EXPAT: BEING AUTHENTIC

authenticity

A close friend with whom I was discussing the internal mental struggles of moving and ‘starting’ again said to me “I like your Blog but why don’t you consider being more authentic about what it’s really like, talk about the anxiety and the non-stop voices chattering in your head as you have to me”

It’s taken me some time to take this comment on board. First, I had to stop confusing authenticity with vulnerability.

Interestingly everyone I have spoken to who has moved countries, taken a ‘risk’ with their lifestyle, with their career etc. without exception faces similar self-talk, anxiety and self-doubt.

Moving, as with any new experience requires an element of ‘setting yourself up mentally’. In my case I told myself such things like; this time it will be different, I will ‘do’ things differently, I won’t fall into the same old patterns, my decisions will be different, I’ll get different/better outcomes and so on.

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It’s somewhat rambling however, it seemed the perfect way of giving you a glimpse into the maze of ‘quicksilver like’ thoughts that are mine…

NOVEMBER…

Moving, new beginnings, I’m actually here, excitement, trepidation. Apartment hunting; a sense of hitting the ground running, decisions expected/required almost immediately, difficult to think clearly. Money feels like its slipping through my fingers, I’m anxious. Grappling with contracts and the language, disconnected. Exhausted, fearful, disillusioned I’m sleeping longer hours than usual.

DECEMBER…

Finding and purchasing Furniture, more money feels like it’s slipping through my fingers, which continues to make me anxious. Setting up house, constructing kitset furniture, taking delivery of furniture in transit, creating a ‘feeling’ of home, it diverts my thoughts during the day. Waking, usually its 3am, with a rush of adrenaline that leaves me anxious and wide awake for hours. Our first house guest, my cousin Sarah, a wonderful distraction, she doesn’t know it, but her suggestions of facials, watching movies and tapa expeditions restores me and reinvigorates my love of Barcelona.

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JANUARY…

Brrr I’m so cold, I can’t get warm. I hate this apartment with its drafts, thin walls, high ceilings, single glazed windows and lack of central heating. Thank you Nina for the portable gas heater which I huddle over, I’m living in my winter jacket both inside and outside. My brain reflects the weather, I’m grey on the inside, can’t get out of my own way, seemingly incapable of making decisions. People ask what I do with my days; actually I’m really not sure. Eventually; structure, ‘To-Do’ lists and daily exercise help.

FEBRUARY…

With the middle of the month came sun and blue sky. I love this airy apartment with sunlight streaming in. What a difference your surroundings can make. I find myself in a better frame of mind which helps me gain clarity and make decisions. The anxiety is still there and has appeared as nightmares, rarely do I dream so this is new for me. I’ve finally found and joined a Spanish language class. I’m looking at options for work. I’m choosing to meet and engage with friends and new acquaintances. Yes small steps are being taken.

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The bottom line is I’ve changed countries but, I’m still Stephen. I don’t have a ‘reset’ button after all. The voices, self-doubts and anxieties remain the same. Most if not all my anxieties can be attributed to money and the gaining there of, time will tell what ‘hat trick’ I pull off this time.

I tell people I’m like a cat, I have 9 lives. I wonder what number life this is and what it will eventually look like.

Ref: Images taken from Google

 


2 thoughts on “EXPAT: BEING AUTHENTIC

  1. Wow!!! What can i say!??? I’ve just had a major change in my life, too. And I don’t really relate to everything you’ve been feeling. But then…you have had to cope with a hell of a lot more changes than I had to! And I can understand the anxiety, the doubt, the being misunderstood, lack of cooperation and the feeling you have just jumped into a beautiful freezing cold mountain lake on a hot summer’s day. Your expectations were different to reality and you’re learning how to protect yourself against the cold, adjust to the new surroundings and learn to swim in this beautiful place you adore. A huge process.
    One step at a time…and after ten steps you look back to the first step and think: Wow, I’ve come a long way! And you feel proud and you won’t have to make these steps again! Maybe you can help others to find their feet one day?!
    I’m pleased you had Sarah to distract you and see things with different (tourist) eyes. And how a sunny day made everything look so much more pleasant.
    It’s a tough journey, Stephen, but you wanted the challenge and you will feel so proud of what you have achieved. A dream has come to reality! Yes, it will be tough noticing your hard earned money slip through your fingers…it’s like a security that you’re losing. But with your charisma and preparedness you’ll find a way to earn more! You have good spirits guiding you! If you don’t, however, I’ll send you some of mine! LOL!
    I look forward to coming to see you in July!! And you can show me all your achievements!
    Good luck with your next step! Lots of love, José

    Liked by 1 person

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