I’ve been to coffee mornings to attack aliens, given money to help make sonic chemo guns to blast the buggers into outer-space, worn ‘I hate alien’ wristbands and given my love to those who have had an invasion in their Enterprise. Everyone says ‘you never think it will happen to you’ and I have to admit that this was wholeheartedly me; my brain had never contemplated that an alien would come to my family. Then again, even if I had I know nothing could have prepared me for this.
My mam is not only a parent, but my best friend – so an attack on her is also an attack on me, on my family. I’ve cried, sat still in silence, we’ve laughed and I’ve been beyond anger, but I genuinely can’t find a single word in the English vocabulary that can truthfully encapsulate the concoction of emotions that are constantly hurtling through my body at the speed of light. Emotions that I have never experienced before.
Below are the closest illustrations I can find, within my earthly limitations:
1 Life in a Bubble
When the alien was first discovered I sat almost on my mam’s knee, cuddling like we used to when I was a child. She said she felt like she was ‘inside a bubble’ – like our little lives were the same and we could still see it around us, but there was a film between what was happening and normal life. My mam set up a Facebook group called ‘Alien Attack’ for family and close friends – to keep everyone up-to-date, but to remind everyone that she hasn’t changed and she still wants the same conversations; to hear the gossip and to know what everyone is still up to. I think this will pop the bubble.
2 Hoberman Sphere (pictured)
You know, those plastic things that are jagged, spiky and compact when closed, but can moved very quickly into a large sphere… that! That’s how I feel.
Whether it’s the small compact shape or the large sphere, it’s still made of the exact same components, nothing’s been taken away – they’re just in a completely different (and unexpected) configuration.
At times I feel all the bits are together; really tight and stable, but then from nowhere, without any warning or triggers they can shift quite drastically. It takes time to realise that everything that was there before, everything that you had is still there, still connected in the same way, but they have just shifted and you have no choice but to get used to that. And then it shifts again.
3 “The universe rearranged itself around me”
Whilst having a coffee with a friend, whilst trying to articulate my fluctuating emotions, he quoted a line from a book he was reading – Ben Lerner 10:04. When I found out about the alien joining our family, it felt as though the whole universe had moved, flipped, mirrored, doubled-back on itself…all whilst I was stood still. This was the new normal. I’m also looking at the world a bit differently now, it its new arrangement – important things are at the forefront whilst the mundane or petty are somehow faded into the background. The rearrangement was unexpected – I did not have time to soak up what it was like before. It also continues to rearrange – sometimes hopeful, sometimes scary, but always without me taking a single step.
My friends and family have been wonderful at supporting us; making sure that we are all looking after ourselves as well as each other, everyone with a genuine interest in how we are doing…I cannot speak for the rest of my family, but to those reading this, I hope it helps to explain.