Visiting My Former Self

Sometimes running away from whatever is bothering you is a stupid decision. This weekend, it wasn’t.

I needed to take a break from myself. I needed a day or two to forget, to pretend that everything is alright and try to switch off the vortex of emotions swirling in the forefront of my thoughts. And I managed to, kind of.

Going back to my hometown this time was like going back home to myself. This is mostly to do with the friend that I stayed with (if you’re reading this, thank you), who allowed me to slip back into the comfort of my old self (…almost) as though life had never changed at all. I didn’t think that part of me still existed, or that I’d ever feel like ‘me’ again, but I was wrong, and it was comforting to wallow in memories and laugh through the moments where current issues made me want to cry. Life is so different to how it was, but I managed to pull back just a few moments of how life used to be, when I swam and ran and sailed and smiled like I meant it. I lost that. Gradually at first and then somehow overnight.

I spent the day here in London with my friend and her mum (seriously, thank you to both of you for everything!), after huge hugs at our train station reunion. We’ve been friends since we were 13 or 14, and we grew to know each other better than ourselves. She remains the only person I have ever felt comfortable enough to dance in front of; we used to have sleepovers when I was in hospital and her mum used to cook me fajitas all the time. We’ve both been through a lot since those days; we lost contact for a couple of years, but the second we saw each other it was like we had never been apart. I told her about the current situation with ease. She made me feel like my old self, because she remembered me as my old self and still saw that person where I had stopped looking. Seeing old pictures of my school days hurt, but seeing myself with long hair tied up in a ponytail made me smile. I had forgotten what healthy me looks like. I had forgotten what happy me looks like.

Coming to university made me, but the past few months haven’t been easy. Having said that, it was the first place where I felt comfortable being me for a long time, the place where I began to accept that the person I’ve become may someday be as content as the person I used to be. There was a time here where I smiled and meant it, and it is still my reason for getting up in the morning.

But I needed a break from this new life (more specifically, the current situation). When I wrote my last post, things weren’t going great for me. I thought that I may be beyond help emotionally, and I didn’t know where to turn. Given the opportunity at that moment, I would have taken any way out. I couldn’t stop thinking about the future, or being scared by it. I gave up. And that was a scary place to end up – especially as I didn’t want to bother anyone, didn’t know how to let them attempt to carry feelings that were crushing me, and just couldn’t bring myself to bother people this time.

Initially I ran away from everything without actually going anywhere. If you’ve read this blog for a while you will already have established that when I freak out, I don’t do sensible stuff. In fact, sometimes I just shut down, zone out, retreat into myself, and push everyone away. And that’s what I did. Sometimes people break through the wall I put up, much to my frustration/ relief, because that’s kind of what I need right now. But a) there’s only one person who seems to have figure out how to do that and b) I usually hate him for it. I just wanted to be left alone. I didn’t know how to deal with anything, let alone human contact. I  haven’t replied to text messages that are three days old – I still don’t know how to deal with normal conversation when in my mind everything is so far from normal that I don’t know how to human.

And then in a last-ditch attempt to save myself from my own impending stupidity, I met the friend I mentioned above  (I nearly happy cried just when we made the plans). Walking into her house that night was like walking in to see my second family. It was so easy to forget about everything I thought I’d never be able to stop thinking about.

Going back to my parents’ house the next day was weird. I felt like a guest. My little brother is no longer my ‘little’ brother. His voice has broken, and in six weeks he has grown so much that he now (at least in proportion of leg to body) resembles a small giraffe. His hands are now as big as mine, he’s nearly as tall as me, and when he pulled me into a hug it was alarmingly apparent that he is no longer the 2 year old I picture at the sound of his name. He grew up. Fast. And I missed it. He felt like somebody I didn’t really know any more. The house itself felt like a place I don’t really know any more, and I wanted to run from the bad memories and stay for the fond ones all at the same time.

My dog was in the car when my mum picked me up from my friend’s house, and he was stupidly excited to see me. I hugged him like I was never going to see him again, and then realised that I can’t actually confirm the fact that I’ll stay healthy enough that that won’t be the case. After sharing Sunday roast with the family members my mum had invited round, I slept the rest of my day away, and then came home to university.

And slowly I withdrew again, I wondered if I’d go back to that house, or if I’d see my brother turn into a man. I found out a family member I love to pieces has just been diagnosed with cancer when we were about five minutes from my front door, and it was like a punch in the stomach. I drank the cider that I’d been saving for a special occasion. I made myself some homemade lemonade. I watched a bunch of YouTube videos to try and pull my brain back out of reality and back to the denial I enjoyed on Saturday. But sometimes stuff just demands your attention. I wish I could choose what though, don’t we all?

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