s Saturday just before noon. I see a shadow of a tree coming onto our table.
I told him what my therapist said. “I can’t be nice to me because I don’t know who I am.” I look at him like a hopeless child.
The poem is written by a Japanese poet in the 19th century. It’s my favourite poem. A deer stood in a deep forest. My teacher said that there was a hunter who pointed a gun toward her, and they were looking at each other, but I didn’t think so. I still don’t. I believe the deer was alone. My feelings were badly hurt because I love the poem.
I shake my head to make sure my brain is sitting in the right position. This strange habit started after that happened. Why do I still do this? That was more than ten years ago.
Kenji smiles at me and says, “I know who you are. Even if you don’t know how to be nice to yourself, I’ll be nice to you for the rest of my life.”
What if we ever break up? I shake my head again. How could anyone say that I don’t have any imagination? Why does this cafe use these type of teacups? Who is the guy with me right now? I don’t know anything anymore.
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