When I spoke to Katie about writing this post, I said to her that I wanted it to be a “How Did I Get Here?” post. No, not to be a sad post, but to be a happy and uplifting post, full of jokes and funny mentions. I wanted to talk about my army of people who helped me move in, how we spent 45 minutes looking for a Starbucks, and them telling me off for my never-ending spiel of thank you’s and gratitude.
I had every intention of making this post, yet when the door swung shut, and I was in my flat, I felt both a rising energy and a lowering energy. I felt elated for moving, yet I felt lost as well. I wondered if it would be okay, me living alone. Waking up, cooking, watching TV. I was afraid I would be like that man from Up.
One word crushes any old man vibes I was afraid of shedding:
I am so into the etymology of words, and as I write this, I have my etymology dictionary perched next to me on my desk, my golden glasses perched on my nose, looking up “respite”. (Old man vibes, and I love it.)
In my dictionary, respite falls beneath ‘respect’ and ‘respire’. I thought I knew what ‘respect’ meant, but living alone taught me it all over again. ‘Respect’ comes from ‘respite’. Isn’t that interesting?
“Respire: come up to breathe; breathe again, recover.”
“Respite: delay or extension of time.” It comes from Old French.
My only previous introduction to respite was from when Mum would go in and out of the Hospice for respite. I guess that was a bit like a delaying of time. We would look forward to her return and Katie would write beautiful cards out for her. We would buy flowers for her as well.
I started to buy flowers for myself. I set them on my table and smiled every time I walked past them. I spread my rug next to my bed, and shivered with joy when my feet touched the ground. Sometimes the air around me was filled with music, sometimes beautiful silence. Breathing came easily again, and my anxiety waved me goodbye, having delivered me to safety.
I imagine Anxiety as a worried, ferociously upset child hurrying us to get out, get in, get away. She pulls at our arm, whines at us, and cries big sloppy tears. Sometimes rationally, sometimes irrationally. I imagine during my journey I sat her down and challenged her when she was irrational. But in a gentle and loving way.
In my flat, I looked at myself. I looked at where I came from. In counselling I unravelled problems I thought I had long since resolved. I learnt a lot.
People treated me with so much kindness. There was no transaction, or end date. No asking for it back, or for something in return. Just goodness and human kindness. I started to feel so guilty for the joy I was feeling, that I would buy lunch for the homeless just to express my gratitude and to brighten someone’s day.
I had time to be a little old man reading about etymology and watching documentaries, but I also had a lot of time to be 21. I made so many friends. I was shocked to learn that people can give me a lot of energy, and that its actually abnormal for socialising to take so much energy from you.
So what lessons did I learn from living alone?
- Safety isn’t a lock on a door, it is an internal state, an internal sanctuary of self-freedom and assurance.
- You don’t have to always violently change yourself.
- Laughter is the best medicine.
- Rollerskating in your flat is a great way to break in roller skates (but do not try at home!).
- Who you are when you are alone, is who you should represent to the world, no matter what.
- I’m grateful for the lessons I have learnt.
- Sticky toffee pudding is my favourite.
- Clean space, clean mind.
- A sunny space is so very important to me.
- Be too much.
- Kindness breeds kindness.
- The energy you put out is the energy you receive back.
- Manifesting works
- Return the kindness back into the world, when you receive it.
So, to my dear little flat, thank you for housing me. Thank you for holding space for me to thrive. Thank you for the days I just came to change my clothes before heading out again. Thank you for the comfort, the new foods I tried, the laughter, the love, the memories.
I moved out at the right time, with Katie by my side again. We laughed so hard trying to move things into the car. People laughed with us as we carried things down the stairs. It seemed so right to move out of my flat laughing, and move into my new place laughing as well. We laughed so hard when I couldn’t open my bedroom door. We woke up my housemate who opened the door so easily. We fell onto my bed, again, laughing so hard, that Katie was saying “shhhh shhhhhh”.
But that’s the beauty of living somewhere isn’t it? You get to know that the door is a little sticky and needs a kick sometimes. You get to know that that place is yours, completely and wholly.
You get to know that you are safe.
Safe and sound.
All my love to you, beautiful friends, no matter where you are on your journey.