Breaking Out Of My Self Created Prison

breaking-freeI have been imprisoned for a good while. Not really, but at the same time, yes really.

I have lived in my house for 19 months now. Apart from the bathroom, I only ever use three rooms. The kitchen for cooking and eating. My study for working. My bedroom for absolutely everything else.

The house has other rooms. It has a living room and a dining room – what most people would refer to as the downstairs part of the house. But I have barely used them, only the kitchen.

So when I’m home I’m generally in my bedroom. I write there, I make notes, I read there, I watch TV there, I sleep there.

I’ve turned a 3 bedroom house with 2 reception rooms into something of a bedsit plus.

I understand why this is now, so I’ve begun to challenge it.

I have a tendency to make myself small. Odd for a performer I know, but perhaps that’s my alter ego.

Yet typically, I don’t like to be a nuisance and fear being one by being around. I let others pass in the street rather than going myself. When in other people’s homes I feel uncomfortable about being there in case I mess things up or get on their nerves. I shrink.

Both during and after, I try to make it look like I’ve never been there. I tip toe, literally.

I choose relationships where the other person’s needs can be claimed to be bigger than mine, or where I am expected to slot silently into the cracks of their life without my existence having any change or impact on their lives at all.

And I know that from childhood, my bedroom was my escape place. The place I could go and get some sanctuary from whatever chaos was happening. Clearly, it still feels natural to go there now.

But I’m challenging it. I’ve decided to occupy my space. I’ve decided to be bigger and grow myself into areas of the house I’ve never allowed myself to be comfortable in.

For the last 3 days, I’ve not been to my bedroom unless to sleep.

I’ve done writing on the dining table instead of on my belly on my bed.

I’ve relaxed in front of the TV in the living room, or reclined on the sofa with my book.

I’ve lit the fire!

I hadn’t put the fire on in 19 months of living here. In fact, I couldn’t figure out how to do it, and I had to phone the landlord and ask him. He was a bit puzzled as you can imagine!

But then there I was, in my own living room, behaving like I actually existed and was entitled to take up room on the planet.

I think the only way we can break down our limits is to push past them and claim the alternative to our limitations. We are typically our own biggest barriers – and our own solution.

There is a concept called Kaizen that you may have heard of. It is based around change starting small, but those small changes creating big transormations. It asks “what is the smallest thing you can do today to create change?”

It’s nice if big changes feel too intimidating, and it starts us on the road to change that is more profound.

So it might look small to now use my bedroom only for sleeping, and use my living room for living. But it’s big. It claims my right to exist in the world, to take up space, to have the right to be. It will have bigger implications as I carry that on into the rest of my life.

It feels good. The lights are low, the sofa reclines, the TV is big (compared to my portable upstairs), the fire is cosy, and I’m sat there with a bag of peanuts and a bottle of beer left over from Christmas, and I’m watching Peep Show!

I am now living in my house. All of it. The self created bedsit is no more.

Click here for the daft cartoon I did of the new found me.


  1. morag - January 7, 2014 @ 7:36 pm

    :-) I love your blogs!
    Well done Alun, for the small/big change and for the rare total honesty (again). I can I never would have guessed Xmas Eve, you seemed the perfect relaxed host – well actually you were because we were all relaxed & happy in your home.
    I was reading on co-dependency for work the other day, your comments were reminiscent of that tho you don’t strike me as the co-dependent type. But then what do I know? I’m either totally unobservant/have no psychological insight, or you’re a brilliant actor/enigma wrapped in a mystery ;-)
    Enjoy your well deserved space. Good cartoon too ;-)

  2. alunparry - January 7, 2014 @ 8:16 pm

    Hi Morag

    Yes I was relaxed on Christmas Eve. Christmas Eve is when the room gets used :-)

    Tell me more about the co-dependency stuff. A friend of mine has said similar, but when I read up on it, it seemed a wide enough net to catch anybody in it.

    What did you read that my comments reminded you of.

    In TA terms (Transactional Analysis), the injunctions of Don’t Be Important and Don’t Exist would be the things I’d point to with me in regard to this.


  3. Maylin - January 8, 2014 @ 6:44 pm

    Happy New Year. Living and really enjoying your own space is so important. The fire sounds really cozy so congrats on finally lighting it. Now when are you coming out for a walk???

  4. alunparry - January 9, 2014 @ 12:31 am

    Hi Maylin

    Happy new year.

    I’ll come on that walk anytime.

    As long as it’s not six hours.

    And as long as we stop off for tea and cake!! :-D

    Al 8-)

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