Sunday, 7 May 2017

The Things That Your Mum Can't Fix.

The thing about shifting yourself out of the family home and into the world is that you have to start to deal with the Things That Your Mum Can't Fix. Of course, I'm not actually in the world yet, I'm in a sort of pretend one, at university, where I can still have meals made for me and if I really need it a real adult will help me sort things out.

It's still a step up from mum and dad being in the next room, and there's still a sense of launching yourself into adulthood without the instruction booklet or a helmet to help with the crash landing. You arrive in the world alone, ready to force strangers to be your friends and hope that they like you. You arrive in the world really hoping that at some point these strangers will be able to look after you.

Thing is, I'm not talking about having to do the washing up every day, or making sure you clean the sheets regularly, I'm talking about the emotional labour of putting your lifeline at the end of a phone and throwing yourself into the hands of people you've only just met.

You're not reinventing yourself, as such, but suddenly you find yourself peeling back layer by layer to friends you have decided to trust. You watch people learn about you as an almost fully formed adult. There's a lot for them to catch up on, a lot for them to get to know, and it all happens at double speed.

The Things That Your Mum Can't Fix are the things that made me realise that nobody can read my mind except for my mother. I've had to learn to ask people for help, to allow myself to trust, and to allow myself to be completely vulnerable in front of brand new friends.  The learning about each other happens at double speed because no one else is around to take care of us. Okay, Mum is still at the end of a phone call, but she's not there to hold you when you cry or when you're scared or when you think you need some helping out. You've got to both be that for other people, and let them do it for you.

It's a gamble when you meet new people to know whether you'll be able to trust them with all sides of yourself, but when you get it right it really, really works. It's a new kind of love, a new kind of friendship, a new kind of being. And it's great, and it feels great, and I am very lucky.