2021 seems to be a delayed 2020 for me. While 2020 was crippling for many, many people worldwide, it was a little bit easy for me personally. As someone with mental and physical issues, the less people could be outside, the less I felt the pressure to be too. I was already accustomed to a life inside and was happy that it was more of an indoor world where I didn’t have to be social. As I’ve said before, my state in Australia was very quick and held to having borders closed and quick contact tracing when it came to COVID numbers, which helped us bounce back incredibly fast, so much so that we’re kind of back to something like 98-99% pre-COVID ‘normality’ here.
I’ve also had no financial or other issues that I’ve had, I have no children or my own family to worry about.
Another big difference is I wasn’t personally affected by COVID, a few family close-calls, but that’s all. This is the thing I’ve been most thankful for in the past year; too many other people have been personally affected and sadly, it is still a traumatic, everyday struggle with a long road ahead.
2021 though… hooo, this bastard.
This year I have had new morsels added to my metaphorical plate. The first is my dad retiring and coming to live with me. As an autistic person, a new personal brings change to the house, your routine, pretty much everything that neurotypicals just don’t understand for the most part. My dad is also in ill health so relies on me (although he really doesn’t want to) until he can get help sorted.
I’ve also been having my own health issues, however as you might have seen from my recent posts, they’re getting sorted, although it still means I have to put in 4x the effort than what a normal person would (thanks, PCOS!).
But what’s really been the struggle is family.
You might remember that not too long ago I talked about Georgio*, and when I wrote that post it was just before Christmas. Surprisingly that Christmas was okay (I found out later that he did start being an ass to my sister but surprisingly, it was over something small).
However, this year has brought two occasions where Georgio’s Mr Hyde was knocking on the door; once at Easter where it thankfully subsided, but the other…
I’ve talked about it enough in my personal life that I don’t feel like dredging it up again to you right here. I will say that too much alcohol was involved and it was a restaurant-setting spectacle. It was a birthday for Antony* for chrisssake. I remember excusing myself to the bathroom and sitting in a stall for I don’t know how long, thousand-yard staring at the door, every fiber in my body vibrating while my body felt like lead.
Somehow, I pulled myself together, and pretended everything was fine for the next four hours. Then when I got home, I zoned out again as he took off my clothes, dragged myself into a shower, and sobbed the whole time.
A couple of weeks later it was Easter, an important celebration where red eggs are cracked, food is had and if we’re really lucky, we act like a family that can stand each other.
Georgio didn’t drink as much as the previous gathering, but he did have some, and of course a controversial topic, COVID, came up. Again I’m not going into it with you but I’ll say that Georgio’s belief aligned with anti-Bill Gates, anti-vax.. you get it.
The big difference this time was almost all family was present and opposed his thinking. Heated discussions arose but for the most part, Georgio was in the very very very small minority. Instead of acting out, Georgio stayed in the lounge room alone, not wanting to interact with anyone, even when we invited him to play a game. If you’re wondering, Georgio is an adult.
If you are from a family-orientated culture, you know that family arguments or issues are huge. It’s hard to illustrate how big this is to typical Anglo-Saxon families; ones that see their grandparents once a year or talk to their parents or siblings when it’s something important. When it’s bad, the rifts are deep, the hands that hold you up disappear, and it’s just…. sad. Your family is broken. You wish they could just like each other, act like a “real” family, stop fighting because it just hurts everyone.
Well, another celebration is coming up, this time for Gina*. Gina has been a welcomed presence, and I adore her. So when I was invited to her celebrations and told Georgio will be there, my stomach turned. Even when thinking about it (and typing about it) right now it’s making my stomach turn, I’ve thought about it constantly since I got that message, and I said yes I’d go! Right after getting it I said yes!
And you’re probably wondering why. Well, I stayed at Antony’s birthday after the fighting because it was all for him, it was his birthday. And I want to do the same for Gina, she deserves a great celebration, and I’ve been guaranteed less alcohol will be had and not much riling up beforehand (there will also be less people, again, don’t want to get into that).
This morning I asked my sister and my friend if I would be overreacting if I told Gina I now won’t be going; I am on my period and I don’t know if that’s a suitable thing to do. This is just one example of a time where I ask myself if I’m being too sensitive and it actually won’t be that bad, even though I’ve lived a life of these moments going tremendously long. I need to know if I’m being silly, if I should just calm down and I’ll be able to think rationally later on.
They both answered the exact same; they were surprised and both said not to go.
I haven’t called Gina yet, but I will. The guilt has eaten me up all day; I know Gina will understand as she’s seen it, she knows it, but I don’t want her to think I’m putting her in between two people or that it’s her fault in some way. She does so much for me, I love spending time with her, but…
I guess we’ll see.
*names have been changed.