It’s time to say something about not being able to say anything about how I feel when I think of leaving the UK.
About how I feel when I imagine myself alone and isolated in a foreign country trying to care for my family. About how I feel when it occurs to me that I might be risking the emotional security of my two confident, happy tiny children to follow a whim. About how I feel as I walk away from the career that used to define me to follow an invisible path. About how I feel when I realise I’m supporting my husband’s chosen career path ahead of my own perceived career ladder.
When I’m faced with tiny everyday details that point towards these insecurities I firm up. I put on my armour. Like when I’m on a day out with my mum and sisters and I realise it’ll probably be years before I’m able to hang out with them with on the same carefree timetable again. Or when something small goes wrong with the car and I have no idea how to fix it in London, let alone in another country. After just one week of absence, I see my children cling to my husband for weeks after he returns because they’re worried he might go again. As I enter meetings that I should be leading knowing that no-one values my contribution anymore because I won’t be there to see the decision through. When my husband tries to share his frustrations towards his boss with me and needs my help to deal with his stressful week, because I’m the only one he can turn to but I just can’t find the generous heart I need to listen with. My resolve solidifies.
I will show dents in my armour, but I will not let you in. I will not let these worries make me change my mind. I will not show people that I am anxious. I will deal with you as though you were a part of my list to get done. But I will not talk about these worries. I can’t seem to do anything about them, and so I will not talk about them. Although they’re there, these worries, right in front of my face. Every day. In every detail of every day life. I can’t keep up a resistance to them any more. If I want to feel connected with the people around me I need to let the people in and the worries out.
I’m just about handling my actual experience of this anxiety by meditating daily (inside my armour). I’m enjoying my new found awareness of how frequently and how deeply I feel anxious. Although I think I’m slowly getting better at recognising it, I’m only scratching the surface of what’s going on. I still have so much anxiety and tension bound up inside me. I can’t seem to let go of it. And it’s stopping me from talking properly to the people I care most about. So it needs to change. Perhaps writing will help?
I can’t talk because these worries are likely to fall out of my mouth ahead of my genuine wisdom. And if I let the worries out of my mouth they might just get a chance to take over. I’m thinking about this massive thing and the implication it will have on my life all the time. It’s the only thing going through my head right now. Every other normal detail of my life seems irrelevant to me. Even very pleasant things are muted to me through my armour (including my sister’s wedding and my best friend’s new born twins).
If it’s not in Seattle, associated to Seattle or helpful to get us to Seattle then I’m not interested. I can barely feign interest. I don’t have room. My brain has forgotten how to respond to these life events. I can’t empathise with what these normal things mean to other people. Which is shit.
In 3 months time I will yearn for those people. I will want them near me more than anything else. To have a decent conversation with these people about anything, especially the normal things going on in their lives. It will be my heart’s deepest desire. I will miss them so much I can hardly breathe. And so I need to break this silence and drink them up as much as I can. I need to crack this shell that I’ve used for years to keep my anxieties in.
I need to work out how to be brave and show vulnerability at the same time. I am brave. I am vulnerable. And it’s time to say something about it.