I couldn’t actually believe I was actually here in this room right now. I didn’t know if it was out of disbelief or that I that I had finally walked through those doors and committed to what I said I would do. The warm complimenting two tone espresso colored walls, the soft plush of the sofa in which I was sitting in, the Azoulay art on the wall in front of me, it just all felt like a buffer, prepping me for what I was about to endure. Nothing is as stressful as going back in time and having to relive experiences to help us cope with situations that are holding us back in life. But here I was, in Dr. Anne Harlow Klein’s Private office, tucked away in the fluffy Spruce trees of the Colorado Rockies. It was a sanctuary, it was a place of healing and it was a place where I had come as a final pitstop, a final attempt to cope with the emotions that I had been holding on to for so many years.
“Stella?” I looked up to be greeted by a soft smile, bright eyes, and a welcoming hand inviting me into an open door. “Welcome to Calm Springs Stella, I’m Dr. Klein please come in..” as I walked in and began to feel at ease, I was almost taken aback.. her office was huge. I mean. HUGE. There was about 30ft of nothing but floor to ceiling picture windows giving views of the Colorado Rockies and the trees in sight. The views of the skies were beautiful. The clouds were fluffy, rich and white in texture, the birds had taken flight from the trees below and you could here them caw out in the skies. The snow caps on the mountaintops were glistening as if diamonds had been tossed in the snow, and to take it all in from inside her warm office, I felt at peace. Dr. Klein was sitting in her chair, as I had seen her take a seat out of the corner of my eye. Examining the room I turned away from the windows and was in awe of her room and the setting. Of course it was beautiful. Very ‘lodgy,’ Her wood burning fireplace was burning slowly, lightly crackling and snapping the embers as it burned. The deep tones of her rustic walnut furniture complimented the indoor/outdoor ambience of her office. “Your office is certainly one that should be seen by many more people Dr.Klein.” She smiled kindly and thanked me. I was still standing, I noticed she really didn’t have much seating. Her chair was a large one. A puffy, wood calf hair chair, funny – but characteristic. It had a blanket in the seat, if I could guess, it’s so she could keep the integrity of the chair.
“The view is beautiful isn’t it? When I had my office reconstructed, I made sure that I wanted the views of our Rockies to be the highlight of it. It is why you’ll see that I have my furniture to a minimum, and very little wall art. You, like most of my Patients, tend to wander towards the glass, sometimes even when they open up during our time. No season changes that effect on my Patients.” I turned between her and the glass to view the Rockies glistening as she spoke to me, “You see when I was young, about 19, and just entering into College, I would go to the Rockies and clear my mind there. It holds many of my memories, and it got me through some of my greatest challenges. I got through many challenges by visiting those mountaintops and when my Patients come in and view those very mountaintops, we climb them both together, with dedication. ”
Man she was so good, with those words, she took me back to the night of February when all of this happened. When I thought I had a grip on things but I didn’t and it all came crashing down around me. A tear came out of my eyes and the rockies that gleamed, lit up even more. The view, was enormous and I felt so small all over again. Small like the woman that was underneath that man that night. Small like the woman who was powerless. Small like the woman who was so confused that her thoughts were garbled into nothing but emotion and confused thoughts.
“Dr.Klein.” I said as I turned around.. forgive me for my emotion, this is hard for me, it’s been so long since i’ve been in this place. “
I grabbed a tissue, then five more, and I took a seat. —
“ I can’t understand how things got to the point of where it all boiled over. “
Dr. Klein handed me the box of tissues as my eyes filled with tears and even though I had taken 6 tissues, I was going to need more. This was going to be a very long 2 hours.
“ I understand the point of how and why but I can’t understand what would make a man want to come inside a woman’s home and physically or even mentally want to hold her down. I had met a person who had goals, ambition, drive, and I was happy. I went to work everyday happy. With a smile. My friends in my life wanted to know who this “new person” was and even though things weren’t what we call serious, I thought we were alright. In that time, it was enough for me. It’s a lot in this era to have someone who is so busy working on their future to stop for a minute to focus on something else and I never spoke up to get all amped up about it but, I honestly felt like I was important and I hadn’t felt important in months.”
I paused as I stared toward the fireplace, slightly crackling, the fire curving and bending. I had only gone into this much detail with so many people and I knew that in order to become the person of strength I was before, I needed to face it all, head on.
“It was a Tuesday. It had been about 4 weeks since I had any contact with him, Michael, but there he was knocking at the door. I was in the bathroom when he had been let in by family members and I heard his voice through the door and I thought, no it can’t be him. I must be out of my mind.. but there he was. I opened the door and he was sitting in my bedroom. On my bed, looking at me as if the past year hadn’t been us at each others throat’s.”
Dr. Klein: ‘Were you shocked to see him?’
“Of course. It had been 4 weeks since we had last contacted each other. He looked at me as if he was going to ask me to marry him, and I had this feeling inside me to keep myself guarded from him. I went to my mirror, started fixing my hair and I actually had to resist looking at him because things, the energy in the room, felt wrong. He shouldn’t have been there. And now I know, the look on his face was guilt.”
Dr. Klein got up and walked toward a small beverage cooler and took out two bottled waters as I continued to speak. She sat down one in front of me and opened hers.
“I can’t even remember the details of what was said, or how things went between us, but the way he looked at me, that night I thought he loved me. I thought he was there to reconcile. After everything we had been through.. So absolutely outrageous of me to think that way. I sat down on my bed after getting my hair fixed and then, the look on his face changed.”
Tears just ran down my face as I stood to view the Rockies
“Stella, this face of guilt, do you hold on to that?”
“I do, he continues to have that look of guilt when I see him.”
“What happened that night Stella?”
“Madness. Absolute terror. A person whom I am not familiar with approached me and stared into my soul and tried to take something so precious from me. He tried with all the power he had to take my strength, but I absolutely fought to deny him that right. He tried to strip me of my courage, but I pulled away from him and I still have some left. He fought to pull away my determination, but I pulled back harder and when we were done struggling with one another, I stared into his eyes and was horrified.”
My eyes felt as if I had been rubbing them all night, they were sore, puffy, and out of focus as tears kept forming between my lashes.
“Dr. Klein, I don’t think Michael’s intentions were to make me feel as a powerless person, as I don’t want to say we are in victim roles, but in that moment when he pulled the string on his running shorts then the string on my ceiling fan to then make the room pitch black, I know I was not willing to be in the room whatsoever with the person who was in front of me. Am I hurt? Of course. I want the bits of strength and courage and pride and tears back that were left on my bed that evening. I want whoever who walked in that evening to have never walked in to my life. I want the pain and the struggle and the silent screams I yelled to have been heard for miles. Dr. Klein, how many women sit silently as they are physically and mentally abused? How many women are stretched past their limits hourly, daily, weekly, monthly and pray to God for a resolution that will or will never come?
Dr. Klein, how many women wear the scars and bruises above or below the skin on a day to day basis because of the pain they endure from abuse? I have so many questions that just simply go unanswered and it’s not your responsibility to answer them for me, I understand that I’m curious. But I’m hurt. I have since moved on to a better state from that moment but I never healed. I walk with my head a little lower than I used to, my step has a little less bounce, my smile has less radiance, and my eyes reflect the memories of the struggles in which they have captured and sealed in my mind for a lifetime.
Dr. Klein, I’d like to face my pain head on and thats why I came to you. To try and regrow what is mine. Strength, power, courage, and dedication. ”
I turned around to see Dr. Klein penning down notes and looking back at me, somber and listening on as I assumed she would be. The trees slightly swayed in the winds and I thought back to a more calming time in my life when I felt as if I didn’t have to reach out to such an unknown place to find healing. Yet, here I was, staring at a such a majestic scene and revisiting my history with a woman who also found hope in those hills. A small series of chimes went off and Dr.Klein began to speak. I turned around, walked back to the couch and sat down.
“In our week stay here that we have planned out, you will find that we really want to delve into who you are and what satisfies you mentally and physically. There is plenty here that you have discussed with me so far and we will discuss that one one one, on our walks, hikes, swims, and more. We have coaching sessions that include yoga, spiritual sessions, and empowerment settings that are invigorating and help us get us back on our feet. I want you to know that the situation you went through is one that we want to help you through…”
I listened on to her speak with a stuffy nose, and tears streaming down my face and I felt the weights that I had been carrying lift away from my shoulders. As I looked out to the mountains, I smiled, and felt a bit of the gleam from the snowy mountain caps reflect back into my smile.