torstai 27. heinäkuuta 2017

The Blues & Life Updates

It's time again for some real talk about the challenges of expat life. 

For the past few weeks I have been constantly carrying this heaviness in my chest, no matter how hard I have tried to pretend it's not there. I try to be fine during the day, but all night I clench my teeth together and dream of horrible things. This period of anxiety and generally feeling just down, started when I realised that I am losing many of my old friends back in Finland. As an expat you get to experience first hand the fact that most friendships exist only as long as it's convenient. As long as both are in the same school, job, city, hobby... They vow eternal friendship on social media, but ignore my private messages. Yes, it hurts even if I try to be the bigger person about it. "Oh well, their loss"-attitude doesn't take away the feelings of abandonment and betrayal.

And then suddenly, my sorrow is not only about loneliness, but everything at once: the past, the present, the future. I try my best to stop the snowball effect, but maybe in this case the healing will be in the aching. Giving myself the permission to grieve what is lost and maybe then...move on. 

In september I will start my French studies at the university. I trust that having something structured and concretic to do from day to day will already improve my mood enormously. Currently I just feel so foggy and indecisive about everything that school will give me a much needed kick to the right direction. I will also finally be in an ideal place for meeting people. People with similar life stories and interests. If everything goes according to plan *knocks wood*, the coming autumn will make things fall into place.

Meanwhile I have started to follow one of my oldest passions: painting. Once a week I go to a local atelier to make some art. The workshop is open for anyone who wishes to discover their creativity. There are people from all walks of life. The atelier even holds exhibitions for which you receive help to price your works. Everytime I go there is an exercise of diminishing the little voice in my head that says "You are not up to this." It's time to follow my intuition and find my confidence again.

So, feeling blue for now, but staying hopeful :)

4 kommenttia:

  1. I totally know the feeling. :(

    Some people just can't handle when you leave. They might not have been that good of a friend in the first place, they're too lazy to keep in touch, or maybe they're even jealous that you're on a big adventure. I hope your new class helps, and that you meet some great people there!

  2. Hi Marina! Thank you so much for the support! :)

    I think you are completely right about the feelings and behaviour of those "left back" by the expat. It's easy to imagine that the person who left is now having such an extraordinary, happy life that he/she has no longer time for their old friends. There must also be some feelings of jealousy there. Then there is the others who, like you said, are just too lazy to keep in touch.

    It's definitely hard and these things need processing, but already sharing my thoughts here has helped a lot! I hope it will also help others to feel less alone with their similar experiences :)

  3. Hi, Madame M! Yeah, the struggle is real and you lose people on the way. However, for me it helps to reframe the whole process and see it as a fine grained friendship sieve: both parts have to really want to keep the relationship going, so it filters out the friends-of-convenience. Taking into account that for much of our lives we get bundled together with other people based on arbitrary criteria such as birth date or neighborhood, this is the hard work of establishing families of choice. And, obviously, feel free to mourn the relationships lost. My condolences!

    1. Hello, Iza! Yup, keeping a friendship alive definitely depends on both parties. This is why I don't insist on it when people have ignored my attempts of keeping in touch. I'm someone who gets strongly attached to people and would like to keep all her friends forever, but I am now learning to look at things from a bigger perspective. Anyway, if the friendship doesn't sustain itself effortlessly (both are motivated to stay in touch), maybe it's really better to let go.

      Thank you for sharing your thoughts! :)