The Move

en-route-from-montreal-to-ottawa
Photo by Steve McCullough (stevemccullough.ca) via Flickr. Used under Creative Commons.

My husband and I arrived at my parents’ house a few days ago. It was a rough few days leading up to it, with trying to get everything packed and into the moving trailer, trying to get the apartment clean enough to have any hope of getting our deposit back, and then the long road trip to get here. My parents actually came out there to pick us up and bring us back here, for which I am very grateful.

I ended up hurting my back, which made things more difficult, and my husband had a massive, frightening panic attack in the middle of the night before we left. He was shaking and almost hyperventilating. He ended up running outside into the night air outside our city apartment building to try to calm down. At first I went with him, even though I was scared to go out in the middle of the night, but then after we came back in and I had gotten back into bed he ran out again alone. That was scary for me. I was worried something would happen to him out there alone so late.

Two of the hardest things about the move for me were not having a lot of my stuff accessible to me while it was packed (and some of it has still not been located and unpacked since we’ve arrived for various reasons and I am agitated by that), and having my eating disrupted. I usually drink a very low-carb green smoothie for breakfast, because I’m prone to hypoglycemia and I find if I eat carbs in the morning my blood sugar drops later in the day, but if I don’t eat carbs at all until dinner time my blood sugar remains stable. I realize this is not the common advice given to hypoglycemics, but it’s something I’ve discovered about my own body and I find that this works for me. I also find that if I don’t eat carbs early in the day, I don’t even feel hungry for most of the day and end up eating less food overall, which is a plus in our current situation, not knowing where our next source of income is coming from.

My breakfast smoothie usually consists of:

  • 3 cups baby kale
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil or grape seed oil
  • 1 tsp flax meal
  • 1 squirt of Mio (or similar brand) water flavouring
  • 3/4 of a scoop of vanilla whey protein powder
  • water

I used to add some fruit until I realized the full extent of what the morning carb consumption was doing to me and realized I felt better if I didn’t include it.

Unfortunately, as we were preparing for our move, I ran out of kale and protein powder, and I wanted to eat up what we had on hand and not buy anything new because that would mean more to either move or throw out. So this meant for a few days before the move, the two days of the road trip to get here, and the first two mornings here until we went into town to buy groceries, I was not able to have my smoothie. I ended up eating more carbs than I’m used to, and it made the road trip in particular hard because every few hours I felt nauseated and irritable from the hypoglycemia and I had to pester my dad to stop somewhere. He is not a big fan of stopping on road trips. It’s amazing we (me, my husband, and my mom) were ever allowed to pee.

As for my parents’ house, in a lot of ways it’s better than I thought it would be. (They only moved here a couple years ago and I had never even visited before this.) I’m actually quite pleased with the basement suite. We have more space here than we did in our apartment. It does need work to make it look nice but that is part of the deal; we will help with the renos. My husband has been painting for the last two days and it’s already making a big difference.

I’m a little disappointed that the suite’s kitchen can’t be used yet. It’s all a bit of a bait-and-switch, where I was told, “You will have your own kitchen,” and then I get here and find that it’s not even really a kitchen; it’s just a space where the kitchen will be, and my husband will have to help my dad put it in. (I do realize I was not lied to; I will have my own kitchen, just not immediately.) Just to be clear, they are not doing this solely for us. They had planned to do this anyway to increase the value of the house, they’re just moving up the time frame for our sake. My parents estimate it will be done by Christmas. Right now all there is is a small, bar-sized fridge, a disgusting, unusable sink, and a counter piled with my parents’ junk. But the rest of the suite is usable, thank goodness. The bathroom is nice and the shower has great water pressure. That’s a big plus.

I truly am grateful for the place to live, but to be honest I hate sharing my mom’s kitchen with her. She doesn’t tend to follow food safety rules and we bicker about it. I seem unreasonable and neurotic to her, but I am only like this because I get sick so easily and when I get sick it hits me ridiculously hard. I am only trying to take care of myself and prevent that. If others were as prone to such awful physical maladies as I am they would be more cautious about such things too. That is only logical.

Another problem is the smell. As I wrote in my post on my other blog, my parents’ houses have always had a very distinct odor. They have always blamed it on various things but the smell follows them wherever they go so I think it’s just them. You’d think I’d get used to it, especially having grown up with them, but I never have, and it’s especially bad when I come back after being away for a long time like this. I was finding it really hard to bear at first. But then I found my stash of plug-in air fresheners and plugged them in, and I discovered that one of my Bath and Body Works shower gels had leaked out into the bag it was in, which at first I was upset about, but then I realized that hanging the bag up in the bedroom made the wonderful scent fill the room. I feel so much more comfortable now that I can smell my favourite scents here. It’s ridiculous how unpleasant and distracting the odor of my parents’ house was for me before that.

Generally speaking, in spite of certain negatives, I think I can actually be fairly content here, especially once the kitchen is in.

The main problem right now, of course, is the lack of income. My husband and I both have appointments with a local employment counselor tomorrow and I really hope my husband can find something. I am willing to work too, but to be perfectly honest I am hoping I won’t have to, because of how sick and stressed and prone to embarrassing and debilitating meltdowns I get when I’m working. I would be so much happier at home. But I realize I’m not in a situation where I can choose how I want to live. I just have to do what needs to be done and I hope I can handle it and stick it out as long as possible.

Oh, I almost forgot: One really great thing about this move is that I don’t have asthma here. I am completely inhaler- and wheeze-free all of a sudden. The same thing happened in 2006 when I moved back to my home province from elsewhere. I’m certain I am allergic to something that doesn’t exist here. My asthma was pretty scary sometimes, and inhalers are expensive, so it’s a huge relief to be free of all that!

 

 

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They’ll All be Looking at Me

mannequin
Photo from Flickr.

I’m finding myself worrying about my appearance as I prepare to move back to the small town where my parents live. In my adult life, I have never had my appearance criticized so much as I did when I lived there. In fact, the only other source of criticism in that regard has been from my mother-in-law. She says I wear black too much. I did tend to wear black a lot in the past for a number of reasons. First of all, it’s slimming. Secondly, it’s a classic colour that was easy to resort to when I was less savvy about putting together outfits. Thirdly, I am clumsy and tend to spill things on myself, and stains don’t show up as well on black as they do on other colours. Fourthly, I just think black looks good on me.

I never wore black in a “goth” kind of way, although it seems like people make that mental association when they think of someone who wears black a lot. And my mother-in-law seems to think black is only for funerals. Even my husband, when he sees someone wearing all black, sometimes jokes, “Are they going to a funeral or something?” I think maybe, with my husband and his mom being from England, this could be a cultural difference. I don’t think wearing black is viewed quite as harshly here in Canada. After all, there’s a reason it’s said that something is “the new black.” It’s because black is a classic, flattering colour that’s always in fashion.

But aside from my mother-in-law, in my adulthood it’s always been in this one place where my appearance and wardrobe have been criticized by people. My aunt, in particular, always has something to say about whatever I’m wearing. She’s very much into this whole school of thought where your complexion and hair colour determine what “season” you are, and you should only wear colours that correspond with your season. She believes in it like a religion. So if she sees me wearing a white sweater, for example, she’ll say, “You shouldn’t be wearing that. Only winters can wear white.” Or she’ll say, “I can tell you like the colour blue. But you don’t look good in blue. You only think you look good in blue.” It’s not just the seasons thing though. She also says things to me like, “You shouldn’t be wearing that dress. It looks like a nightgown. Yuck!”

She also criticizes my weight. (I have been diagnosed with PCOS and hypothyroidism, both of which make weight a constant struggle.) Once when I was still single I had the opportunity to participate in a fashion show. She was in the audience and she sought me out afterwards and told me, “It was good to see a heavier girl up there on the runway. When you finally find a man, you should just tell him it’s like he’s getting two girls for the price of one!” That’s her idea of a compliment and is actually the most positive thing she’s ever said to me. She tells me about diets I should be going on, usually completely jackassed, unhealthy, not-medically-sound eating plans that I know better than to try. She can be very insistent about such things. She was on my case about one of these the last time I saw her in 2011. As she was telling me about it, I lost control of my mouth and blurted out, “That is absolute bullshit.” She was unfazed. “No it isn’t! No it isn’t!” she insisted.

It’s not just my aunt, either. It’s friends of my mom, too. From them it’s comments like, “You should be wearing a slip under that skirt. When the light is behind you I can see the outline of your legs.” First of all, does anyone under the age of 60 still wear slips? And secondly… Oh no! The outline of my legs?! All the men in town will obviously be consumed by an uncontrollable, fiery lust if they see that! Pfffft. Give me a break.

Then there were also teenagers at church who, assuming I was their peer when I was actually in my late twenties, were giving me fashion tips so I could look more trendy, despite the fact that I was extremely poor at the time and could not afford brand new clothes. And telling me I would look better if I parted my hair in the middle. Hair parted in the middle looks great on some people, but I think it looks horrid on me and I don’t care if it’s in fashion at any given time or not.

In the bigger cities I’ve lived in, I’ve felt so free to just be myself. I don’t feel like my appearance is under constant scrutiny. Even when I was more socially active than I currently am, and even when I was heavily involved in church, rarely, if ever, has anyone given me a hard time about the way I look in these bigger places. As I’m preparing to go back to that small town, I’m starting to worry again. What will they be thinking when they see me? And because I’ll be living with my parents, I can’t hide. I will be like a sitting duck for all the people they’re involved with.

I’m fairly satisfied with my wardrobe at the moment, but I would like to go to the salon before I leave the city. Unfortunately, I don’t feel I should be wasting our precious resources on something frivolous when I don’t know when or from where our next source of income is coming. I really want a new pair of glasses too, as my trendier black-framed pair is showing signs of wear in their finish and the metal bits on the nose have turned green. I would at the very least like to get them professionally cleaned. But again, I shouldn’t be spending money on things like that right now. I’m going back to a place where apparently appearance matters (whether it’s because of the social atmosphere of the place itself or because of the people I’m related to there — not just my aunt, but I think the people who are friends with my mom feel they have some kind of authority over me by extension), but I can’t be spending money on my appearance at the moment.

You know what one of my biggest fears is? When I was young, I used to be very passive and I accepted everything everyone said to me without protest or defense, but I’m not like that anymore. And I’m afraid that one day I’m going to lose it and say something extremely rude to anyone who criticizes me or offers me unsolicited advice, kind of like what I said to my aunt five years ago only worse. And I wouldn’t be able to live with myself if I did that. That’s not the person I want to be.

 

The Town I’m Moving to and the Most Difficult Person There

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Photo by Picturepest via Flickr. Used under Creative Commons.

The town that I’m about to move to isn’t my hometown. I love my hometown and would be thrilled beyond measure to move back to it. It’s a really nice place. But my parents no longer live there (my dad cheated on my mom with so many women there it would be awkward for my parents to live there now that he’s reformed), and my husband has never been able to find work there, or even within commuting distance of there, even though he has tried. While I did get bullied in my hometown, mostly in junior high, my bullies have since found me on Facebook and apologized to me. Not so for the people who hurt me in the town I’m moving to.

My hometown is a four-hour drive away from this town I’m moving to.

The town I’m moving to is a smaller town where my mom decided to move us to around the time I turned 16. One of her brothers and his wife live there, which is why she chose it. It’s the town I couldn’t wait to move away from when I was 18, and the town I moved back to after I could no longer make it financially on my own when I was 20. Moving back there at age 20 felt like death. It kind of feels that way now. This will be the third time in my life I will be moving there, even though I’ve never wanted to live there even once.

I do have one friend there, thank goodness. I met her at church when I was 27. She’s the friend who inspired me to start this blog. I am really looking forward to seeing her again. Another friend of mine, the one who visited me this summer, is also from this town but no longer lives there. She doesn’t like it either and says she’ll never live there again. People were not nice to her there. But she does visit family there from time to time and that means I will get to see her more often than I currently do. We have already talked about seeing each other when she visits for Thanksgiving. So those are the two bright spots in all of this. I’m grateful that there are bright spots. It truly would be unbearable otherwise.

One of the people I’m most worried about dealing with there is my aunt. My aunt has the strongest, most dominating personality of anyone I’ve ever met. She is very negative and critical and she lies and schemes. She is nosy and meddlesome and seems to think it’s her right to know every little thing about other people’s lives. She’s extremely ignorant and uneducated (whether formal education or otherwise), yet is the most opinionated person I know. She’s also really into alternative medicine (but in the most ignorant and unskilled way imaginable), and has been known to walk up to me and start slathering goop onto my skin without my permission (I have eczema, psoriasis, and occasional bouts of hives) and every time, my condition has gotten worse instead of better.

All of these things make her an extremely difficult person for me to deal with.

I haven’t seen her since 2011. When I saw her then, one of the first things she said to me was, “Which route did you take to get here?” When I told her, she told me that was the wrong route, and another route would have been faster. Then she ordered my uncle to get a map so she could show me the other route. I was already well aware of the other route, and she was wrong, it was not faster. (According to Google maps, her route is 15 minutes slower.) Even if it had been faster, so what? Maybe I just like the route I took better. That is my prerogative. I don’t understand why she makes an issue out of every little thing. Even so, I didn’t argue with her or defend myself because it was just too much hassle (you have to pick your battles, right?) and because I don’t think well in overstimulating moments like that. She’s so overbearing I’m like a deer caught in the headlights when I’m with her. My point here is that even something as innocuous as which route I took is judged and criticized by her. Imagine what she does with the bigger issues.

When I was living with my mom in my twenties, she greatly disapproved. She thinks adults should be independent. For what it’s worth, I actually agree with her on that; I just haven’t been able to consistently make it happen. Her harassing me about it is not helpful.

It’s going to be so much worse now that I’m in my forties.

This woman is not an emotionally safe person for me to be around. Not only because of her disapproval and criticism, but because of her schemes. When I was in my twenties and didn’t have a job, she assumed I just wasn’t trying hard enough and was very critical of me. Then one day, she told me, “I have a new job managing a restaurant. I’ll give you a job. Come there first thing next Monday morning ready to work.” I said okay. But as the day approached I started getting an odd, prickly feeling about the whole thing. So I phoned the restaurant and asked for my aunt by name. I was told I must have the wrong number and there was no one there by that name. I explained that it was the manager I was wanting to speak to because she had offered me a job there. I was told, “I am the manager, that is not my name, and I am not hiring right now.”

Needless to say, I did not show up on Monday as my aunt had instructed me. The next time I saw her, I mentioned the apparent misunderstanding. She admitted she’d lied about being the manager there. She said she’d done it to “give me the push I needed.” She said if I had shown up at that restaurant Monday morning ready to work, they would have been so impressed by my initiative that they would have hired me on the spot. She is utterly delusional. Maybe that’s how people got jobs in her day but that is no longer the case. Can you imagine how humiliated I would have been if I’d shown up there? I was already feeling humiliated just from the phone call I’d made.

She has not changed. She just recently got my mom involved in a scheme. She told my mom that while visiting another town she’d run into an old childhood friend of my mom’s who wanted to see her. She offered to take my mom to visit this person. When my aunt and my mom arrived, this old friend had no idea who my mom was. She hadn’t been saying she wanted to see her. She had no clue. I can’t imagine what my aunt’s motive was, but something was fishy about the whole situation.

Ever since I got married almost 12 years ago I have managed to shield my husband from her. Especially because he’s a physicist and she thinks science is from the devil. She and my uncle (he’s not as bad as her in other ways, but he is with this kind of thing) once told me that Einstein’s Theory of Relativity is evil because it states that there is no such thing as absolute truth. Say what?! I’m pretty sure they meant the philosophical concept of Relativism, which has absolutely nothing to do with Einstein, his theories, physics, or science (whether or not it’s evil is a whole other matter, but we should at least be clear on what we’re talking about before we get to that). But they were convinced they were correct and that this means physicists are doing the devil’s work.

I do not want them to meet. My husband does not need to be subjected to that kind of thing. But my aunt has it in her craw that she hasn’t met him yet. She writes in the Christmas cards she sends me, “When am I going to meet your husband?” She has meeting him on her agenda and the only thing preventing that from happening thus far has been a lack of proximity.

I know that once I’m living with my parents in that town again, I will not be able to avoid my aunt forever. But I was hoping to at least get settled and get my bearings before having to deal with her. Unfortunately, a well-meaning person who knows we’re moving back there and doesn’t realize we want to keep it on the down low for the time being mentioned it to my mom when my aunt was standing right there. So she knows. And I fully expect her to be a one-woman welcoming committee. That’s going to be a lot to deal with when I’m already stressed and freaked out by the whole thing.

I don’t hate my aunt. I wish her well. She had a rough upbringing and there are reasons she is the way she is. I get that. But I have a hard enough time dealing with ordinary people, and she is… extraordinary. The combination of her personality and my social and sensory difficulties is not a good thing for me. I seriously consider her dangerous to my well-being.

It’s possible to not hate someone and yet still recognize that they are not good for you.

 

Full of Hate?

hurt
Photo from Photofunia

I am reeling with shock and hurt over something someone said to me today.

I was talking to a relative on the phone about my upcoming move. And because I have the tendency to overshare, I started talking about all my anxieties about living in that small town again.

She snapped at me, “I was hoping that now that you’re older you would have mellowed out, but I can see that you are still full of hate.”

What?! Full of hate? Is that how people see me? Is that how I come across?

I guess perhaps I have sometimes said, “I hate that place.” (I don’t think I said that today though.) But it’s not really hate I feel. It’s dread. And fear. I am afraid of the social atmosphere in that town, because I did not cope well in it in the past. I am afraid of certain people, because they have hurt me before and I don’t feel that they are emotionally safe people for me to be around. I am afraid of finding myself in situations that I won’t know how to handle, and I am afraid of handling social situations wrongly and saying the wrong things and getting into trouble with people. I am afraid of that because it has happened more times than I can count. It is not an unfounded fear.

So I will admit to being fearful. But hateful? I wonder if it’s just this one person who sees me this way, or if others do too.

I am deeply wounded by my relative’s words. What a way to kick me when I’m down.

 

My Weak Body, Crumbling in the Face of Adversity Again

Right now, in our current circumstances, I need to muster up all the strength I have to get through it. But instead, my body reminds me how weak I am.

Fever, sore throat, cough, blocked sinuses, vomiting, weakness. Trouble breathing too… but then I had that before I contracted whatever this virus is. I had just gotten back on the inhalers and they were working perfectly until then, however. Now even they are not enough.

I had been feeling good about how diligent I was being with my exercise, even with how stressed out I was, but now I’ve missed two days, because I’ve been afraid that if I tried to drag myself onto the treadmill with a fever I would keel over and hurt myself.

I had also started making headway on the packing, but I haven’t done any of that in two days either.

Time seems to be going by so fast. It’s getting away from me. I can’t keep up with it.

Why am I like this? The stronger I need to be, the weaker I become. I am frustrated and even a little angry because I feel betrayed by my own body. Why can’t I just suck things up and courageously do what needs to be done like other people can? If I’m not breaking down emotionally, I’m breaking down physically. Sometimes both.

Asthma and Stress and Moving

can't breathe
Photo from Photofunia.

My asthma has gotten so out of control in the last couple weeks that I’ve actually been scared. I had been trying to get by without using inhalers because I don’t like being on them all the time. For one thing, they’re expensive (and we have no insurance or anything that covers prescription medication) and for some reason after using them for several months they start making me gag and vomit, so it’s not a good long-term solution for me. I was fine for several months but I think the stress of my husband’s unemployment and the seeming inevitability of moving in with my parents has been making my asthma flare up again to the point where it’s worse than it’s ever been. So I have had no choice but to go back on the inhalers.

I recall reading an article somewhere that mentioned a correlation between having asthma and allergies and, on a psychological level, seeing the world as a hostile place. That is no surprise. With all my sensitivities and all the bad things that have happened to me in my life, I don’t have a particularly favourable view of this world or my life in it. Everything is so, so hard.

Right now I feel like I simply cannot move forward. I cannot face what is coming. I gave our notice to our landlord on Wednesday but I haven’t started packing yet and don’t feel like I can handle a big move like what we have to do before the month is over. But there is no choice. I can’t do it and yet I have to do it.

One of My Little Quirks: I’m Never Bored

Thinking, Bergen
Photo by Saul Grinberg Filho via Flickr. Used under Creative Commons.

So many times since I’ve been staying at home people have asked me, “What do you do all day? Don’t you get bored?”

No, I truly don’t. I don’t even really understand the concept of boredom. It’s not something I can relate to. I think the closest thing I’ve ever felt to boredom is the annoyance of being in a situation where I have to do or pay attention to something I’m really not interested in. But if I’m not doing anything, I don’t feel bored. There is way too much going on inside my head for me to feel bored. As I mentioned in a previous post, I have the tendency to space out and just think my own thoughts. I am completely content doing that.

But other than my spaced-out episodes, I’m rarely doing nothing. Even without a job, there aren’t enough hours in the day to do everything I want or need to do. I think part of it is that I work slowly. A sink-load of dishes that would take my mom ten minutes to wash takes me an hour. Writing a blog post like this can easily take me an hour or two.

I do a lot of writing and reading. I’m a news junkie and browse the headlines and read a lot of news articles every day. And I take a lot of free online courses through the public library and Coursera. I’m learning Norwegian and French on Duolingo. I talk to my parents on the phone three times a week, and each call usually lasts for about an hour and a half. I don’t have a car, so when I run errands it takes me longer than it takes most people. I also walk on a treadmill for 40 minutes most days of the week.

I think my nervous system is so sensitive that I need very little stimulation to be comfortable. And when I am in a situation where there’s a lot of stimulation, like in a noisy, crowded, or busy environment, it takes me a long time to recover afterward. When I was working, I was overwhelmed and stressed out to the point of illness and meltdown.

Under my particular circumstances, I don’t know how I could ever be bored. This is something “normal” people don’t understand about me. “I would go stir-crazy if I didn’t have a job! I would be so bored!” they tell me, and I get the impression they consider that a virtue. I don’t know what to say. I don’t have the same experience.

 

A New Blog: Welcomed Back

welcomed backI have started another blog called Welcomed Back. Right now I’m using it to explore my thoughts and feelings about the possibility of moving back in with my parents next month. My husband is still looking for work and if he finds something in time and we don’t have to take this drastic step, I will delete the blog. But if we carry through with the move, I will write about our experiences adjusting to that new life. Maybe there are people out there going through similar things who will be able to relate.

I will still maintain this blog, and there might be some overlap between the two, but in this one I will continue to share my Aspie feelings and reactions to things, while Welcomed Back will be on a more surface level for a general audience. Or at least I will try to keep it that way.

I do find blog writing to be very therapeutic and this might be one of the things that will help me cope with it all.

A Friend’s Visit

A Candid Conversation
Photo by Christian Yves Ocampo via Flickr. Used under Creative Commons.

One of my long-time friends made the 7-hour drive from another city to visit me last month. She stayed for four days. Our apartment is small, but we made a private little space between the back of the couch and the wall for her air mattress, and that worked well.

It was really nice having her here. We went out shopping and dining. One day we went to the farmer’s market and another day we went to the beach. We had great conversations. I find it really easy to talk to her.

I wrote a blog post in June about not having a social life in this city and said I didn’t really mind that I have no friends here. But my friend’s visit was a nice reminder of how much I can really enjoy being with a friend and socializing when it’s with the right person. With the small number of people I naturally click with and already love and trust, it’s easy to be with them. There’s no social anxiety or constant ruminating on our conversations afterward, wondering what I might have said wrong, like I do with most people.

It makes me wish that I could live in the same city as her. Or that I could make a new friend like her where I do live. But I don’t know if I can make friends like that now. It seems like I made all my friends when I was young and I don’t connect with any new people that deeply anymore. I just find meeting and getting to know new people exhausting now. New people tend to ask me so many questions and put me in the position of having to explain myself and why I am the way I am. My old friends already know all that and accepted it a long time ago. And I think it’s a numbers problem. It’s like I have to meet so many new people in order to find one I might click with, and I open myself up to a lot of stress and pain and potential rejection in the meantime. Maybe I had the energy to do that when I was younger, but I don’t now.

The Hammer Has Fallen

This has been a really hard summer. There has pretty much only been one thing on my mind, and that is my husband’s unstable job situation, knowing he could become unemployed at the end of any month. That’s why I haven’t been blogging; there are only so many times I can write about all that.

But now the hammer has finally fallen. My husband’s last day of work is next week Wednesday. His employer is out of funding. My husband has met with the head of the department and had it confirmed that there is no more work there for him. He has been applying for other things to no avail.

About a month ago, it looked like everything was going to be okay. There was a position that opened up, and the head of the department had asked my husband to apply, implying that he would get it, but when the time came they gave it to another internal candidate who had more seniority. That was devastating, thinking he had something lined up only for it to be yanked away. We have been in situations like that more times than I can count, but it’s devastating every time.

So, if a miracle doesn’t occur before next Wednesday, we will be giving our notice to our landlord and then moving back in with my parents. Words cannot express how much I dread this. It will be even worse than the last time we lived with them, from 2011 to 2013, because they have moved back to a small town where I have a bad history and where there are people who really don’t like me. This is entirely my fault, of course, due to my social cluelessness and my tendency to not control my words when I’m overwhelmed and stressed and hurt (and I did get badly hurt there). There are people there I simply cannot face. I would rather die.

I have been crying for days, and the stress has been causing me and my husband to argue. I have been fighting the inevitability of moving back in with my parents and it has been bothering me how accepting he seems of it. But I think I have reached a point now where I too am resigned to it. I don’t have any fight left in me.