I never knew just how important this was to me – or how random a tether could be – until my trusty ‘Rosie’, my laptop, met an early death thanks to a cup of coffee.
I remember some years ago now, when my world began to change, that the feeling I had most of all was the idea that the rug had been ripped out from under me, that I was untethered, and floating through space with no signposts anymore. I lost all that I thought I knew, all I thought I had. My security, safety – my sense of self – was all ripped out from under me without my say-so.
I recovered from that experience and found a way back to myself in the years that followed. In the end of a relationship and uprooting myself interstate, I took little but some clothing and my little Rosie. Over the months that followed, my laptop became my world – it was my link to family, friends and often enough myself. It was my key to the universe, my back-up brain – it was my all. I didn’t consciously think much of it, though. I didn’t really consider just how important it was. Until the very instant it was taken away.
I was right back there again. The rug ripping moment had come back to find me again, and I was floating, untethered. I felt alone in a way I hadn’t since that first time. I felt lost and on pause – nonfunctional to extremes. And finding someone who understood that was harder than I thought it might be.
Once I did, it appeared that perhaps it’s more a matter of people not realising rather than not experiencing. We tether to loved ones, loved objects, familiar places. The feeling of sleeping in our own bed – this is a tethering we don’t consciously realise. To arrive home and find the bed gone – that would leave us without something we subconsciously relied on, untethered. Perhaps not as completely, but the feeling of unease would last until there was a replacement that was suitable, chosen by us, felt ‘right’.
Being untethered is one of the most terrifying experiences of my life.