• Michelle Partington

I am that brother

Just sat on the bus following another great night at the stand-up comedy workshop with some great people. These workshops have been a life saver for me because not only have I had something to get out of the house for, I have met some people who don't question why I hide behind big coats, hats and headphones. We learn and laugh which is something that is very much absent from my life just now. This is one of the last workshops before we do a live 5 min comedy show which we have written ourselves. I'm nervously looking forward to the event but will miss the meet-ups and the laughs that go with the evening workshops.

I nearly kicked off at the bus station though and had to really try hard not to lash out. I tried to keep my cool by digging my nails into my palms whilst my hands are in my pockets. It's always really busy at the bus station and I automatically go on high alert as soon as I leave the venue; I really try not to but I can't control it just yet.

Whilst waiting for the 2130 bus it begins to rain so I go under the bus shelter. The problem is that everyone else is doing the exact same thing. By the way it's blooming hard trying to write on a moving bus!! Someone decides to get into my personal space and I found that difficult before the added complication of the heightened anxiety. I tried to control myself by taking a deep breath and moving a couple of steps away. Then some other person decides they deserve shelter more than I do and almost stands on me to move me out of the way! I chose not to say anything because I could feel the anger really building up inside me and it wouldn't be good if I kicked off here or had a panic attack!! Thankfully the bus arrived just in the nick of time!

I took myself right to the back of the bus which was virtually full. The windows are all steamed up and I'm currently listening to 'Life for Rent' by Dido. I can't really hear anything else because I am wearing my fabulous noise reducing headphones. All I can hear is a little hum, the slight noise of the bus engine and I can feel the vibration the bus is making. No one is sitting on the back seat with me so I have some breathing space to come down from the anxiety that built up whilst waiting for the bus. My mind started to wander and I started to think about the film with Adam Sandler in, 'When Harry Met Sally'. I don't know if anyone has watched it but Sally has a brother who used to wear headphones all the time to block out loud noises. He also used to have a baseball which he used to carry around with him all the time. If he lost it he would say 'Have you seen my baseball' and this line was used and still used to take the mickey out of someone who was slow at picking up on a joke, or did something really silly. Well I suddenly realised I was that brother but instead of holding a baseball I hold a stone which I rub when I am feeling anxious; sometimes it works sometimes it doesn't. People looked at me funny at the bus stop because I was clearly visually uncomfortable and I started to feel what it was like to be 'different'.

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