So today I had to do something really difficult. With my own impending move I decided that it was time to revisit my childhood home and collect anything from there that I want to keep. My relationship with my mother is strained at best and I haven’t been back there for 7 years, which was only to collect a couple of things I needed. I have known I needed to go back for a while now but have been avoiding it in an attempt to protect myself but I have only been holding back the inevitable and building myself up over it more than I should.
I decided last weekend to just bite the bullet and ask my auntie to arrange it for me. This week in the evenings I have been very on edge, grumpy and short and I know it. Sensory wise I have been against touch and aggravated by little things like being accidently brushed against more than what I usually am. Sleeping has been difficult and I have felt more emotional, feeling upset over silly little things.
This morning I was awake really early, and didn’t sleep very well. Dreams plagued me and I didn’t feel at all rested. My partner and I got ready and made my way round to my mothers. When we got there she greeted us but thankfully disappeared into the living room leaving us to it. I am glad I really was not up for conversation when it would only be fake and forced. I am not very good at pretending that things between us are okay and create conversation because it is the ‘nice’ thing to do. Not because I am horrible or anything like that but I just do not like being fake. I feel like a hypocrite. How can I say that I want nothing to do with her, that she has had such a negative effect on my life that I cannot put myself through having her in my life then how can I pretend to be okay when and if we occasionally cross paths. To be honest it hurts more to pretend. I know this is controversial for a lot of people. The way they see it is we only get one set of parents and we should love them no matter what. Neither of them have done anything to deserve that title or role in years and years. They were the adults and yet I was the one that suffered growing up. Now I am the adult and I have to make the decision that’s best for my health, not for theirs, they never did that for me and I cannot risk loosing myself because of them. I am making a decision which of course has been exceptionally difficult. I have always hoped that they would prove me wrong, tried to be the bigger person and let it be but if they are not willing to put in the work, try, make an effort then why should I continue to put myself through disappointment and immense pain over something that is never going to improve. They are an aspect of my past. They will never be part of my future in any way. I know this hurts some people but for once in my life I am deciding to be selfish.
Being back in my childhood room (even if it was just a collection of boxes, bags and old furniture now) bought back a lot of memories both good and bad before I even had a chance to look through anything. I had made the decision that this needed to be as quick a process as possible to help me make it through. I felt overwhelmed with feelings from the past pouring over me but decided throwing myself into sorting things was for the best.
I started with my small collection of books, easily deciding what ones I wanted to keep and what ones to leave. Next came the hardest part of the whole process. My collections. My obsessive, immersive behaviour is something I have battled with for as long as I know, but some of my worst, most prominent were stored within this moment.
Lets start with my biggest immersion I have ever had, atomic kitten. This room was once covered wall to wall, celling and doors with pictures of the singers, no matter how big or small they were. These had long ago been taken down and placed in a very large bag. Going through these were utterly bitter sweet. Remembering how much these meant to me made me want to fall straight back through the rabbit hole and immerse myself in them all over again. I knew I had to be brutal with myself and not let myself do this. I have kept all the signed memorabilia that I have and a few odd mementos.
Next came all my csi, charmed and greys anatomy collections which is a lot less but still a significant amount of magazines, photos, posters etc. Again I really wanted to take a lot of it with me, especially all the magazines but this just isn’t sensible or feasible given that we are moving into a flat. I also had to keep telling myself, I have survived without these things for many many years now, they are not essential only desirable. It was hard to walk away from them all but I am now strong enough to do it. Especially with the support and strength of my partner, and his ability to say no we do not need that.
I also found lots of old photographs of my sisters when they were babies and young children which I was really happy with. I am so happy to have collected these again. These are the moments that I wanted. I know so much is digital now a days but flicking through photos will always be something I enjoy.
In the end we didn’t take loads from the room, but I have taken enough. I am happy walking away knowing that I have what I need of my memories, all my photos from the past and some memories of the things I have loved before. I am immensely proud of myself for doing this, especially for being strong enough to walk away without everything. There is a time not so long ago where I would not have been able to do this. I would not have been able to leave anything behind. Obsession would have controlled me, but today I won. I made sensible decisions and not only that but I feel happy with it. I am not sitting here thinking about all the things I wish I had collected. Of course I still have obsessions and immersions now and I do still like to collect. I have shown and proved I can be more controlled over this.
I was polite and informed mother that we were done and leaving and that everything that was left she could now just get rid of whenever she wanted. I shut the door on my past and can now focus on my future, on the life I am building with the love of my life, with my amazing friends and the family that I do have in my life. My future is always going to be full of additional challenges, prejudice from others, feeling inadequate at times. I will always love and hate my autism at times but I have a lot of things to look forward to, and to celebrate these moments with the people whom I love with all my heart. I love you all 3000. Always. xx