I thought to myself yesterday, Whoa! I’ve not posted a “Little to the Left of Normal”episode in AGES, and so I decided to post one today 🙂
I can’t remember how I got onto the topic, but I was talking to the Hollyjollyfish the other day about Christmas as a kid — as I suppose you generally tend to do at this time of year — and it suddenly struck me that I now look back on those times in a completely new light.
Every Christmas we would race down the stairs and open our presents. It’s odd when I think back to how I felt back then. I don’t remember particularly feeling excited, nervous excitement maybe? What I do remember is being utterly unaware of how to react to the gifts I was given. More often than not it would come out as an over-excited series of high pitched squeals. I don’t remember being able to tone it down any. And I remember it being noted that it sounded like fake squealing, though I doubt I consciously faked it. I wasn’t in control of my reactions — I do remember that. Feeling bad because it was thought as fake but I couldn’t control it.
After mass we would go to Gran and Papa’s house for the rest of the day, most of which I would spend either behind the couch, in the hall or upstairs on the landing. You know it’s taken me decades to realise why I did some of the things I used to do. I mean… I’ve always known why I did them, it’s just taken me this long to realise the significance of the reasons behind those actions.
Behind the couch, in the hall, and on the landing it was quiet — well, quieter so that’s where I gravitated to. Right up into my late teens I spent most of my time in these comfortable places. I did venture in and out of the kitchen every so often but I remember that I preferred my special places. It wasn’t only at Christmas either, every Sunday after mass when we’d go to Gran and Papa’s, and Papa and my uncle Alan would have the football on really loud, and be talking even louder over the top, and again I would retreat to my quieter spaces.
As I got older it started to include sitting at the kitchen table or messing about on Papa’s computers upstairs, but still always included the hall for a good chunk of my time there. It’s strange, I just never feel comfortable in front of people really — even my people. I never have and I probably never will. Though I have become expert at acting like I enjoy the attention. In reality I would rather nobody even looked at me… and yet, I have always needed the reassurance that I’m doing the correct thing (whatever it might be to do with) I’m still like that even now. It’s a desperate need for acknowledgement and affirmation. I try not to let it be too obvious. And again my mind jumps back to my mum noting when I would declare I did something small — like… I dunno… emptying the bin or washing the dishes — that it was as though I expected to be praised for the action. And though that isn’t entirely true, I think I needed the affirmation that it was not only the correct thing for me to do, but that I had done it correctly. I don’t even really understand it… Well… I do and I don’t.
Anyway… I digress…
And again, the routine thing.
Routine is still important to me today, as is my quiet space. Though now I spend my time in the kitchen cooking for the family who all come here, Gordon’s parents and my mum (sometimes my brother too) I am content to let them keep the kids busy and chat amongst themselves and just leave me to it, because truth be told, I need that little bit of solitary space. When people start busying up that space I get flustered and panicky and I can’t stand it. That’s when I start taking frequent loo breaks or trips to “look for something a minute” upstairs so I can breathe. Mum and Barbara (Gordon’s mum) are pretty good at leaving me be when I say I’m fine and to leave me to it, and also pretty good at helping if and when I ask, in as unobtrusive a way as possible — still flusters me mind you but not as much as it could and I’m grateful for that.
It just struck me when I was chatting with Holly that looking back, (to me at least) the sensory need for quiet and dimly lit spaces means so much more to me now than it ever did then.
Strange, the things you realise when you find a missing puzzle piece and can make out more of the overall image.
Anyway I will say cheerie-bye the noo to you all as it’s 1.30am and I had no idea it was so late. To be honest I’m not even tired but I will go try to sleep and probably just make up some new and exciting story arc for the SoTaR books that will keep me awake even longer! However, I can but try!
Nighty-night (or goodmorning) xx