Back of the Knees

I'm not sure what to write about. I have a block. I've written a few articles. One about discrimination and mental health. Waffling on about media representations of mental illness. It's impact on us and our impact on it. 

I started another about my loss of humour. I didn't like that one either. Maybe I didn't like the one about my loss of humour because it's not funny. 

Given I'm at a crossroads, I think the only options is to write about Saturday's therapy session.

I went to the session to discover, what's represented in my chest and the back of my right knee. Two areas I gravitate to when I'm feeling very unsafe. In my chest there's pride. I described it as expansive, the puffing out of the chest. Nice and simple. The back of my knee, the area I pinch, is more complicated and required greater investigation.

Sometime in the early 90's, I was fortunate enough to see Vivian Stanshall perform in London. Vivienne was a founding member of The Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band. He also wrote a radio play called 'Sir Henry At Rawlinson's End,' which later became a film. In that performance Vivian spoke a line from the play, "did you know, there is no proper name for the back of the knees?" Unfortunately, London's preeminent back of the knee specialist was in attendance, he shouted back "yes there is, it's called the popliteal fossa." Which I've just noted could be mockney rhyming slang for 'tosser.' Vivian refrained from calling the heckler 'a right bleedin popliteal fossa.' But he did let the man know, that he knew. As a result of my therapy on Saturday, I can now confidently boast, I know more about my knee pit than Vivian or the knee specialist. I cannot however, claim to know anything about the shallow depression at the back of their knees.

I told my therapist, "when I pinch the back on my knee,  I feel I want to collapse. Like one of those toys, the ones where you push a button on the bottom, then a giraffe falls over." Miraculously he knew what I meant, but nether of us knew what they're called, I've since discovered they're called 'push puppets.' I continued: "There's judgment there too, but not weakness, there's a strength." The judgement, is for my dislike of people that I find threatening. Not people who want to punch me in the face, the other minority, acquaintances who demonstrate good social skills. People who exhibit qualities that contrast my lack of social ability. I'm 'challenged' by people who are able to express themselves in public, even if that expression is cringeworthy. It's not that they don't care what others think, it's that they've realised that expression of self, is more important than potential embarrassment. When I meet these people I judge them, I push them away, refuse to engage with them. Tell my partner I think they're total cocks. I wouldn't say I'm ashamed of these feelings and behaviours. But I'm aware they're damaging my ability to connect with people. My behaviours keep me incarcerated. So I'm judging myself for being mean to others and ultimately to myself. It's a very black and white, one dimensional perspective. It's not how I want to live, I want to engage with people, find out who they really are, even if they are a bit of a popliteal fossa. So I know what I have to do. I have to learn and practice healthy social skills.

Of course that means I'll have to socialise more. The last time I actively entered a social space was two weeks ago. Of course I've spoken to people. A few souls pass through the house I share with my partner. But I will have to do more.

So the thing that lives in my knee pit is my conscience, my social conscience if you like. Maybe I pinch it when I've completely disappeared, in an effort to wake it up. That feels right, it sounds crazy, but it feels right. There's a desperation to the action.



I'm mapping all these discoveries on a drawing of my body. Of course the body I've drawn is thinner, more muscular, in all ways better than the real thing. I'll have to work on a more positive attitude towards my body at some point too.