my friend j (who was my ex-wife’s college boyfriend and for that reason i’ve avoided him for the past several years, but fuck it, enough time has passed, and i love him and he loves me, and we’ve known each other since we were 18, so let’s get on with the rest of our lives now, okay?) and i meet twice a month for “therapy.” therapy entails liquid lunch or drunk painting or playing with cats or whatever feels therapeutic that day. j and i are equally weird in our chaotic and fluid geniuses. he’s autistic. i’m severely introverted. we are correspondingly sensitive and enjoy the dark as much as the light. we entertain ourselves with playful evil pokes, cracking each other up by saying offensive shit that doesn’t offend us. for example:
j: i’ve always wanted to ask a pretty girl how you deal with all the unwanted attention from guys.
me: i’m not that pretty, but when i need to, i utilize the “bitch shield.”
j: (with a look that is unconvinced of my not prettiness) explain “bitch shield.”
me: i throw out a bitchy too-full-of-myself vibe that sneers “don’t even think about it, buddy, because i’m waaaayyyy out of your league” which works on everybody but assholes. with assholes, i never feel guilty for acting like an actual bitch, because they’re assholes.
j: huh. does that work?
me: mostly. and as an incest survivor, i have a highly attuned sense of who is safe and who is dangerous. violent men feel dangerously familiar to me, so i easily avoid them.
j: that could be your second line of defense, the “daddy raped me shield.” men liked fucked up chicks, but not that fucked up.
at this point i laugh uproariously for eight minutes during which j and i take this line of thinking far out left and offend everyone within hearing distance and don’t give a damn because we heal ourselves and the world via chaos.
j and i are underperforming geniuses. we always have been. we don’t care much about whatever other people care about, even though we wish we did, we feel guilty for not caring. we glory in our un-cool-ness and mock our lack of ambition. except, we are secretly rocking the world. i mindfully journey toward enlightenment each day while trying to help as many people on the planet as possible. j rescues geriatric cats from the shelter and paints brilliant masterpieces. his paintings earn him nothing now and will fetch millions once he dies. we are therapeutic for each other because we have no social boundaries, we never have to dumb anything down for the other, and we won’t get butt-hurt over something stupid because of the first two things listed in this sentence. we are a club of two. bartenders love and hate us. we prefer the dumb and pretty staff who don’t listen to us because they’re thinking about their hair or where to place their next tattoo. we keep our order simple and tip well. rounds of tequila. we never sit for longer than two hours. j drinks faster than i do…and more…so i’m in charge of regulating and i know my limits. we hate high-fiving and refuse to participate in that annoying social custom. we have our own hand gesture code, a gentle karate chop to the arm means “i agree.” we sweat profusely. j claims his sweating is a side effect of his medication and he doesn’t know what’s up with my sweating. because i’ve only got one kidney, i have to go to the bathroom more often than most people, and j makes awkward small talk with other bar patrons while i’m in the loo. upon my return, i have to suppress my laughter because he sounds normal when he’s chit-chatting with the masses and i know the ruse his autistic genius self is playing on these guys. i’m grateful for j. we normalize this ill-fitting life experience for one another. i hope you have at least one friend you can meet for “therapy” twice a month. i hope your friend is as smart, funny, and creative as mine. i hope you realize your perfect imperfection and celebrate your greatness on a regular basis…because that’s where the healing happens.