The picture heading this article is by Gerd Altman from Pixabay.
I have now three decades and almost a half decade under my belt. I am 34 as of writing this article, and it is not always fun to look back, especially if, all you have to look back at is trauma.
Sometimes, even though there was trauma, and lots of it, it is necessary to look back, to see how much you have grown as a person. My 20’s were a period of a lot of growth. All my relationships stem from this period. The most tumultuous things that happened with my mom were from this period, eventhough the seeds for these were sown in childhood (you get what you sow, mom). To give you an idea of the mood I am in… I am listening Moonlight Sonata by Beethoven (Fun Fact: I was in kindergarten and high school with a girl that was a descendent of Beethoven).
Things I though I would never do:
Sometimes it’s easier to start with the easiest first, and also… the most obvious, and also were I got the idea for this article from. The laundry. It mistified me for such a long time. My mom kept it difficult for me on purpose, I think. I think she did it to keep me helpless and to grow a fear in me (which succeeded up to a certain point) that I would always be helpless and not be able to be away from her for to long. This fear marks most of my twenties.
Sidetrack: I have had 2 days of bowelproblems in 2008, around this time, and it made me feel so utterly helpless that I lived in fear for 3 months straight… not daring to go in the bathroom to take a bath or to my bedroom to sleep. I slept on the couch in the living room and didn’t leave the house at all… until I took it into my hands to grow. This is the fear I talk about. This is the fear that was then created, but now mostly conquered. It still surfaces on days were I have bowelproblems, but less so than it was then.
When did I learn to do the laundry? I conquered that one when my last girlfriend moved out after an almost 5 year relationship. We both got the same washing machine and she explained to me what everything did, the settings I should use and that is it. I read the manual to be absolutely certain (not that I didn’t believe her, but I had to have the programs into my mind), and it dawned on me, while doing the laundry just now, that I have been doing it for a year succesfully now. We don’t look at the pile of socks that I still need to match that is sitting on top of my laundry machine… no, stop looking.
I live alone
One of the things that I never thought I would be able to do, was live alone. I do now. I do it with a support system in place, off course, but who doesn’t have support. I have support from a councelor, but a neurotypical would have support from friends and family. I don’t have that many friends because I don’t need that many, and I don’t have any contact with family whatsoever, but I still manage to live alone. I love living alone. I am not the most housecleaning person that lives in the western hemisphere, nor will I say I am, but I manage. When I know somebody comes over, I will make an effort to clean the appartment and offer them a beverage in a clean mug. Don’t come by unexpected though, I don’t guarantee I will be able to offer the same things by then, but my fear stems from those 2 days in 2008, never having any money as I lived home and my mom claimed most of my finances and just not being that world-savvy. I am now much more then I was back then.
Being in a relationship
Who would want a disabled, fat, ugly person like me. That was my thought process at 20-21-ish, and before. I was almost made to feel ugly, starting from childhood. I was called smelly (now knowing it was because of my mom’s smoking and not good hygiene overall). They called me monster most of the times, even in my last year of highschool… One person changed all this, and she doesn’t know it. My first sexual relationship changed all of this, somewhat. I will never forget her name or that moment. I will never forget the confidence that that first sexual encounter gave me. Being made fun of as a monster and then seeing that you are desireable and that somebody wants to have sex with you is a feeling I can not describe. I still struggle with feeling ugly or undesireable. I do. That first sentence of this paragraph still haunts me, as it was ingrained in me for 2 decades, and if research towards music taste teaches us something, it could well be for the rest of my life. For someone that doesn’t feel good in their skin, I did things other people that don’t feel good in their skin would never do though… Who of you would do a wicca-ritual with people you hardly know in the nude?
Meet the most wonderful people
Dont’ get me wrong. I keep meeting wonderful people, but the folks that I still have contact with and that changed my life the most, I met during this decade (as of writing). I met a couple people that are quite special to me the last year, but that is something to look back at when I make a follow up to this one. People don’t know how much of an impact they have on other people. When I am at my lowest, when I am suicidal, I fail to see it as well, but I do have an impact on people. people I cherish the most, I met during my 20’s. A girl I still love until this day, I met in 2011 in real life (in 2010 digitally), and it still is a person I still hold dear, eventhough our relationship ended in 2013, I can give you exact dates for this one if you want me to. 7th of may 2011 is when we met up in the park of Breda in the Netherlands and the 4th of april 2013 is when she ended it through skype and a few weeks later, is when I saw her the last time in real life. My first relationship, with my first sexual encounter, lasted from 28th of february until 18th of april 2010. Why can I give you these dates, but not the ones from my relationship in 2014 or the one that started in 2015? I can give you the starting date of the one in 2015, as we set it at the 1st of november, we met online during Nano. I couldn’t give you the start or the end date of the one in 2014 as that was a horror-relationship that broke me, to be honest, but still taught me a valuable lesson. The lesson being that you can not help everybody, or should stop when it becomes unhealthy for you.
I will state myself that I performed a miracle in helping that girl out of the relationship she was in. She is now married to my former best friend, but it broke me. Hard. My first suicide attempt stems from the 5-6th of january 2015 after that relationship. I was that broken. I still got a valuable lesson. One I carry with me until this day. One that needs refining, but one I still practice. The lesson being: when a person needs help, you are not the person to help them. You can stand by their side, but they need to help themselves. You can not force a thing. They will not love you for helping them. They might be thankful, but even that you can not expect. I walked away from a similar girl as that ex 2 times now. 2 different times it didn’t feel good and I had the strength to walk away. The first time later than I did the second time. I had to. My mental health is a costly investment now (due to the psychological help that isn’t cheap), that I am not going to waste on some fling or some girl that thinks she can use me to pull herself out of a pit. I will do what I can, off course, when I feel it is healthy, otherwise I will walk away and be glad I did. Not everybody can be helped, they need to be ready to be helped.
My degree/My diagnosis
I could have gotten my degree when I as 18. I didn’t. Simply because I was undiagnosed autistic and adhd. To me, looking back, the signs are clear. I was clearly autistic and adhd. It needs a fine radar to be able to pick up a case like mine, although, if you know what to look for, it’s glaringly obvious. But I didn’t get my degree until I fought for it. I had some luck as well. I don’t know how many of the luck I had was due to decisions made in my favour, but I got my degree because of a few factors, one being: NO FRENCH EXAM. A French exam would have killed me. All the rest I did have in my pocket though. I got a good mentor that year, in my high priest, that said to me in these terms: “you are going to school to get a degree, not to make friends”. That was the year I looked at it that way. I didn’t try to make friends, not with the teachers, not with my fellow students. I just went to school, and did what I had to. I improved a lot during that year as well. I showed my teachers that I could be organized… although in a way that suited my undiagnosed adhd. I showed them that I had the knowledge, by finishing a project the other students did 40 hours over, in 8-10 hours, due to me being home most days that they did the project (being undiagnosed autistic and adhd makes you exhausted and I just had enough of masking, so I stayed home most fridays). This showed my teachers that I could do what my degree asked of me and I got my degree… doing the same year 3 times. I got my diagnose when I was 29, my degree when I was 21, but I still had both of them in my 20’s and without both of them, I wouldn’t be the person I am today.
This is what I gained during my 20’s and it’s a hell of a lot. I wouldn’t be the person I am today, if I didn’t have all those lessons I got during my 20’s. If I didn’t do all those things I did during my 20’s, I wouldn’t be the person I am today. I have let go of a lot of people. Some I still miss a bit, others I couldnt’ be more glad I could get rid off. I will name a few.
My mom. Good riddance. A former friend I had for (as it would be today) 28 years. He stabbed me in the back due to the girl in 2014. I haven’t spoken to him since. At all. Not a word. A former friend that only wants contact when you message first. 20 years, it would’ve been. I can not keep messaging in the hopes of keeping a friend. I don’t beg for attention anymore. A real friend will contact you themselves. He hasn’t. In all those years. (don’t get me wrong, I did try, but I don’t have the spoons to keep on trying and I am worth more than that).
I am curious as what I will write about my 4th decade on this earth when I hit 40. In 6 years… Only six years… so close.. yet so far…