I am 24 years old, living in my childhood home. Feeling like an adult most of the time, until I don’t. I mean it’s hard to relinquish your full adult self when you’re in an environment where you don’t really need to be one. Do I need to work to survive? No. Do I need to make my own meals? No. Do I really need to be fully independent….? also No.
I was in college ok? I made that transition from being dependent to independent. I made the biggest freaking jump you could make. I didn’t half ass it. I went from living with my family in California to attending college in Utah at the University of Utah where I knew no one. A whole new fresh palate that had never been touched by Camille Thoms. I was separated by the life I knew by not only state lines but by time itself (PST to MT). Of course, I was nervous about this but it also gave me this whole new lease on life. I had my own state. No one knew me! Do you know how cool that is!?! No one knew my life story, I could write a fresh new chapter here. A novella unattached from the whole novel! You could read this story as a separate entity from the other!
Recently a guy dropped by my house who was an old friend of my dad’s. I had no freaking clue who he was. He was no different to me as the person who is currently buying grapes at Target is. Though my knowledge of his man meant nothing for he knew who I was. Hell, I could make a very educated guess about the entirety of what he knew. ‘Camille daughter of Roland. She had a brain tumor at seven and has since then has gone through numerous traumatic medical events. She persists. She is always smiling. Is it cancer she has?’ I’m guessing his inner dialogue around me went something like that. He comes in to our house and I say “Hi I’m Camille, -” before I could even finish introducing myself to this man as I’m reaching my hand out to shake his, he envelopes me into a hug. Oh ok. That’s nice. It’s lovely. He cares. Though now to his daughters trailing behind him I am no longer Camille Thoms 24 cool daughter of Roland, I am now Camille Thoms who dealt with some hard stuff and she is to be treated delicately for we’ve never seen her before and our dad does and even HUGGED HER so something up.
Okay so now those are the thoughts that my racing, sensitive mind jumps too and they are highly likely to be wrong. However, and I’m just going to say it, could you tell me directly what that hug meant to you sir? I love hugs, they’re great. Only thing is it pops my normal 24-year-old bubble. With that hug, NF2 was being addressed. Every time NF2 is addressed and I notice 😉 I kind of change and resume said role.
“Yes, I’m doing ok.”
“You know ups and downs.”
“No surgeries on the horizon!”
“Thank you for your support”
Another example is when I went to a house party. We were in the pool, drinking cocktails, singing karaoke in our bathing suits. The whole party was a blast. Towards the end of the party, I was talking to a family friend. She took my hand and placed it in between hers. She gave me this very sympathetic look while still encompassing my hand and said “you are so strong.” This made one of my mental springs snap. I didn’t like the look I was receiving while she said this to me. I’ve had this sentence said to me many times and over the course of my life its changed how I perceive it. In a different context, it would’ve been fine. Though there we were drinking, laughing, loving life. NF2 was far from my mind and then suddenly there it was again. It wasn’t welcome at this party. I like to feel like I have control over when and where NF2 appears. I mean it’s in my body. It never goes away. Though in my mind it does. Mental states are a different thing. So, my mentality got pissed off when NF2 made an appearance at this party.
I’ve noticed everyone has their own way of addressing me. I am starting to learn, through therapy, that I shouldn’t be upset by how people choose to address me. I guess I come with two different schemas attached to my person. One of them: 24 years old adult daughter, the other: Diagnosed with NF2, deals with a lot of medical challenges, never free from surgeries. So, the way I think about it, is people sometimes get stuck between them or choose to use the wrong one. It’s how THEIR feeling that day. It’s how THEY feel comfortable talking to a girl whose been through so much.