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I wake up with my heart pounding.

As I’ve mentioned before, I have dreams where ex2 has re-appeared in my life, in my house, in my bedroom and all of a sudden I have to get rid of him again. I tend to be surrounded by packing boxes. While I understand the horror I feel at having him back in my life again after no communication in nine years, I’ve only just started to think about the packing boxes.

My parents moved around a lot, always for jobs and a better life without considering other consequences. My father has since acknowledged that the lack of stability harmed me and 1sis. It’s a bit late.

I first moved when I was one. I don’t remember it at all. But I’d only lived in Yorkshire for one year and considering that is the one place my father has emotional ties to such that he brought me up to consider myself Yorkshire first, it was actually quite confusing to not have spent more time living there.

Then, when I was seven, we moved abroad. I didn’t want to move and was scared stiff of the idea of living in a different country, with different languages and customs. I remember I only started sounding positive when my parents told me we were going to move to a large “manor” which sounded awfully posh and exciting. My father went over first, staying in a flat and we went over and visited once or twice until our house was ready. I lost my red bag in the move and that hurt.

When we moved back to London I wasn’t told until it was a done deal and then they couldn’t understand the fact that I didn’t want to go. I’d just made my first good friend after having changed schools and life actually seemed quite brilliant. We didn’t have a house to move to so again we rented a flat for six months. We even stayed at a friend’s holiday flat for a few weeks while finding somewhere to rent.

That was the house I stayed at until I left home, after which I moved around so many times (over twelve at a rough count) and for so many reasons but never once because I had decided that the move was what I wanted to do.

Even this place where I am now, although it is home and will be home forever, was not mine to choose. We were homeless and the council gave it to us. It is possibly the greatest piece of luck that I’ve had in my life that I accidentally came to live somewhere that feels like home, the first time I’ve wanted to put down roots and paint the walls.

I have friends who occasionally bump into people on the street that they went to school with and never saw since. I find that incredibly bizarre. I’m part envious although I also think how boring to have lived your whole life in the same place.

Packing boxes represent that lack of stability, the lack of roots, the lack of choice, the feeling of not being in control. There are also memories that I’ve put into boxes and don’t want to open as well as fear of what I might have to put into boxes next.

When I dream that I’ve finally escaped ex2 I usually end up in some flat or house surrounded by my children, blank packing boxes and totally blank white walls, ready for me to make my mark on. The power to do so is all mine but what I feel is desperation that I have to start all over again from nothing with no knowledge of where I am, what I am or even what lies outside the front door. Moreover I have to do it all on my own, with no help or support. It’s a blank canvas for life that scares the crap out of me.

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