Wednesday, December 14, 2011
"I'm sure you're busy enough without being a therapist."
"You know what, I actually am. But I care about you. And I want to work with you and I won't be able to if you're sick."
So I blurted it all to the professor today. He saw me in the student room and we chatted for a while about a paper that I'm working on. He suggested that we go to his office and go over the data with another lady that we are working with. As we walk, he tugs at my high waisted pants.
"I love the high waisted pants. It makes you look very tall and slim."
I smile at him and he puts an arm around my shoulders and we joke as we walk. I've never felt so cared for. D, the lady we are working with looks surprised to see us like that. After discussing work, he asked if there was anything I wanted to talk to him about. I had spent the entire day telling myself I wasn't going to say a word to him. So what do I say? I tell him I've been making myself sick all week.
And so we talk about some things. I think he thinks I'm being a bit too sensitive about them. He asks me if I think I'm fat. I say yes. He asks me why. I answer because I've always been called fat.
"What sort of horrible people would call you fat?"
He thinks I'm too thin and wants me to gain some weight. I tell him my dad calls me fat and has done for a long time. He gives me a look. He's surprised any father would call his daughter fat. He asks me if I'm depressed. He wants me to get treatment for it.
"I can get you treatment, someone you can talk to. It would be discreet, nobody would know."
I refuse. But he says that if I'm not feeling better by Easter then he is going to get me help. Very quickly, ground rules are laid down.
"Don't lose any more weight for now."
It's a compromise. I want to lose more weight, he wants me to gain a few kilos so we settle for zero change. To be honest, I think I can lose some more before he notices.
"I think we should meet every week to talk about this."
It's going to be hard as I'm living in a different city next year. But he says I can go see him on weekends, especially if I'm going to be working on weekends. He tells me that work is going to be okay. That the delays aren't my fault. That work isn't something I should be killing myself over. That the big prize is mine, I'm going to get it. The big prize that guarantees a position as an ophthalmologist. I don't know what to say.
We talk about work a little bit more. Then he says he has to get back to work. He stands up, walks around from his huge mahogany desk and comes around to me and just holds me for a while.
What have I done. Now that he knows, I will never be able to let this go. He won't forget it. He was going to take me to the department scale to make sure I weighed how much I said I weighed. He offered to adopt me. As a joke, but semi-seriously. He wants to ask me over to his house for dinner so that he could make me eat and make sure I don't throw up afterwards.
Part of me regrets telling him. But all of me has never felt this safe and cared for. I have never believed until now that everything is going to be okay.