I sit in a house with over a dozen rooms yet the noise makes it way to my ears regardless of where I am in it – as do people. No matter where I go or where I am I find company joins me invited or otherwise. In a house this big and four people in it you would think that there would be enough space for everyone – it’s one of the reasons we decided to move last year, to give us more room for everyone to have their own place to go rather than live on top of each other. I could have saved myself a fortune and downsized to a studio flat and had the same amount of peace and quiet some days.
I love my family to pieces, but like everyone else we all need those moments of pure escape from everyone around us just to survive some days. You look outside and see the trees battling the invisible wind and the rain is thrown against the window panes and inside you dread the fact that you are a prisoner in your own house. I would bet that many who suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder actually suffer from “Family” instead during our darker, colder and wetter months of the year. The turn in weather always coincides with my patience slowly disappearing for the words and actions of those around me – not their fault but they are the ones who are shouting and screaming and invading my space.
One of the big things for me with the new house was that I would get an office once again, and fortunately Jill also has one and the kids have a bedroom each as well as playroom. So why is it when I want to escape to my own space do I find my good lady sitting at my desk? Or when I’m writing or relaxing do the kids take it upon themselves to visit every two minutes – Jenna usually in states of undress until the inevitable naked bum wiggle to prove it, and Jake whining about something that he wants and doesn’t have. The thing is I respect each of their spaces. I don’t sit in Jill’s office and use her laptop, neither do I constantly turn up at the playroom door and ask forty questions of the kids as they watch Phineas and Ferb for the umpteenth time that day – leave them be. I must have hidden magnets or “come find me” sign on my back I can’t see.
For me the living room and the dining room are our communal areas for meeting and chatting – occasionally we’ll have to shout on each other out with those spaces but mostly we sit and watch TV together or chat around the table. There are so few moments when we can actually enjoy the space and silence that this house should offer us – I say we but selfishly I mean me. I need that separation so our family doesn’t become a reconstruction on Crimewatch. While I understand the kids are still at the age when they want to make a lot of noise for no reason, I bought a house big enough that I shouldn’t have to hear them make it. Is that so unreasonable? Is it just me that is being a complete arse here or am I in the right here?
Without those moments, even hours, where I can sit and listen to music or audiobooks, read myself into other worlds and characters, write without the constant punctuation of human interrobangs and ellipses, put on a show I’ve been looking forward to from the Sky Planner, or just do absolutely nothing after a week where I have to be on the go the whole time thinking, speaking, planning, writing, marking, cooking, driving, typing and everything else…. I will implode.
As I type this I feel the blood pulsing around my temples causing a surely visible sign to those around me. I always wondered why I got headaches on Sundays more than any other day, but I think I’ve got it all worked out now – a lack of silence and space. The two things in life that are completely free to us yet appear to be out of reach of the majority of us.