Marching to the Beat of a Different Drummer

It’s been an intense month or so for me.  Stu and Frieda, who I’ve lived with for quite a while, have sold their house. That leaves me looking for a new home.  As fate would have it, at the very same time I’ve learned that the rug may be about to be pulled out from under me, financially.

I’ve been really drained as I experience a lot of emotion.  There’s the grief I feel at losing the relationship I’ve had with Stu and Frieda. I’m relatively isolated, socially; given my mental health concerns, I’ve had to keep pretty quiet over the last while.  In the desert of my social life, Stu and Frieda have been much more than housemates and they’ve been more than friends — they’ve been family.  They’ve been my most important social contacts.

There’s the fear I feel about the unknowns of my financial future.  And, with that, comes the resurfacing of a lot of grief about the loss of my ability to make a gainful living and the loss of my career due to my health issues.

There’s anxiety and fear about losing the stability I’ve had which has allowed me to make the gains I’ve made in dealing with my health.

The greatest source of anxiety for me as I write this post today, is about finding someplace new to call home. The problem is, finding a comparable living situation — same low rent, same general location, same amenities, same great landlords or housemates — seems to be beyond difficult to achieve.  In fact, in the entire month I’ve been looking — hard — for something, I’ve yet to actually view any place at all.

I’ve found nothing yet that is appropriate and I’m not willing to settle.  I need to feel comfortable in my home.

There are room rentals available in nearby cities that are much larger than the rural area I live in.  Most of these cater to young students attending community college.  I’m a 50-year-old woman.  There are room rentals available for more mature people like me, but the other details of the situation don’t seem appropriate for me.

And I don’t want to live in the city.  I moved from the city to come here.  The slower, friendlier rural pace of life, and the greater access to nature here are really important balms for my aching soul.

And I don’t want to move from my community.  Despite not having a network of friendships here, I do have a network of people I connect with on a regular basis — health providers, shop owners and the like.  I know this place — it’s part of what’s important for my stability.

Faced with a lack of suitable housing staring me in the face, I’ve been trying to think outside the box.  I’ve posted advertisements looking for shared accommodation.  I’ve explored the idea of long term house sitting, which would be really wonderful as it would provide me with secure accommodation, privacy and space at no financial cost.  There are a fair number of “snowbirds” in this community — people who habitually fly south for the winter — and so the house sitting idea is not as far fetched as it might seem.

In doing all of that, I’m having to put myself out there.  And I don’t like that.

I feel shame — self-judgement.  There’s a constant dialogue going on in my head, ridiculing me, asking “what is wrong with you that you’re a 50-year-old woman who can’t afford a place to live?  Why would anyone want to trust you with their home? Why aren’t you like everyone else?  What’s wrong with you that you aren’t like other 50-year-old women, who have homes with double car garages, and cottages, and grandkids?”  And so on.

The self-judgement makes sense, especially in the face of my history of being abused.  In the face of being rejected and hurt by those who were supposed to love me the most, all I’ve ever wanted was to feel like I was important and that I belonged, in the way that it seemed like everyone else did.

But my self-judgement may be the biggest obstacle in my way of finding what I want and need in a new home.  Partly because I’m so often unaware of it when it’s happening.  Rather, what I’m aware of instead is a slowness, a weightiness, holding me back as I try to move forward in my search.

When I think about it, when I become aware of it, this is what I tell myself in rebuttal:  I am Annie.  I’m a 50-year-old woman.  I am recovering my health.  I was badly abused as a young child.  I am dealing with that.  I know what I’m doing.  It’s what I have to do and it’s what I was meant to do.  It’s my priority.  I believe in myself.

In fact, I believe that if everyone raised their consciousness about who they are, what they’re about and where they came from, the world would be a whole lot better.  If everyone was able to look squarely at the realities of the families they were raised in, we could stop the generational nature of abuse in families.

Really, there is simply nothing more important than this — for all of us.  Keeping my head in the sand about my abuse is what has led me to this place of decreased functioning in the first place.  Pretending to be “normal”, “like everybody else”, is what has led me to this place.  Excavating the beast by its roots is what is setting me free.  And that I shall continue to do.

Even if it seems that no one else understands what I’m doing.

Even if it seems that no one else can even see what I’m doing.

If a person does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it’s because he hears a different drummer.  Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away.”  Henry David Thoreau.

Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it’s time to pause and reflect.”  Mark Twain

xo Annie




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