Peterborough, Ely, Thetford, Norwich

I hate stations. I hate trains.
They remind me of going away from home. I was born afraid: my Mum had to stay with me at playgroup; I cried for my first term of primary school, and secondary school. I cried at Guides and I cried at sleepovers.

I didn’t cry when I went to university for the first time because I was afraid that I would start and wouldn’t be able to stop. I knew I wasn’t going to like it because I had been hysterical before I moved away, and I was right because I lasted three weeks and three days before going home and begging my parents not to make me go back. I’ve met people who think this is a weak decision, but it wasn’t a decision. By the time I went to catch the train home for the last time, I was in such a state of panic that I couldn’t have gone back.

And so this brings me into trains and stations. For me, they are a constant reminder of going away from home; of leaving what is safe and being alone and away from the people and places that make me feel OK. People talk about a comfort zone and mine is very small. Sometimes is has been non-existent.

I am, however, trying (ha. Yeah. I know.). I am on the train today because I am going to visit my sister. Despite what my body is telling me (mainly to go home and hide in bed), I know that I am safe and I will have a nice time and that I love my sister and being with her. I know that, once I get off the train, I will be fine and that there is nothing threatening about being here.

Sometimes, I talk about being kind to yourself and allowing time off, or being understanding about not doing things. But some things are really important to challenge and to keep doing and this is one of them. There is no way of being less afraid of something than to keep doing it.

So here I am. I am on a train and I am safe.

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