By ROSIE WATERLAND
About a month ago, I was on the bus going home when it pulled up at a stop outside a restaurant that was having its staff Christmas party. Music was blaring and people had spilled out onto the footpath, drinks in hand. When the bus opened its doors, two of the party-dwellers jumped onboard and invited everyone to the party.
It went something like this: “PARTY issshhh hanapening! Come for fun timesh! EVERYONE isshh vited!” (That was my attempt at making them sound inebriated.) A few people on the bus laughed and said a friendly “no thanks”, and I thought that would be the end of it.
But to my utter shock and total incomprehension, a couple actually stood up and said “Yeah! We’ll go!” and jumped off the bus. Everyone at the party cheered while the couple shook hands with all their new friends and went inside. Other bus passengers clapped and told them to have a good time. All in all it was a joyous scene filled with good times and holiday cheer.
Yet all I could think was: “Ugh. What a nightmare. Why would you spontaneously go to a party where you don’t know ANYONE, when you could be at home in bed watching old Seinfeld episodes?”
Cue life-changing epiphany.
But first, a bit more context: This bus event came right on the back of my feelings being hurt when I heard a friend had been bitching about me because I never wanted to go out. I subsequently tried to write something for my blog saying something like, “Get over it. I just don’t like going out that much. Liz Lemon doesn’t either so suck it” etc etc blah blah blah. But when I got to the part in the piece where I had to explain why I don’t go out that much, I was stuck, because I didn’t have a definitive answer.
Why don’t I? I used to. When I was 20 and a social butterfly, it wasn’t unusual for me to get a phone call at midnight, get out of bed, chuck on some clothes and head into the city to meet friends. These days though, once I’m home, that’s it. In my pyjamas? Good luck. But ALREADY IN BED? Well that’s an unequivocal no. I’m in for the night kids – have a good one.
At first I tried to write that it was just a sign of me getting older. Maybe I had just grown out of my spontaneous, adventurous phase? Then I thought that maybe it is just who I am – that going out in my late teen years was what was out of the ordinary, and now I was just reverting back to my old self.
(I was the girl in school who never went to parties – I was the one who invited you over to watch movies inside the blanket fort she’d built around her TV. At 15. Yeah – yikes.)
But no matter how I tried to frame the reason for my hermit, television-filled life, I couldn’t seem to make it work – it just didn’t seem genuine. And that’s because it wasn’t. I couldn’t come up with a genuine reason for why I don’t like to leave my bedroom, because I genuinely don’t know the exact reason I don’t like to leave my bedroom.
My C-PTSD and subsequent weight gain have blurred the lines between what I’m avoiding because of my size and what I’m avoiding because of preference.
I literally cannot tell the difference at this point. I don’t know if I prefer to stay home because I’m getting older, or if it’s just who I am, or because I’m ashamed of my body. My weight is pretty much the sole reason I haven’t been living my life the last few years, but if (like I’m now trying to do) I take my size out of the equation, I have no idea what’s what.
So, having been thinking about all this and struggling to put it into words, when that happy couple jumped off the bus to join the random party, my immediate and usual negative reaction jolted something awake within me. That was the moment of my life-changing epiphany.