Last week, I celebrated six months of living 1,690 miles from what I’ve known most of my life.
I use the term celebrated loosely. What really happened was that I started crying over something completely minuscule right after my son got on the bus, and minor setbacks throughout the day had me crying all.day.long.. Around 1 p.m. was when I realized it was actually the six month mark, so I can’t say it had anything to do with it. Upsets carried on into the next day, as well as my crying.
I knew this was going to be hard.
I knew that growing pains occur with all change–that’s just how it is. But, still, I don’t think I was ready for this.
During my grieving process before we left, I kept reminding myself of how my divorce to my son’s father, the biggest life change I’ve felt prior to this, led to such a huge payoff. Our lives are better than I ever could have imagined as a result. I reminded myself that big risk reaps bigger rewards, and that this change, though hard, would be in line with the life of adventure I crave, and would aid in pursuit of my husband’s goals. I reminded myself that there are good people all over the world who are worth being friends with, and there are books, art, exercise and nature when those people aren’t around.
I knew some things, but what I didn’t know far outweighed.
I didn’t know the first weeks, even months, would be filled with overwhelming anxiety. I had traveled so much before, I didn’t think for one moment that something as small as running an errand would make me so self conscious.
I didn’t know that I would feel like an alien. I’m used to being different. It took one week of middle school realize I wouldn’t fit in with the wealthier girls from stable homes. Being different, though it hasn’t gotten easier, is something that I’ve been accustomed to. But, not like this. I felt like everywhere I went, people knew I was different. Can’t find the rice? Betty in aisle 6 can tell you’re clueless. You look like an idiot.
I didn’t know I would scrutinize everything I’d say in my few social interactions, or that suddenly I would feel so unfit to be a mom and do what “normal” moms were doing all along when I was growing up.
I didn’t know I would end up alienating myself. Since spring has sprung, I’ve noticed how there are significantly more events going on, and opportunities to meet new people. But, I feel like I’m spiraling in the opposite direction. I’m so afraid of my inability to fit in that I stay at home.
I didn’t know the things I like to do, like home projects and blogging, would be affected by this stream of lowered self esteem, and that I’d find less interest in doing these things when I feel too lonely to share them with anyone.
I didn’t know I would feel so disconnected by time and distance that I would feel like a burden to my friends and family back in Texas, so much so that when it came to my attention that the aforementioned things I didn’t know are actually blatant examples of depression, I wouldn’t reach out to them.
I didn’t know this move would be far more difficult than that divorce than I could imagined, for making friends when you’re over the age of 25 is difficult enough when you do work outside of the home or don’t have kids or are familiar with the area.
But, you know what?
I am resilient. If anyone is cut out to figure out a tough situation, or staying true to oneself in a place where people are awfully concerned about what “The Joneses” are doing, or unapologetically sticking to values in the face of adversity, I believe I qualify for the job.
And, again, I need to remember what rolled over and over in my head as I stared at the ceiling of that room I was renting during that divorce: this isn’t supposed to be easy. This isn’t supposed to be easy. This isn’t supposed to be easy.
After all, nothing that’s worth it ever is.