Normally I don’t go deep on this blog, but I had something of an epiphany last night and I kind of want to explore it. First things first. See these bags?
That, dear reader, is three years of bills, statements, miscellaneous correspondence, and whatnot that Doug and I purged from our file cabinet this past weekend. Three years! There were bills in there from 2015… I’ve never been this far behind on my paperwork. Ever. It kind of brought home how much I’ve been hiding from the world these past three years. Not just by not going out into the world, but by not doing the everyday things I ordinarily do — like bills. I haven’t gotten to the point where my house is a mess, but I’ve obviously let a few things slide… a lot.
So, in April of 2016, my neighbor got drunk and came over for a visit. At that time, we were friendly — on talking terms and… neighborly. She had told me that her mom was dying and so when I ran into her that day she told me she wasn’t doing well and that her mom had died. She asked me to drive her to the store (she’d been about to walk there) and of course I did. When we got there, we sat in my car and she talked. I held her hand and patted her shoulder and did what anyone else would do for someone grieving. I mean, that’s what someone does, right? People looked at us, but I didn’t care, I was all, Let them look, her mom died and she needs the comfort. Because, dear reader, I often don’t care what people think of me. *sigh* Mostly.
Anyway, turns out she wanted to get some booze at the store, and she did. I drove her home and said if she needed anything she could come cry on my shoulder. She took that literally and showed up a little while later — glass in hand and plastered. Thus began my ordeal. Five hours. Five hours she parked herself in home and just… I dunno, was drunk. And being drunk, she forcibly tried to kiss me at least twice, and she followed me into the bathroom when I used it as an excuse to get away from her. She spent most of this time maligning everyone and everything in her life and generally played the “woe is me” card for hours. Honestly, I just wanted her to go home. You can read a contemporary account here if you want to. I did my best to diffuse the situation, because this wasn’t the first time I’ve been accosted by a drunk person — not by a long shot. Nor was she the biggest or baddest drunk I’ve had to deflect. Nor was she the first drunk and/or obnoxious person I’ve had to deal with in my own home. I mean, my psycho ex tried to kill me in my own home. Of course, I ran away the next day, so there’s that, but whatever. She’s not even the first woman who’s put the moves on me. What can I say? I’ve led an interesting life.
So why, dear reader, did this encounter affect me so much more than all of the others? (Psycho ex notwithstanding.) Honestly, I don’t know. But it did. I think, though that it is because whenever this kind of thing happened before I had some modicum of control of the situation, however small, some way to diffuse whatever was happening and make it… stop happening. Or, some way to make it happen… less somehow. Without getting into particulars because even I don’t want to delve that far into my deep darks. Even with my psycho ex, I was able to make him go to sleep so I could pack a bag and bug out the next day. In this situation with my neighbor, for the first time in my life, I felt pretty powerless and out of control. And it just hit me when it happened how helpless I was. Like, I’ve never been able to run, dear reader. I’m not a running person — literally, I can’t get up past a jog in the best of situations. Nowadays I’m lucky if I make it to a fast shamble. And that… that’s what frightens me. That’s what keeps me inside and away from the world. Because if something else happens and I lose control, my body is in such terrible condition that I have no way of removing myself from the situation. My lungs are shot, my back is messed up, and my knees are getting worse every day. This thing that happened with my neighbor wasn’t the worse scenario I’ve found myself in, but it affected me a lot because it brought to home just how broken my body has become. And it terrified me.
And so I hid away from the world, and the realization that yeah, I’m disabled. Hard to understand because I mention that I’m disabled all of the time. I know. I mention it, I lament about it, but I have not embraced the fact that I’m disabled. I haven’t accepted it. I’ve rebelled against it and raged at the unfairness of it all. But, I haven’t really acknowledged that it’s a part of who I am. And until I do embrace that part of me as an integral part of who I am, well… how can I become a member of society again? My dream is to open a store and sell things to the public. I can’t do that if I’m hiding away in my house and licking my wounds. Wounds have to heal eventually, even if they leave scars. If I want to realize my dream, I have to come out of my hidey-hole because the things I need to do, the people I need to talk with and the places I need to go? They’re not gonna come to me. Of course this doesn’t mean I’m gonna kick open my door and start singing about how great the world is “outside”. Baby steps y’all. Baby steps.