Closets, bathrooms and space people.

March 11, 2010

Every so often, Sarah and Joe leave for a few days so I can be alone. I feel a bit guilty, like I’m banishing them from the house, but it really has to happen. There are no doors in our little cabin, other than to the bathroom, and if I don’t get my space I go a bit crazy.

It’s so hard to explain what it does to me. I just never feel completely comfortable around people, even Joe and Sarah. When I’m around other people, it’s like I have to be “on” all the time. It’s not something I can control, I just don’t act or feel the same.  I expect I’m not the only one who feels this way, I mean, most people don’t talk to themselves and sing at the top of their lungs when they’re around other people, but for me it goes a bit deeper. When they’re home, I feel like I’m in limbo. Like I can’t start projects or do things I want to do, I’m just waiting for them to leave. And when they’re gone throughout the day and I don’t know when they’re coming home it causes me a lot of anxiety. It’s sort of like being naked in your room and at any moment someone could just burst in the door, you don’t know when or if they will, but you know they might because they do it all the time. It’s like that. Maybe if I had a room with a door, it would be different. But even then, I’d share it with Joe. That’s why I need a studio. Or at least a room that’s only mine. So I can go there to be myself.

It’s funny because the things I want to do alone are so banal. I want to drink my tea, stretch or do yoga, listen to music, work on my dolls… Just every day things. But when I’m alone there’s this huge weight lifted off me. I feel happy and strong and independent. I wish I could feel that way around other people. Someday I will, that’s what therapy’s for, right?

I can’t remember if I had space when I was a kid. I had my own room, but I don’t know how much it was really mine, how much the door kept people out. I remember that I used to love to hide in my closet. I would bring in a light and a blanket and pillow and sit in there and read. When I would go in, it was like a magic spell, I felt so free and invigorated. The feeling of being gone, no one knowing where I was, was so uplifting. But then my mom would call for me. I’d avoid calling back as long as I could, until I had to or she would be sick with worry. As soon as I called out, and gave up my hiding place, the spell was broken and I didn’t feel magical any more.

Over the years that I was homeless I had similar experiences when I would go into private bathrooms. The kind in people’s houses or in shops where it’s just one room. As soon as I was in and the door was locked, I was free. When you’re homeless, the bathroom is the only place where you can close and lock the door and be truly alone and no one will mind. If you’re sleeping on someone’s couch, you can’t just go into their bedroom and close the door, but in the bathroom it’s expected. And no one will bother you or ask what you’re doing, as long as you don’t stay in too long. I can always tell when I need my space because I go in our bathroom and I don’t want to come out.

Sarah’s coming home today… I think, and Joe tomorrow. I wish I had more time. I always want more time. But i also miss them. I like being with them, I just don’t like that I can’t control when I’m with them and when I’m alone. Soon we’ll find a new house. We’ve been looking. We’re going to get a place with a separate studio or three bedrooms so that I will be able to close my door and lock out the world. Soon….


2 Responses to “Closets, bathrooms and space people.”

  1. embroiderizer(Flickr) Says:

    If people are considerate of your feelings, they’ll give you your alone time.

    • You would think so, wouldn’t you? But since my problems have started it’s been quite a struggle to get people (even my very close friends) to respect the amount of alone time I really need.

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