This year we are heading to my hometown of Spennymoor, Co.Durham for Christmas. I haven’t been back since Christmas 2013 and I don’t go back often. Whenever I have to go back home I’m filled with excitement, dread, and anxiety.
I can’t frigging wait to see my family and friends. I’m particularly excited to give my sisters a big swish and see my gorgeous hilarious little niece. My Mam and I are really close now, so it will be amazing to spend some quality time together. She’s my number one YouTube fan which is ridiculously cute. I mean I have a small following, but none the less she’s always proud, even when I’m feeling cringe about a video. She can even tell if I’m not feeling myself just by watching a video. Bless!
The excitement has been a little overshadowed recently as it gets closer to going. I’m always nervous. I have a lot of bad memories and uneasy feelings about the place. There is a lot of people I don’t want to bump into and it’s a small town so the likelihood of that happening it’s not that unlikely actually. The thought of seeing some people makes me feel massively insecure. I don’t know why. I should feel confident and proud of myself. I moved away almost 10 years ago and created a new life and a good one at that, but sometimes we carry the past for a long time. I think it’s contributed to not feeling myself recently as the pending date gets closer and closer.
My Mam called me recently saying “when you get here, we’ll go to the supermarket and get a food shop for you guys”. The sentiment was sweet, she just wants to ensure we have all our favourite foods, but the thought made me feel sick to the pit of my stomach. I don’t want to go out, I don’t want to bump into people. The thought of it in fact makes me feel a little teary. I just want to hide away whilst I’m there. I went through a phase where I pretty much unfriended everyone from my Facebook from back home (bar a few people I was close to when I lived back home or at school), not because they had done anything wrong but because I wanted to put all my past life behind me. Recently I’ve become Facebook friends again with people from school and back home, which sounds daft as social media is not real life but it’s a huge step for me.
Now don’t get me wrong I will see some friends from back home that I can’t actually wait to see, but it’s a very select few that have stayed in touch with and are really supportive of me. There is no anxiety there and they are lovely people. In fact, most people from back home are lovely and despite all these hard and heavy emotions, I’m proud of where I’m from. Yet, I still have an uneasy feeling about going home. I have to go though, I don’t see my family enough as it is and I’m desperate to see them. I miss and think about them every day. Don’t get me wrong, I love living in Bournemouth and if I could live anywhere I’m pretty certain I’d still live here (although I’d have an amazing holiday home somewhere hot!) but I do wish I could see the people I love from back home more.
I only see my Dad about once a year and my Granddad I haven’t seen for 3 years. If visitation visits were anything to go by I’d be the worse daughter, granddaughter, and sister ever! My Mam visits about 3- 4 times a year, which is lovely because I’m so crap at visiting her.
Then you have the delight of about an 8-hour travel with two kids and the panic of making sure you see everyone in the space of one week so no one is upset (I always want to see everyone, but when you only have a week it’s hard to please everyone with how much time you spend with them).
Last time we went I was pregnant with my son so we only had our daughter to travel with. We took everyone’s advice and decided to travel at night whilst she slept. Only she didn’t sleep. It was the journey from hell with her being so excited and asking every minute “are we there yet” until 5 am when she finally fell to sleep about 10 minutes before we arrived.
I’m sure once I’m there I’ll have the most amazing time and I won’t be hiding away – I have people to see and things to do so I’ll be putting on my big girl pants and getting on with it. One of my sisters still lives in Co. Durham, but the other lives in London. All of us being together is very rare, but this year with us both traveling home we get to be together eek! If I don’t make the most of this I know I’ll feel regretful. If I can work through this anxiety it will be one of the best Christmas’s ever just because of the company. The kids will love Christmas there and to me, Christmas is all about them. I never want to deprive them of experiencing a Christmas up North, because I’m unwilling to work through my emotions. What you resist persists so it’s time to go home and spend time with my wonderful family ☺
Wish me luck,
It Did Do Harm – An open Letter to Grandparents & Those With Adult Children
(Blog post on generational trauma)