Home & Away…(not the soap)

I’m not sure if anyone noticed but my blogging over the past few months was sliding into a darkish place, and that’s because so was I.

It began with the fact that we are so weary of being in this place we despise, and my mood only got worse when my sister and I had a disagreement.

Most of you who read regularly know just how much she and my little brother mean to me. They’re more than siblings, more that just relatives. They are a part of me. They’re all I have and I cling to that.

Anyway we had a disagreement. I will not say anymore on the topic than that. But I will say that we both had totally conflicting points of view. Neither of us were wrong.

We were both right. And that was the hard part.

It was difficult for me to accept what she was saying and I know she didn’t want to listen to me either. Each of us knowing we both had valid relevant points yet neither wanting to let up.

We couldn’t just ‘agree to disagree’ because there was no giving or taking in this situation.

Like I said both of us were right and still are.

We stopped talking for a few months. Well I decided not to talk to anyone. It is so easy for me being here, where we live to go into total isolation at the drop of a hat.

And I did.

I didn’t speak to anyone.

I didn’t even want to move. I felt like I’d lost my home.

It didn’t matter anymore where we lived. I realised that it wasn’t the place I wanted to live in, it was who I wanted to be with that mattered.

Prior to our ‘thing’ I’d had such a panicky, desperate desire to move home. I wanted to be there for them in hard times, help them, protect them. And to then not have Nicole or Matt, I just felt lost. What was my purpose again? The desperation I’d felt in needing to move home disapeared.

I felt like I wasn’t wanted or needed. And really I am not. I’m not their mother. It is not my job to ‘look after’ anyone except my children and myself.

I’d lost my home. I’d lost my family. I’d lost everything.

It didn’t matter where on the face of the Earth that I was.

Loosing that sense of ‘home’ really threw me off.

I was utterly alone in those few weeks. I withdrew and began my book. Which is good, but it was just a productive excuse to shut out everyone and everything in my life.

I couldn’t bare to think of my sister or brother without tears threatening.

I’d lost everything.

And then finally after weeks and weeks I decided to regain a bit of myself, but when I did I felt as though Glen were holding me back, he probably wasn’t but in the mood I was in, I felt like because I’d become so much more homebound than normal that he was somehow taking a little more advantage of it than usual. And not really making me feel comfortable to get some time out, alone.

He also accepted the job offer. From my perspective I saw it as a clear choice between family and work. As the deal was really quite poor, small pay increase, less time at home. I felt it was good for his career if he wanted to climb ladders and the such, but horrible for our family life.

I told him my honest thoughts and left the choice up to him, after all I wouldn’t want my future career choices to be stunted by anyone let alone by those who are meant to support me the most.

So he took the job.

I didn’t rant, I didn’t rave but internally I felt like he’d chosen to step further away from our family and also making it harder for me to establish a “life outside our home” which I have been working very hard on. I want to be someone one day too….

So….no wonder I was slipping.

My frame of mind was so lost and alone. I knew I could choose to wake up and smile, chose to appreciate the things I did have and be happy and loving and warm. But I just didn’t want to go to the effort.

I gained weight too.

And I so didn’t care.

What’s health when no one else cares?

My school reunion was something I had decided I wanted to attend months and months ago and it began to approach much quicker than I expected. I had ummed and arred as to if I should go or not. I had decided not to, until I woke one morning determined. I’d worked out that on such short notice that if I wanted to go I’d be going alone, the cost was going to be ridiculous for just me to go, but for the whole 7 of us it was ludicrous.

Glen was telling me I should go…but it was one of those cases where one thing is said and something else is meant. I don’t really think he wanted me to go at all. I’m not sure if he was worried about me being off on my own, or if it was that he’d be here on his own with all the kids. I knew he’d allow me to go….just that he probably would prefer me not to.

Anyway….I had a dream one night -not really sure what it was about, must have had something to do with the reunion- But I woke with a powerful sense of needing to go. So I booked my tickets, booked a rental car. When Glen woke I said “I’m going. Everythings booked.”

He kind of looked at me for a moment and said “ok.’

I panicked however, worrying over how the kids would be, how Glen would handle it all. But I had confirmed everything and it was all the savings I had so I was going.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The small plane landed in Brisbane and once I finally figured out where to grab my bag from I jumped in the cute little car I’d hired and began my 5 hour drive. Mind you I’d been having hot flushes the moment I entered the plane!

I wasn’t sure if it was because I was nervous to be on my own or because I was nervous to fly or what. I then began thinking it was some kind of physical reaction to not having been touched or harassed for an extended period of time.

Perhaps my nerve endings where going into over drive at a lack of stimulation?…

Whatever it was it lasted over 24 hours.

My mood slowly began to lift. It began as I was driving along a finally familiar road between Yamba and Grafton. The golden afternoon glow raining down onto the sugar cane. Ribbons of shimmery gold streaming through the trees as I drove through the zebra shadows.

The light sending sparks up from the slightly stirred waters of the river to my right.

I looked right into the fading sun and felt like I was soaking up this special shade of glimmering light into my very soul. I couldn’t help but smile. I wanted to breathe in that warm light.

I think I did.

So calm, so relaxed. I needed this. Right then I knew I did.

I arrived at my mums house around 7.30pm, hoarse from singing at the top of my lungs -horribly- the entire 5 hours. I knew I had to go there first because my little sister and brother were having their week with mum, I hadn’t known they were there until the night before. I was so happy to see them. They’ve always been so special to me, maybe because I know that whatever I faced as a kid is nothing compared to what these two are living right now.

I was nervous as I hadn’t spoken to my sister Nicole, for months. I wondered if she’d still hate me, if she’d even be there. Maybe she’d take Lily and stay somewhere else for the weekend.

She was there.

Before turning down mum’s street I pulled over and pulled out a Winnie the pooh band-aid and stuck it over the ‘nsy’ -her initials- on my tattoo. When I arrived and she gingerly came over to me as I held an overgrown Lilly, I pulled up my sleeve and declared “We have to be friends….because this makes my tattoo just look stupid!” Meaning the band-aid I’d put over her name.

She laughed. It was pretty dumb, but I knew we had to laugh before we were ok.

I guess deep down I knew that fce to face we’d be ok, but we’d lost such a big chunk of time, she’s got a new job, I’ve missed out on updates on Lil, on her love life, on everything. I hope we’ll fill in that time one day.

I don’t think I stopped laughing for a couple of hours, with Matt, Nicole, Lilly, mum and Aussie. Finally I had to leave and head to my best friends house where I’d be staying.

Oh how I love going to her house. She’s a weird little creature, funny and cute, and silly, but for some reason no matter what she does or says, even if I don’t agree I just can’t help loving her.

Her house feels like a second home for me. I immediately feel at home and looked after, safe and cosy. I’m so glad I stayed with her and her family. It was perfect.

I got to spend the following day with Riley my brother who joined me in a visit to Glen’s lovely Nan’s house. He even turned down petrol car racing to spend time with me saying “I don’t get to see you much, I want to hang out with you.”

I miss that lady, Glen’s Nan that is. I liked that we could chat and had so much in common and so many similar views and opinions despite the mere 60 ish year age difference. Wish we had time like that more often.

Actually I miss a lot of Glen’s family.

The following day was reunion time. I turned up late -of course! I can organise a family of 7, but on my own I’m screwed!!!- to my old high school for a tour and bbq lunch. I was nervous. So much more than I thought I would be.

It was a strange feeling to walk into a crowd of people you vaguely recognise. To know every person there was weird. I had to stare into everyone’s faces for a moment or two before my brain scanned and made comparisons and finally connected all the dots before memories flooded back.

There weren’t as many as I thought there’d be however. Wandering through the school with everyone, listening to their stories was nice but it did make me realise how disconnected from the whole experience I was.

“I obviously didn’t have as many friends as I thought I did.” I mentioned at one time, it got some giggles, but I was totally serious. Everyone who I’d been close to in school was absent from the reunion. It was nice though to push vague friendships further.

That night we all met up again for a formal dinner and drinking and dancing. It was great and I had a ball. I learned so much about myself that I never knew.

I was told by some that in school I had been “cool” “looked up to” “interesting” I was told that I was one’s idol and that I had been loved. All of which shocked me. I also thought that perhaps if I’d known these things back in those tough times I went through during school that maybe I’d have been different now?

Compliment giving and honesty is a downfall of us humans.

One particular person mentioned that they were totally devastated when I suddenly left school. Someone I very rarely even spoke to.

You know I had perceived myself as some weird loner, damaged goods ….maybe I sometimes still do. But that entire weekend changed my perspective.

The rest of my time away from home I spent with my family, sister and brother and best friend.

I’ve returned home to find that not only did Glen handle things well, he handled them great, the kids too. They missed me as much as I missed them but they all worked together as a team and everything ran smoothly.

I’ve been filled with such a new way of thinking. A new way of being and new fresh sense of who I am. Why I do what I do, why I say what I say.

I know again who I am. I’m so glad and so grateful that I chose to go. Not only for the reunion but for the whole time.

Those 4 nights may not have seemed much to some but for me it was a significant thing that was needed. I’m feeling fresh and lighter and can still feel the golden glow I soaked up driving through the countryside.

I’ve regained my sense of belonging and feel like I have a ‘home’ to return to once again, I re-established ties and know where I should be.

So; I’m going to be who I am in the place I belong.

And that happens to be where the love is.

I’ve been away, but now I’m coming home!

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