Content: This post includes internalized ableism.
A few days ago something reminded me of my old life. The life that was never mine to live, just to borrow. Back then, when I was pushing myself through university, I thought that I was just in the beginning of a great life. Like my days were some kind of prelude. I was waiting for my real life to start, and then I wouldn’t be such a mess. I wasn’t going to spend my life being so desperatly tired and confused.
Don’t get me wrong, I lived a life that I partly loved. I travelled a lot, had board positions for interesting organizations and studied. I collapsed in sensory overloads and had meltdowns a couple of times a week but I thought that I could grow out of it. Try a little bit harder and it would stop. I thought that working hard would make me a researcher and somehow I was magically going to experience a sense of stability. If I could just stop being such a weak person. If I could just stop messing up relationships.
A friend from that time contacted me the other day. He was passing through my city and had a few hours to spare and asked if I wanted to see him. I really wanted to, he was a wonderful person and when our lives took different directions I missed him a lot. We haven’t seen each other in almost ten years so I was surprised when he contacted me, but very happy. But I couldn’t meet up with him. I’m trapped in my apartment and in the evenings (which was the only time he had a few hours to spend before his next flight) I’m usually in a way too bad shape to be able to talk and my apartment needs to be quiet for my kid.
I turned him down and felt a bit sad but didn’t have that much time to think about it. Yesterday, when I actually had time to reflect, it felt like something hit me in the head and all those memories of my old life, my borrowed life, was poured over me. How did it get this bad? How did I go from travelling the world to not being able to do my own grocery shopping? How? I can’t grasp it.
The sad thing is that even though I did believe that I was going to have this interesting life that I wanted, I couldn’t really see how it was going to happen. I could never picture getting myself together. Something was intrinsically wrong with me, and I feared that I was a ticking bomb waiting to explode. However, that fear was too elusive to grasp. People told me that it was just my low self-esteem talking.
But the bomb did explode.