I always believed that this choice of mine was a brave choice. I saw myself as the rising tourist who always watched the entire world now given a chance that I earned to go out there and make the entire story of my very own.
For the first time, everyone saw the bravery in my decision to live out here. To choose to be the outcast of my culture and the inspirational person I always wanted people to see. I was like, “Finally! I am living the dream I always wished for.” Instead of making the many steps and ‘one day knowing it will come true, I was there.
I was on track.
But the prices I have paid…
To this day, I can say that I am a different person. This choice made me strong. It made me talk to different people. I have become headstrong, confident, and goal-oriented. What people said didn’t matter and what people thought of me did not phase me.
I have grown under this experience. However, I lost so much more and sometimes I wonder if I deserved such a price or if it was worth for all this loss?
To get an idea, I have lost friends. I have lost people who I have been with most of my life. Some even didn’t say a final goodbye. And others…their goodbyes were too painful and I wish they left like a ghost with a whisper and a soft gust grazing my face.
People don’t wonder about sacrifice. How much of your life have you had to let go? Friends that tell you that you aren’t part of their life any more because they are in the next phase of their lives and I am still growing. Or I am still this or they are not. Or that because they do not understand me anymore or that I am different.
Life skills you gain versus the relationships you’ve fostered. That is the main issue I am going through.
My family has constantly shown me that support is always there when I call but they also fade into their own lives and effort is too difficult when daily life gets in the way. It is so easy to get me all the way over here in Africa. To forget what I do and what am doing. And then to grow without me…. is normal.
Even married couples grow apart. Friends grow apart. Life in America versus a life in Africa = two different perspectives. Inside jokes, growth, personality…so much is different. I should’ve expected this. Then why does it still hurt? Why does it feel I lost so much of my roots and the relationships that keep me grounded?
I have to do things on my own now. I have less support and people to run to and I am not saying this is difficult. Being here has helped me gain that confidence and strength but without relationships, I am alone. Strong and confident but alone.
Maybe I’ll make lasting friends one day. Or more friends again. Or be happy. But it all seems like a possibility. People here are wonderful and I have served and worked my best but I felt uprooted. I feel lost, looking for nutrients and something to hold on. I don’t feel good.
I feel this as a question of sacrifice for ourselves. Do you feel ready to change your life? Do you feel ready to give up what you love the most to change who you are to the point where it feels as if the sacrifice hurt more than it gave? Are you okay with feeling unhappy about your choice for as long as it can hurt you and make you feel as if that doubt will never fade?
We will grow through this. At least once, we will feel lonely and tired and frustrated. We will feel scared. We will talk to ourselves. We will feel as we will never laugh as we did every again, ecstatic and breathless and in moments where it feels as if the happiness and thrill will never end. We will feel as if happiness will never seep into our pores and linger everyday, ever again where we feel an air of reassured bliss.
Will we ever get those relationships again?
New experiences may scare you. New challenges that force you to let you go will frighten you. It frightened me. However, the choice I made changed me. It changed me into the woman I always wanted to be. An independent, grown woman with charm, a beautiful smile, and a beautiful heart to go with it. I made great first impressions but sometimes if I didn’t, who I am shows through and wins people eventually. And I don’t worry as much or not frightened as much because I am strong and sure that it will get better with my own help.
Not only does my life have brightened but my personality and mind have brightened. I know what I seek in my life.
I can see in myself and find strength and brilliance more than I have ever in my life. I know who I am and what role I play in this world.
This experience has given me a chance to find so much. And even if I have it not completed, it is farther than I have ever reached in the past.
This is the face of bliss. The joy that she gets from me coming home and the feeling of seeing her would never be in my memories if I didn’t jump. I lost so much. Friends, loves, life, and growth with people I love. I lost so much I cannot even believe I went through. Tears and pain and aching hearts. Wishes I wanted so badly that finally came true were pushed aside because I’d just rather be happy. For one day, for one day, feel that bliss again. That feeling of happiness soaking in your pores, seeping into your spirit. I lost so much.
I lost some peace and gained fear. I gained uncertainty and anxiety. I lost a team to run to when that anxiety and uncertainty mixed with fear. I have a mirror that I remind myself of all I have went through and how much I’ve grown.
I am not afraid. I am stronger than I am afraid.
Look at these faces. I don’t think I can convince myself until I leave this experience that I have gained more than I have lost because right now it seems like I am alone. But looking down at these shows how much you gain when you let go of what you have lost. Let go and let more of the new but beautiful rain down. Make space for the tomorrow filled with uncertainty, both good and bad.