As long as I have a room I can go to, I am mostly always fine.
More and more as I get older, I find that pretty much all of us have personal space issues. That is not unusual. My personal journey is about figuring them out and being assertively kind, or kindly assertive, when that space is threatened. I was once told that I was the kindest person in the world, unless I was hungry. Then I became the Incredible Hulk. I was also once told I was the kindest person in the world, unless someone threatened my sleep. Then I became the Incredible Hulk on drugs. Now that I have kids, and hunger and sleep deprivation aren’t too unusual, it’s the personal space issue that completes my anxiety trifecta! And this means that when I’m in an anxious space in life, or even just for a day, I care about those three things a whole lot. If not, I’m sailing, sailing high on life and energy, and without much care or notice about those three.
I can’t pinpoint the exact moment it started, if not at birth. My guess is that after my father passed, many people were in and out of my life and my space, and people were playing roles for me that my mother or father previously played. My mom met my now-dad who had three young children, and we bunked altogether in smaller rooms or in hotels while our house was being renovated to comfortably hold seven people. Five still-grieving children and two still-grieving parents.
All I know is that when the house was finally finished, my parents hand-picked my childhood bedroom for me. A large room at the end of the house. A separate oasis to escape to whenever I needed.
For years, friends and family and even my siblings asked why I got that particular room. My parents always replied something to the effect of, “We knew this was what she needed. A dreamer, a reader and a sleeper needs her space.” I ad-libbed a bit, but that was what they decided for me and that is how I lived. They hit the nail on the head with me.
Whether I was born that way or made that way, or both, my parents knew what their middle child most needed.
A place I could go to self-soothe, both in my immature grief, and many years after. Maybe once or twice a year, if even, I may have trouble sleeping and will go to the TV or computer to self-soothe. It’s such a rare occurrence, but just the knowledge that the option is open to me soothes me 365 days a year. Last summer we went to Cape Cod and shared a house with a large amount of people. Every bedroom and every common room was taken. I found that I had no anxiety about it though, and I wonder if it was just the knowledge of the great ocean world outside the front door that soothed me to sleep. Either that or that I wasn’t in a particularly anxious point in life and just didn’t care about lack of space.
That happens most of the time in life. It’s just those rare anxious times that are strong enough to warrant a post like this.
Today marks the end of our holiday season. Since December 23rd, we have either been house guests, or have had house guests. There was a night or stretch of hours here and there, but mostly, we’ve been either in prep mode or togetherness mode. And I have to note that I had a room each time. It changed almost every night, but it was always there to soothe me with the mere thought of it. And if all rooms were taken, which did happen, I was soothed with the knowledge that all rooms were inhabited by people who made me feel safe. And that’s enough for me too. Safe. Space. Safe space.
Love to you all.
And now, a few photos taken of Des recently. I have plenty more but as I have just switched nearly completely from PC to Mac and I have upgraded all three of my photography softwares and I’m fumbling a bit in the dark here…stay tuned..
(That’s Uncle Pete in the background. I have more where he takes center stage, but not this one.)