As long as I can remember I have always felt compromised when it came to my own personal space. Growing up I never had a room of my own even though I was an only child. It wasn’t so much the sharing but who I was sharing with that was the issue. Countless people share with siblings but sharing with your parents because a lodger was in your room of bunking up with your Nana from the age of 10 – 25 ( 28 if we include holidays from London) is not ideal to say the least but it was the way it was. I got through it but not without squiring a few over night bags along the way.
Total number of house moves till London = 9.
When I lived in London as independent as I now was I struggled to gain my own space. I spent most of the time sleeping, eating, socialising, working in my bedroom whether it be a shared flat, student accommodation or as a lodger.
Total number of house moves in London = 4
When I returned to Edinburgh I was an engaged soon to be married. Sharing everything with another person; a person who couldn’t understand if I needed or wanted space. It was more viewed as a slight on him and quite often ended up in acrimony. It wasn’t going to end well really was it and it would be no surprise to say that it didn’t.
Total number of house moveswhilst married = 4
The best solution under the circumstances was for me to move out of the family home and set up a flat on my own with the children living with me for 4 days of the week. And that’s what happened. I could go into detail about how traumatic the three months leading up to me leaving were but that would have you all reaching for the bottle which would defeat the main purpose of my blog. Suffice to say it wasn’t the best time of my life or the kids but after what seemed like forever I secured a rented flat close to the kids school and my family. I’ll never forget the day I moved. Yes it was rented but it was mine. It was the first time I had been solely responsible for a living space on my own. My own kitchen, my own bathroom, my own lounge and my own bedroom. The first time I had my own bedroom that all I had to do was sleep and be with myself in. The kids had their room but I also had my own room. My own room! At 42 I had finally arrived.
So after over three years of living in the flat the kids were reaching the time that they couldn’t share anymore. If they were same sex it might have been more manageable but being a boy and a girl it wasn’t working out. I looked online for other flats but they were so much more expensive or in areas that would have been 2 buses to school in the morning that it just wouldn’t have been possible or the right thing for anyone. I mulled it over then after one particularly difficult evening I decided it needed to change ASAP and the change meant only one thing. I needed to give up my bedroom.
When the day arrived last week for me to start the changing of the rooms I felt overwhelmed with loss. It conjured up so many feelings in me. The sense of losing that room space had a profound effect on me filling me with anger, resentment, sadness and fear. I felt like I was 14 all over again. Fighting for privacy, feeling marginalised, alone in compromising. I didn’t like it and on Mother’s Day after a difficult few hours with the kids at my parents they were picked up by their dad leaving me alone to walk home. As I started my journey home I felt overcome with emotion and for the first time in a very long time I had the desire to be drunk. I visualised a glass of red wine in my mind and I so wanted to taste it but more than anything I wanted the feeling it used to give me. That warm, fuzzy feeling and an instant shoulder relaxer but the visualisation didn’t stop there and very quickly the glass panned out to a bottle and then panned out to me – drunk. That’s what I wanted. Drunkeness. In an instant I wanted to be in a state which stopped me caring about what was about to happen. Them as quickly something else happened. After allowing myself to visualise what I desired at the moment I heard myself say inside my head,
‘Laverne, you don’t do that anymore.’
As quick as it had come it had gone. I had controlled my need to drink by telling myself I didn’t need to or want to and it had happened organically. Even though the remaining steps of that journey home were emotionally difficult and tears stained my face I never thought again about drinking. It was just something I didn’t do. End of.
With one foot in front of the other I walked up the road, in my head I was walking a new neural pathway. I arrived home and with the help of a friend I gave up my bedroom and created a new lounge/ bedroom. Once finished I stood back and looked at the new flat interior. Yes it was different. Yes I was back to eating, socialising, relaxing and sleeping in the one room but my children had the space they needed and deserved. They can grow and develop themselves within their own space and learn how important it is to have that freedom. Something I wish I had had.
A week has now passed since the big change and my thoughts and feeling too have changed. When the kids came back the joy on their faces when they saw their own rooms made everything that I was grieving for seem irrelevant. I’m not diminishing my own feelings as what I felt was very real and on reflection understandable but when I look at what I have I am blessed. Regardless of who sleeps where it is my own front door, it is my own place with many rooms, it is my own bed, it is my own life. These are my children. They come from me and will be with me; connected always. I have changed my thoughts, feelings and actions regarding alcohol. I can change my thoughts, feelings and actions about anything.
Number of house moves as a liberated me = 1
Whatever the size, wherever the place I possess the most important aspect of living. My freedom. With that I can change anything. That is all the riches I need.
Nighty night x
Ps 715 days