For as long as I can remember I have preferred to do things on my own turf. I like my bed, my things, my smells. Some of this comes from hating change. I don’t like change. It’s scary and unknown and I DON’T KNOW THE RULES and if I don’t know the rules then I can’t do it right and if I can’t do it right I don’t want to do it.
While I’m trying to learn to, if not love, at least embrace (stiffly, with an awkward pat on the back) change, I can’t remember a time when I didn’t feel this way. I remember being nine, maybe ten and befriending a little girl down the street. She was five or six and literally lived no more than ten houses down from ours. You could see her front door from ours. We were new the area and she was one of the first friends I’d made since we moved. After a few weeks of running around the neighborhood together I was invited to spend the night. I readily agreed. We had pizza, we made a mess in the basement, we watched a movie. I was fine. I was great. Best. night. ever.
Until it was time to turn the movie off. I think I lasted maybe twenty minutes before I was up and finding her mom. I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t sleep on that bed that wasn’t mine, in a house that didn’t have my things, that didn’t have my parents. She walked me home and even then I felt foolish, knowing I should be able to last one night at my friend’s house down the damn street from my parents. But I couldn’t.
It was either shortly before or shortly after I went to church camp for a week. (Are you laughing as hard as I am right now? I still don’t know how this even happened.)
Same deal. During the day I was fine. There was singing and crafting and braiding of hair and I’m sure we even did the Jesus too. But as soon as those lights went out my mind freaked the fuck out. I can remember laying on my back staring at the ceiling of the cabin and waiting to hear the bell from the church before I went wailing to my camp counselor. (If you’re out there, I’M SO SORRY.) I’m fairly certain I called home every night sobbing, “JUST COME PICK ME UP, JESUS WONT MIND,” into the payphone by the mess hall.
Eventually I grew out it. Mostly. There is a point when I’m in a new situation where everything in my body will clench and it will take everything in me not to turn and run back to the safety of my cat and my bed. Just for a split second.