For some people, living in the city is great, it provides accessibility and the ability to traverse with public transit every inch of the world that you want to inhabit. For me, that’s not the case. For me I need a sanctuary. I need a quiet place to call home, where I can conserve my spoons – so that I CAN go visit the city. So that I can go out and hang with my friends, so that I can play late into the night.
So my husband and I are moving to the suburbs. We’re buying a house. It’s further away from Manhattan than I had expected, but it’s perfect. it provides sanctuary. I can make it my own. A garden, a service dog, walkable trails and pools close by – a place where I can be without having to struggle through the realities of living above a bar. My sanity will be fully restored. The overstimulation of the last few years will melt away, and I’ll be able to live a more functional and active lifestyle. For some people, Manhattan is the center of their universe, and they cannot imagine being separated from it – for me? I love Manhattan. I would love to be close to it. But I need space from it to enjoy the city at the center of the world. I need space and time to recover from the assault on my senses which Manhattan provides me – perhaps I’ll actually go to the ballet or the opera now that I can enjoy the city for the place that I love rather than the place I dread going to because of the noise and the sights. And this way I can provide a sanctuary for my friends who live in that massive place.
Some of my friends have expressed skepticism that they’ll ever see me again – and I understand that fear. But I think what my friends forget, is that I’ll be able to live a life in which I’ll be the person they knew years ago. I’ll be the active person I want to be, not the sedentary recluse who has to force herself out the door in the morning. It’s not like I’ll never leave, I suspect my adventures will actually be more prevalent this way.
But making changes means that I need my friends to support me. I need them to recognize that just because I’m moving further away doesn’t mean that I won’t be there. I want my friends to remember that this is about my mental health, it is about creating a place where i can be their friend better than I can be now. I need this. So does my partner, and if we don’t make changes, I’ll just continue feeling like I don’t do enough with my life.
Plus, for the first time in my life I’ll be living in a town where there is a guide dog school – and that means that the community knows more about people with visual impairments than most places. There’s true accessibility to this life style that I am seeking, one in which I may actually feel safer than I do today.
The choices we make as people with disabilities need to be supported – we need to know that when we make steps to take back our spoons, our friends will be there. Our communities will make the effort to meet us with our full set of spoons in hand, and that they won’t make us feel like those choices push them away.
What choices have you made to support yourself and to collect more spoons per day that may have made your friends question you? How did you handle it, and in what context? What are the things that you do to make yourself a happier healthier human?
Let’s increase our spoons, decrease our stress, and take steps into a better future for us all. Myself included.