Ms Rachelle lead me to thinking by noting:

The more serious issue is that your parents are not part of the web of your world,
and never will be, they only want you to be stuck in theirs.

So what you need to think of when they’re around is your own survival.

The question that comes to mind is: “What would aid Callan best when her parents are around?”

Grace offered the following powerful, poignant and heart-breaking comment:

I do have one gift, one I do not return, one I would not reject…
anonymity, absence of existence, unattachment.

I should have used it when I read your post, instead of attaching myself to my response.

Rachelle suggests I be concerned over my survival, and she suggests that because she is concerned over my survival.

But what I have done to aid my survival is to embrace the gift that Grace also engages: “anonymity, absence of existence, unattachment.

I am dead much of the time. That’s what I have learned to do to survive, to turn off, to become invisible, to blink out.

This behaviour, well, it may help me survive, but at the cost of faster and more damaging decay. Staying dead means accepting putrefaction, embracing decomposition. Believe me, I feel that destruction, in my teeth, in my kidneys, in my wallet.

My question, I suspect, has to be more than about surviving. Rather it has to be about thriving, somehow, somewhere. It’s too easy for me just to become invisible, anonymous, absent and detached, too easy and too deathly.

My problem is simple: I’m done. I feel much more wrong in my hiding clothes than in my work clothes. Who wouldn’t want to wear black tights and boots and a bit of makeup? Isn’t that right.

Yet, I still force myself to stay hidden in my parent’s world, and since my sister doesn’t feel good being caught between my world and theirs, I stay hidden to her too. Going back into the coffin, well, that seems challenging. That place where I bury myself in the mud, slogging through and camouflaged, anonymous, absent and detached, where my light burns under a bucket, guttering for want of fresh air.

The question isn’t what we do for survival. Rolling into a ball can help with that.

The question is what I do to thrive, to claim, to dance, to live, in my world, in our world.