Many of you know how open I am about sharing whatever it is, whenever it is, in the hopes that we all benefit from the brutal honesty. Whether you want to talk about infertility, or insecurities, or anxiety, I am going to be right there with you telling it like it is. I believe in transparency.
So it may be no surprise that I haven’t refrained from sharing how difficult this transition has been for me. From the shock of first arriving, to the transition of living in a small town, to learning how to just be here in a small town, in a remote part of New Zealand, on an island, on the other side of the world.
But one of the hardest things I’ve experienced is what I like to refer to as “the look”, also known as the “I know” look – it’s a brief moment of transparency, where someone else acknowledges that she knows what you’re going through, but neither of you really wants to go there, because it’s too hard to talk about.
I even caught glimpses of it before I moved or right upon arriving:
- My friend Hedy who’d moved from DC to Spain to Finland told me it would take me a solid 6 months to feel settled. She tried to give me the look.
- A new German woman I met upon arriving here basically told me she’d check in with me in 6 months, once I’d gone through the adjustment. She briefly gave me the ‘I know’ look.
- My friend Kakki who is literally a clinical psychologist told me to expect things to be hard on my marriage at first, but then for things to be better than ever. She didn’t bother with a look. She just told me.
I ignored them all.
Every single one of them.
That’s how cocky I am. Or was, I should say.
The “look” is hard because it’s somehow associated or tied to a moment of shame. As in:
- I know how you feel, and I’ve been there before, but it’s too hard to talk about, so just let me know when you’re better.
- I don’t really want to acknowledge this; I’ve been there too, but …
- It was too painful; so let’s just pretend it never happened.
And as a society, well, let me clarify, as a person, I haven’t been taught to talk head-on about these things. Even talking about them with Jesse has been hard. Even though, as Kakki pointed out, learning to do so was hard but has made things better between us.
I can’t help but ask myself, “Why?”
- Why do we feel that we need to go through the hard stuff alone?
- Why do we need to pretend like everything is perfect?
- Why is it that just because I am fortunate enough to have an experience like this, I am supposed to do it easily, smoothly, and with a big fat fake smile on my face?
I haven’t even gotten to my 6-month mark yet, and as a naturally positive person I get up every single day and tell myself that today will be an amazing day. But still, it is hard.
It remains hard to rebuild relationships and friendships and connections and more than anything, to adjust to feeling so far and so isolated from those with whom I had had those relationships before moving.
I miss all of you: my friends, my family, and my community and neighbors.
Thank you to those of you who check in regularly, who send me the most unexpected but beautiful long emails about what is going on at home.
And thank you especially to those of you who have purchased that insane flight to come and see me (wink / wink Kakki and Liz!)
The days here are beautiful, the summer is glorious, and it gets better by the minute; but the homesickness remains.
I have a plan. Of course I do.
It may blow up, but dammit, it is my plan and I’m going to execute it.
And I have Jesse.
Kakki was right. It was hard to learn to not need anyone and to learn to really lean on him, but it has made us stronger together.
xo – fred