So my computer died back in June. It came into my world with a bang, and out with a whimper. It was the first computer I saved up for, splurged on, and never regretted buying although it rang in at a whopping $1800. But I was beginning my second year of graduate school, and my second year without my Mom. It was time to start taking care of myself and giving myself what I wanted (because I realized then that no one else would)<— some friends called that irresponsible. But hey, I couldn’t afford therapy after my mom’s passing (weirdly, just a few sessions cost a lot more than I imagined without insurance), but I could afford new shoes and some nice nights out for sushi and movies here and then. Anyway, that was almost 7 years ago. Fast forward to now, and the circumstances have changed quite a bit.
I’m married to a German, living in Germany, speaking German albeit more poorly than I’d like, with a dual citizen baby running around causing mayhem. If you would have told me then what my life would be like down the line, I would have scoffed. I had big, fat plans. But plans change, and so did I. I’m a jobless weirdo with curly hair in desperate need of a haircut that I’m too afraid to get, with no real disposable income to call mine and mine alone, and I’m not as fat as I used to be, but not as thin as I used to be either. I may not have the wrinkles, I definitely cannot pretend to know it all anymore (wait, did I ever?) and the world has left a mark on me that will not, can not, be erased but I’m learning to cope.
You ever notice that when you resolve to be the best you possible, people tend to remember the old, developing you and try to make project that back at you again? I remember one friend telling me she could read me like a book she read twice. Now, she wouldn’t even know the book. I reached out to a cousin to explain a problem we had in communication, and she told me that I’m a self-victimizing and drama-ridden dullard and she would not be contributing to my hysteria any further. I spent weeks obsessing over that. Am I self-victimizing? Gooooood question. I felt like I was from time to time. I fell into a pit of depression over the past few years and couldn’t remember that the sun could shine through the clouds. Every misstep felt like a failure, and every failure felt like I was incapable of ever reaching success.
Germany has taken a lot from me, and given it back to me in a very different way. My confidence was never up to what it should have been, but here? It’s almost non-existent. I started to run that 5k and left it midway because people were calling me names and made me feel worse about myself. I’ve been spit on, pushed aside both physically and intellectually here, and have not been strong enough to push back. I’ve questioned myself constantly, and wished to be less sensitive…. ultimately less me. See? THAT’S my problem. I could never articulate it properly. I don’t feel like I can be myself here and because of this, I have lost my “me”ness, my Allie-osity, my inner joy with the world. I don’t know anyone down here that looks like me, and because of the depression, any possible friends I may have made up north in Berlin that do have dropped me like a hot potato, somewhat deservedly too. And I don’t know many people here that are interested in a deep, meaningful friendship complete with absolute silliness and spending time together doing nothing special. Perhaps it’s the age now, or perhaps it’s because people already have their best friends and aren’t looking to add to their circle. I don’t know but I understand.
I lost a few friends back home, and although I miss their presence in my life, I don’t miss the intimidation I felt around them to not say something stupid, or the constant judgment and outright bullying. That was just another way that I wasn’t being myself to fit in. And I can’t do it anymore. It’s not healthy and it makes me uncomfortable.
But I do want best friends, I do want to fit in and belong. I want to sing and dance, and laugh like I used to. And I can feel it inside me, wanting to come out. It’s not Germany’s fault that I lost who I am, it’s my own for not being strong enough to keep myself from drifting away despite different surroundings, people, culture and language. Am I self-victimizing? I’m stubborn, overcoming depression, maybe a wee bit dramatic sometimes but only for laughs, sensitive, and exceptionally honest. But no, to be self-victimizing you would have to blame everyone else, the world, anyone but you for your own failures. You have to believe that the odds are always against you, and that you cannot control your own life. That’s not me. Weeks ago, months ago, I may have said yes because I wasn’t sure of who “me” was, and I would take just about any insult thrown at me and internalize it. But I have to be stronger, I have to be me again. I know it’s the path to my happiness. I’m not hysterical, not blaming the world from my problems, and I’m certainly not a dullard. No, I’m learning again, breathing deeply and pursuing the future with a new interest in what role and purpose I might choose to play in it.
Anyway, super personal post aside, thanks for sticking by me everyone while I worked this out. New posts should be exciting, and heeeeeeey new computer!