See me when you look at me

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Trying and failing

-Samantha's POV

''It has been a while, Samantha.''

Dr. Gray looks at me and I don't know what to say. It feels so strange to see him again, especially after I left the YCF program.

''You wanted to talk to me.'' Dr. Gray continues. ''I haven't seen you in six months, so why now?''

I shrug my shoulders and I pull at a lose thread of my sleeve.

''Samantha, you are a very intelligent young lady. I think you can give me a better answer then a shrug.''

I sight and pull harder on the thread.

''Because I'm not fine,'' I whisper.

''I'm not a young man anymore, Samantha. Can you please speak up?''

''Because I'm not fine! Nothing is fine!''

Dr. Gray looks at me and to my surprise he smiles.

''What the hell! I said that I'm not fine and you find that amusing? Are you serious?''

''I'm not amused. I smiled because I am proud of you. There was a time were you wouldn't admit that you were not fine, let alone where you would ask for help.''

Dr. Gray pours a glass of water in for me and he hands me the glass, before he leans back in his chair.

''You are emancipated, right?''

I take a sip of my water and I nod.

''You are still in the GSEP?''

Again I nod.

''You are living with your aunt and uncle now, why is that? You are emancipated and you are financial independent.''

''Because I couldn't leave Emma with my mother or in foster care, since I'm not able to adopt her yet.''

Dr. Gray nods and he writes something down.

''Do you like living with your aunt and uncle?''

I think about the question and I start pulling at the thread again.

''It's still feels strange.'' I say after a while.

''Tell me more, what feels strange to you?''

''Everything!'' I groan. ''I can't understand that they just took us in. My aunt had a room ready for us, well sort of.'' I chuckle when I think of the time where my aunt showed me my and Emma's room.

''The furniture still had to be put together, but my aunt finished painting the room. Green, because she remembered that it was my favourite colour and on Emma's side of the room she painted fairy tale characters. The room smelled like fresh paint and it was in complete chaos, but it was still the nicest room I ever had!''

I take a big gulp of water and I let out a deep sigh.

''My aunt and uncle are loving and caring people. They always ask me about my day. They want me to call or text when I'm staying out and they help me take care of Emma. They want to, but also because they keep telling me that I'm supposed to be an teenager and not a parent.''

''They sound like very nice people,'' Dr. Gray says in a amused tone. ''And how are you getting along with you cousins?''

''Mia just turned nine and she is so sharp. Always has a comeback and I love that about her. Tyler is my age and he knows how to get under my skin. He teases me a lot and he steals my chocolate, but he also has my back.''

Dr. Gray chuckles and he puts his notebook down.

''Do you know what you are describing now, Samantha?''

''No.''

''You are describing a stable and loving home. You have a family that takes care of you. A family that worries about you and want what is best for you. It feels strange to you, but this is what most people would consider to be normal.''

''It doesn't feel normal or real,'' I mutter.

''You never had stability in your life or adults that didn't let you down. It will be hard for you to believe that your family will not let you down and for you to trust them.''

I put the glass back on the table and I get up. ''How do I do that? Not expecting the worst of people, I mean?'' I ask while I pace around the room.

''So far I started dating and getting real feelings for someone, only to push that person away in a heartless way. I went to a party where they served alcohol and I'm pretty sure I could get other stuff there too. The worst thing is that I lost my temper with my uncle, like in a very bad way.''

''Let's break that down,'' Dr Gray suggest. ''Did you know that there was going to be alcohol at that party?''

''No, but I should have expected it.''

''That's not important. What did you do when you knew there was alcohol?''

''I drank water.''

''Did someone offer you an alcoholic drink?''

''Yes.''

''What did you do?''

''I drank water.''

''Were you tempted to drink of do drugs?''

''No.''

''Then lets move on to the next thing. Why did you push someone away that you really liked?''

''Because he deserved so much more then me,'' I say and I finally stop pacing. I just stare at my reflection in the window as I force my tears back.

''I used to throw myself in relationships, because I didn't wanted to be alone. I swore to myself that I could be on my own and that I wouldn't end up like my mother. Dating was therefore a terrible idea, because I gave him false hope. He has no idea who I am or that I'm gone after I turn eighteen.''

''Why are you hiding your past, Samantha?''

I turn around and I snort.

''Isn't that obvious? I'm ashamed of the things that I did! I'm still so angry about many things and I know my past will change everything. He will never look at me the same way and I don't want that!''

''Samantha, I'm going to be very honest with you know. You are going to hear me out and you will wait three minutes before you respond. Are the rules clear?''

I tense up, but I nod.

''You said that you are not doing fine, that nothing is fine and that's bullshit. You got yourself out of a very unhealthy and dangerous situation. You hit rock bottom at the youth correctional facility, but you came out so strong! For the first time in your life, you took charge. Changing your deals with your sponsors. Deals that are now in your best interest and those deals helped you get emancipated.''

I'm starting to feel uncomfortable, but Dr. Gray is not done yet.

''You are in one of the best educational programs of the country. You are taking care of your sister in the best way you can. You did all those things on your own. Now you have people that really care about you and that's scares you. That's why you don't want them to get close to you and you push them away, before they get that chance. You think that your past will change everything, but how do you know that?''

A single tear rolls down my cheek and I'm shaking now.

''I just know.''

''You don't know that, Samantha. How can you know that if you refuse to give anybody a chance to prove you wrong? You try to push everyone away so you don't get hurt, but you are still hurting. My question therefore is, are you ready to change that?''

I plop down on the chair and I start pulling at the thread again. What do I want? Why am I here? All I know is that I'm starting to lose my mind and I'm so scared to hit rock bottom again. I don't ever want to feel like that again. So lost, so angry and so ready to give up on everything.

The image of me in the hospital appears in my mind and start to feel nauseous. The text that I sent to Alexander follows and I can her myself screaming at my uncle again. I hear the sound of breaking glass and Dr. Gray is just in time.

I throw up in the garbage can and I can't seem to stop. I keep gagging even when there is nothing left to throw up.

''How are you feeling now?'' Dr. Gray asks after a while.

''Empty,'' I snort.

Dr. Gray gives me a stern look and I sight.

''I'm done feeling like this. I want to stay healthy and I want to be happy. I want to be able to trust people. I want to stop pretending that everything is fine with me. I'm done pretending all together, because it's exhausting!''

''Very good, Samantha. We are getting somewhere now!''

''Really? Then why am I feeling worse now than I did before I came here?''

Dr. Gray chuckles and he puts the garbage bin back on the floor.

''You a smart young lady, Samantha. You made an appointment with me when you felt you needed help. You are finally admitting to yourself that you are not fine and that you willing to work on that. That is huge progress in comparison to our sessions at the YCF. Anger and pain consumed you there, but not anymore. You are ready to face it and to deal with it.''

I'm physically and emotionally exhausted now.

''And how am I going to do all that?''

''The truth, by trying and failing. Facing your challenges will not be easy, Samantha. You will try and fail a lot, but that's okay. Because we can discuss everything in our weekly sessions. Will it be hard? Yes, it's going to be very hard. Are you going to want to give up? Yes, but you will not allow yourself to. Because in the end all of this is going to be worth it.''

Dr. Gray smiles at my sceptical look and he walks to his desk. He opens a drawer and he takes out another notebook. He flips through the pages and then he walks back to me.

''This is what you wrote after we had a few sessions. Can you please read it out loud?''

I look at the page and I roll my eyes.

''Give it up, old man. You can't fix me, I'm broken.''

Dr. Gray nods and then he throws the notebook in the garbage bin.

''You were not broken then and you are not broken now. You are a person that it figuring it out. You are trying, you are failing and you are succeeding. Do you know what that sounds like?''

''Can't you just tell me,'' I mutter.

''Shockingly normal, Samantha. Keep up the good work and I will see you next week!''

I get up and I start walking to the door.

''So my homework is to try and fail, Dr. Gray?''

I hear a chuckle behind me and I smile.

''Exactly. Try and fail until you succeed.''


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