My unskillful 4am letter to A

​A,

This is going to be the least skillful series of moments I’ve had with you in a while. And yes, I realize that I am already assuming that and have no proof. I also know I am allowed to show up messy and unskilled, and isn’t that the whole point? But bear with me.

My whole body literally recoils and trembles when I think about you reading this letter about this topic, with shame and ‘how dare you even ask about it’ and ‘its not okay to need or want something’, which is why I’m bringing it up. Because I’ve now obsessed over how wrong it is to the point where I need to address it with you simply to challenge that. Even if you say no, I know that you will also reaffirm it is okay to ask and okay to bring it up. 

I need a pap exam. I need one badly, at this point. With a family history of early uterine cancer I should be getting one every 6-8 months. It’s been three years. And <naturopath> has been really helpful. She suggested a lot of things that would be really helpful, including having people there. She said she has had clients bring their friends, their partners, or their counselors. And as soon as she said that last one I was done – because I had not even considered having you there as an option. I’ve been thinking about that non-stop and having this running commentary through my head about how dumb that is, and counselors don’t do that, and how stupid it is to even want you to be there. 

This opens so many cans of worms. The sexual assault, the fact that sexuality and sex were never talked about, shame around the fact that I need assistance in any way, shame around even wanting assistance and wanting to grab on to that. A really painful and stupid memory I never want to talk about. The fact that as a grown woman I can’t suck it up and get a pap done. That I’m overreacting and making a big deal out of nothing. 

Let’s be clear that I’m not even sure I would want you there. Its more curiosity at this point. I don’t know what I want to do. I know that I need it done and soon, and I also know that the idea of you there is super comforting but brings up a whole lot of shit around a lot of things. But I am obsessing over this, and whether or not you’d do it, and it’s bringing up so much crap that I need to talk about it, but to talk about it I need to ask you. So I guess my question is – is that even a thing? Off site counselling? I searched the internet and polled my friends who go to therapy and it seems like yes, it’s a thing counselors do. But is it a thing you do? Or would do? I just need to know what my options are so I can figure this out. Because if I know that you accompanying me to super scary shit outside this room is not a thing you do, then I know and we can deal with that because regardless I need help with this whole situation. And I’m not talking about the situation right now in order to avoid asking you. 

I have also assumed your answer is no. I have gone so far to assume that you don’t and imagine you telling me “not to be ridiculous” and that “I’m a big girl and can go do it myself”- and those are childhood narratives. Which is why I know I need to ask, because those aren’t things you would say. But I’ve also let a part of myself believe in the idea that maybe you do. Maybe you would come. And I am trying not to control the situation from inside my own head, or follow the path of “of course she wouldn’t you’re wrong for asking you should be ashamed of even thinking about needing help” and not asking supports that narrative. So yes.

It’s like you said the other day – asking and having the question heard and respected is often more important than what the answer would be. And like I said, I honestly do not know what I want to do about this pap and assault situation. And to talk about it I need to ask you this question.

So I am asking today in an effort to show myself two things. One, that I shouldn’t assume your reaction (or anyone’s reaction) to things is going to fall in line with the past. And two, that it’s safe to ask you questions like this. (And a third reason, I definitely need to talk about this sexual assault and sexuality and my issues with doctors even though all of it makes my skin crawl).

See what I mean? Not eloquent or skillful at all. I just need to know if that’s a thing you do or would do, that’s it. But I’m so ashamed to ask. 

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18 thoughts on “My unskillful 4am letter to A

  1. As everyone else has said, I don’t think its unskillful. I think writing out and being raw and real is actually more skillful then holding stuff inside or trying to pretend its not an issue. I think you are very skillful and brave. I hope you do share this with her. (I’ve never gone to a gyn appointment and I’m nearly 40)

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Unskillful is probably not the right adjective. You might be more accurate with words like “self aware,” “mature,” “trusting,” or “brave.” You have recognized what you may want. You realize it may or may not be possible, so you are asking for information. You are prepared to accept an answer either way. You are demonstrating your trust that, no matter if she says yes or no, she will give a kind and respectful response. You are also showing that you have learned and are applying what she’s been teaching you in therapy. So I imagine she will be impressed by your willingness to ask for what you want (or might want). I am certainly impressed! Go PD!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. You did so good writing this! It took a lot of courage to ask a question you feel so wrong for asking. And you can give it to her when you see her— I believe in you, and I know you are very strong and brave. Xx

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Unskillful? Uh, no… asking this question is extremely skillful, and brave, even though I’d assume (at least, with T) that the answer would be know, and to ask that even knowing that, knowing that whatever the answer, it will be worth working through with A – holy crap. So much respect for you, PD!
    I know I’m young, but I was supposed to go to the GYN starting at age 18. I’m 21, still haven’t gone, still no plans for going, even though it’s hanging over my head. Not sure how to overcome this… so I’m still avoiding it. You’re not alone. xo

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I agree with Rayne. And I wouldn’t call this unskillful. It seems unskillful to you, but it comes across as skillful to me because you’re asking a question and you’re starting to move toward discussing the assault. It’s brave of you to ask this question, and I know she will treat it with the utmost respect, regardless of the answer.

    Liked by 5 people

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