After two years of living abroad, my visa will not be renewed I was told. It’s the risk you take when you live abroad. When you sell all of your earthly goods, when you say good-bye to your friends, when you empty your bank account to set up a new life and battle exchange rates.
I had a moment last night. The kind of moment where you are working through far too much in your head and the only reaction is to get angry and sad and frustrated that their is too much uncertainty in your future. It is feeling selfish for thinking that something like this only affects you, and it is selfish of others when they act like it is only their lives that are turning upside down.
I had this moment and, even nearing 30, called my mum. Crying and reverting back to a scared little kid just wanting to hear her voice, I sunk down on the bathroom floor and started to list out reality come at me piece by piece with her guiding me through it. My worries and sadness vomiting up in a reaction that can only be compared to that of a kid who is lost in the super market—hopeless.
Mid-sob, I could hear her put something on in the background as we kept talking.
“I used to | I used to | I used to….”
I always believe that saying things out loud makes them tangible. It makes them something you can fix or make happen. I was angry at my job for being such fucks. I was mad at my boyfriend for responding first with “What am I going to do about rent” when I told him. I was scared to make new friends again. I was scared to set up life again. I was scared I wouldn’t have money after working so hard for this. I was scared about changing my life. I was scared thinking about being single. I felt like I failed not being able to keep up with life.
“I used to feel alright…”
Mum just kept talking me down and this song seemed to get louder in the background before I finally started laughing.
“Let me get myself together baby.”
It took a moment, and then I started to talk about the excitement of moving on, moving somewhere else. Getting another start. Identifying what was making me sink down to the bottom of a bathroom floor and call my mum. To look at what led me to this place.
This track just made it all feel less than. It was less important. It was never going to stop the world from turning, even if my little world felt like it was crumbling around me.
I used to be funny. I used to laugh all the time. I used to feel sexy and I used to wake up excited in the morning. Now I can’t wait to get back to where I used to be. Where I used to be in America. Where I am going next.
“I used to…”