I’m on the sofa. Completely shattered after what feels like one tsunami of life events after another.
Looking from the outside people see a beautiful home, good income, what on earth does she have to worry about, or be miserable about. I feel very judged. And guilty. I know I have so much. I castigate myself for feeling so miserable at times and not “embracing life”.
If only that were possible.
Chronic illness, coupled with neurodiversity and a propensity towards mental illness make life quite difficult to navigate in the best times. In the tsunami times, even more so.
I am tired, and tearful.
The dogs are in their beds (they are not allowed on the new sofa, much to their disappointment), their presence gives me comfort.
I love our new sofa. The corner bit is my spot. It envelopes me and I feel cosseted. I like that.
I dreamed of my mom last night. I spent a long time with her in the dream. I can’t remember her voice though. Her voice is what I long to hear. I opened my eyes, feeling sad, and missing home even more than I usually do.
It’s a big thing to make a decision to move country and then not feel happy in that country. I don’t know why I felt the need to move. Adventure I suppose. That never happened. I wish I had never left. But I did and I have to live with that choice.
Choice. Owning up to our choices is exhausting. The whole “well you made that choice, now you have to grin and bear it” thing infuriates me. When does it become acceptable to say yes I made that choice but I am drowning in it – grin and bearing it is not enough.
For the past two years we have been renovating and selling various houses. It started with a small unit we owned in Newport. It was a poor choice and a white elephant from the start. We held onto it for five years. In November 2021, after the agents were finally allowed in post-covid, it was discovered that the tenants had trashed it. We decided it wasn’t worth keeping any more, so we decided to sell. We were shocked to find that the cost of things had shot up post-covid. Trying to recoup the losses, I suppose. It cost us more money than we hoped to have to spend to get it back up to speed. It sold pretty quickly thank goodness, mostly because the market was dropping and we adjusted our price accordingly.
May 2022, Dave announced we had to move. I laughed. He is joking surely. He isn’t actually telling me that I have to leave the house that I love and have poured my heart and soul into. He isn’t actually asking me to give up my craft room, my acreage, my view, my kitchen that I designed myself. He isn’t actually contemplating asking me to leave my safe space that we have worked so hard to bring to fruition.
We worked like proverbial trojans to get the house to be sale ready. She sold in 9 days. I cried that day, and I would cry for another few months.
It’s just bricks and mortar I would tell myself. Home is wherever the heart was. The thing is, my homes come with a lot of sentiment. I have to love my homes to feel completely at peace within them.
We bought another house. I did not love her. I didn’t even like her. Our needs as a family are complex and she met the accommodation needs. She had the same accommodation we had, mostly, just smaller in scale and on a much much much much smaller block. Her saving grace is that we are situated next to a small reserve where magpies watch over us from the trees and even pop in for a visit every now and then.
We moved in October 2022 and hit the ground running. Painting inside and out every inch of her, new carpets, new window dressings, new furniture. It is a dated property and I had little choice than to work with architectural features that we could not replace. It wasn’t financially viable to make expensive structural changes given our age now (with retirement only 10 years away).
I am not in love with this place, ergo, I don’t feel wholly safe here. Thanks autism for that.
The people who owned this house also owned the block of land behind us. They are building a double storey house and it is right on our fence line. It looms large over us. Despite its frosted windows it feels like they are overlooking us. I hate that (I use the word hate with intention here).
Yesterday, the bamboo arrived to hide the monstrosity, and to help ease my abject discomfort of having my privacy invaded at every turn.
February 2023, Dave’s dad moves into a home. We built the house for his parents 15 years ago. We did it because they were moving from South Africa to Australia at age 70 and we did not want them to have the worry of having to move from rental to rental. Instead, we would build them a home that they could live in for the rest of their days. Although they didn’t own it per se, we told them to treat it as their own. It was important that they felt they had a home for life. We achieved that.
But of course, 15 years of living comes at a cost. It has been a gargantuan task to drag this house into the 2020s. Again, the cost of things has astounded us. We needed so much money to do this renovation. It looks great though. I hope it sells for what we need it to in this market that is unpredictable, and declining.
The house went online today.
And today, my body has given up. I think it is the sheer relief of it all – knowing that we never have to renovate another property under such pressure again – probably coupled with spending two hours yesterday scrubbing the shit out of a laundry trough to get it sparkling.
So I am on the sofa. The gentle heat of the split system is filling the room. I am sleepy, but cannot sleep.
I am bored.
This is the lament of having ADHD coupled with ME/CFS. I need to rest, and sleep, but my brain thinks it’s party time.
I have a list of things I want to do, but alas, my body, nor my brain, want to comply.
I am glued to the sofa, my body refusing to move.
I laugh at the ableist suggestion of “just push through” or “mind over matter”.
To that I say “fuck you”.
I say that because you have no idea what you are saying. ME/CFS is a problem whereby your cells have an inability to manufacture and store energy effectively. I can’t just think my cells into doing something they are biologically incapable of doing. Add into that mix the neurobiology of neurodivergence, and well, just fuck you.
But don’t worry. As much as you are ableist, I am ableist against myself.
I long to be normal.
I long to have been able to finish a tertiary course, to have forged a career and be able to work longer than 6 months without burning out, to be able to have energy to be physically busy for 10 hours a day with enough energy to clean house, do the laundry, cook, be a wonderful mother, who volunteers and is an amazing community member.
Sigh. I am exhausted just writing it.
This has not been my path.
Instead, after being diagnosed 3 years ago, I am still learning to accept it, lean into it and be who I am right now.
Whoever and whatever that is.
Decorating my home is something I enjoy and am able to do, without pressure, at my own speed (unless we are selling a house which thankfully is now unlikely for the foreseeable future). Creating a visually cohesive home enables me to create an environment that calms my senses. This is how I feel safe, and accomplished, I suppose.
Creating is something that is a bit of a double edged sword – absolutely driven to do it, but crippled my lack of artistic ability. Damn you instagram!
I create something every day, mostly multiple times a day. I am always thinking about ways to improve my home. Always.
Many people have commented on how I could monetise what I do. Alas, I am unable to cope with the pressure of expectation and time sensitive demands. I feel like a failure because of it. Ableism, that is. I do not allow myself the grace to accept my brain. Instead I allow Horace* to flagellate me. He does it with razor sharp precision.
I’m going to try and close my eyes now. Breathing in and out.
Breath in the calm.
Breath out the chaos.
Until next time.
* Horace is the name I have given to the lizard part of my brain that controls my anxiety and fear. He is a prick.