I’ve never been very good at hearing the words “no”, “can’t” and “don’t” to me they are a battle cry to do exactly what you just told me not to do. It has resulted in the gaining of 3 university degrees, 9 tattoos, one body piercing and a career littered with interesting choices.
I have a faulty immune system and lungs riddled with scar tissue from repeated chest infections throughout my life. As a child my freedom was somewhat restricted by time spend in hospital, in recovery, in testing and in specialist visits. I had no choice in my medical care because I was a minor and as much as my parents did their best to make my life “normal” I found the restriction to my freedom incredibly irritating.
Consequently I developed an almost phobic fear of being “trapped” or “caged” with no choice as to my movements. Needless to say my relationships suffered thanks to this fear and the minute my housing situation, relationship or job started to feel routine I would freak out and apply for jobs in any other location even the other side of the world and accept the most challenging offer just to escape feeling caged/trapped in a routine.
I used to say things like “a routine will become a rut which is just a shallow grave” and I meant it. 2007 didn’t help with my phobia of being sick and trapped thanks to the accident and endometrial cancer I spent 8 months in hospitals, testing facilities and specialists officers with limited choices as to treatment options.
This year marked a turning point in my life because yet again illness in the form of my ADHD and ASD means how I live my life must change and I don’t really get a lot of choice in the matter if I want to stay somewhat mentally stable. Part of me wants to just pack up my limited possessions and piss off to somewhere else where no one know’s me the doctor get’s an edited version of my medical history, new superficial friendships will be made and then poof 18 months later I will vanish to reinvent myself again somewhere else. That is after all how I’ve spent the last 20 years dealing with my problems.
However I have decided to stay put here on the Sunshine Coast in my old childhood home, with my parents (support network) living in the granny flat, sharing custody of the dogs and building a network of friends here. Why? Because this is where my Psychiatrist is, my doctor, my psychologist and the chemist who has custody of my Ritalin script are. Because I have the honer of getting to spend time with my mum/dad while they are fit and health retirees. Because I’m sick to death of moving, I’ve done something stupid like 22 moves in 20 years.
The fact I’ve made the choice to stay doesn’t mean that I’m 100% happy about having my choices somewhat curtailed. I was bitching about the restriction of my freedom to my lil sister the other day since to travel I now must carry the equivalent of a permission letter from my Psychiatrist and I can’t be gone for long periods of time due to script restrictions, I can no longer work high pressure jobs, I can’t move overseas for work as I once planned, dating is now more complicated and so on. Basically I was having a sulk about all the possibilities I could see that are now off limits.
Then for book club I read “Princess: A True Story of Life Behind the Veil in Saudi Arabia by Jean Sasson”. I from here on in faithfully promise to NEVER bitch about having my freedom curtailed or limitations put on my life. I was aware of how hard Sharia Law is for women to live under because basically they are property not people. However reading this book is eye opening and gives you a solid understanding of what life in a gilded cage really is and what “limitation”, “caged” and “trapped” really are. The book has an easy flow of information from Sultanas childhood, through marriage, motherhood and into middle age and is told in a way that lets you see the world from her prospective. It’s funny, tender, heartbreaking and at times shockingly sad but above all else it is brutally honest about the world she lives in.