Yes, I was 20-years-old and sleeping on my parents’ floor.
Okay, an ounce of a backstory real quick. The “first night” as a twinless twin, I slept between my parents in their queen size bed as a 20-year-old. And after that night, I slept on the floor at the foot of their bed for months.
We moved a twin mattress into their room at the foot of their bed on the floor and it was my new bedroom. Here I was. 20-years-old sleeping on a mattress in my parents’ bedroom because I (literally) couldn’t sleep anywhere else. I was lost, petrified, traumatized, and clueless as how to “move forward.” I spent many hours on that mattress processing trauma and trying to “make sense” of my “new reality.”
I was pissed. I was miserable. I was confused. I was sad. I thought about death. A lot. And I was alone. Hence the mattress on my parents’ floor.
I never “had” to be alone before. I never slept in a room without my twin. Okay sure maybe a few times, but 99.5% of the time, she was in the bed next to me. And we did everything together. Everything (I’ll get to how I survived driving alone for the first few months in a later post).
And then one day, months later, I moved out. Out of my parents’ bedroom at least. And moved back into my childhood bedroom upstairs.
So when you first think of a 20-year-old living back in their childhood bedroom, you might not necessarily associate that with success. But to me? This was success. It was a step forward. It meant I was getting better. Slowly. But still getting better. And actually, I’m not sure if “better” is the right term. I think maybe getting “more used to” my new reality might be more fitting.
So how did I move out? Well, this is quite complex. Like I said above, I did a lot of reflecting and I stayed in the “denial stage” for a very long time. For several months and even after that, the denial would creep back in and if I’m really being honest here, maybe I’m still in a little bit of denial today. I don’t know if we will ever fully accept the horrific loss of a loved one.
I got really good at “turning my brain off.” That’s what I would tell myself. When my thoughts started to go down that deep, dark path, I would literally tell my brain “no.” I would focus on things around me. I would breath. Yes, breath.
So in summary, I moved out and although I was still just upstairs, that was progress. That was a step in the right direction. I guess with this post, the point I’d most like you to take away from it is that progress is progress. Don’t focus on making strides right away. There is absolutely no way I could’ve gone from sleeping on my parents’ floor to packing up all my belongings and heading off back to college. Like no way. I mean sure technically, but it wouldn’t have been good for anyone.
So if you or someone you know is struggling, remember that a step forward is a step forward. Don’t focus on the mile ahead. Just put one foot in front of the other. It won’t always be like this.
You’ll move out one day just like I did.