Desert life is heating up and as many will agree, once the sun is out, happiness is accompanied by positive vibes, along with sunscreen and shades. That being the case, I have returned with a spring in my step and back to seeing the world through my rose tinted sunglasses. I am in an appreciative, reflective mood, enabling me to be fully back into the world of expat, living the dream and raring to go. As I stumbled out of my little wobble over the last few weeks, it seems to be a current theme among the desert girls, making me wonder if we are all like a house of cards, remove one or pressurise another, every card becomes a little unstable? Whilst our expat circles are there for support, can we also freak each other out? I ask myself, is our social network always worth a “like” or should we start to “unfollow” the crowd?
Friendships, in what can be a very random and unique expat experience, are essential. Can you survive without them? Quite frankly, you can’t or won’t for very long. Whilst these relationships are quite often transient and situational there will always be some lifers, those that have impacted your expat life so strongly you can’t imagine not carrying them, along with the well used suitcase, to your next destination. However, I have often come to a point when I think the brutal truth needs to be faced and I need to cut my loses and run.
There have been various scenarios where people have showed their true colours, showing that they are as fake, as the designer handbags they are carrying, and not worth my time and energy. This can be a hard pill to swallow, especially when you are a newbie and looking for anything that will settle you. I believe there is a slight expectation that just because you all have this common thread of being an expat, means that you all HAVE to get on and people force themselves on each other or dutifully meet up for coffee, as they feel they can’t say no. Don’t get me wrong I have been guilty of this exact thing and have learnt that
expat or not, I’m not desperate.
So how lucky am I, when nearly 3 years down the line, I have only had to abandon a few people along the way and I am now firmly ingrained into my little desert family. That is what we are at the end of the day. We have left our real families behind and we need to have some sense of belonging. Its human nature to want to be needed, loved and taken care of and being in this random corner of the Gulf makes that no different, if anything it only magnifies that need. So we adopt each other into our lives, being an ever supportive presence. Just like any family there are dynamics to consider, judging each others moods and reactions, knowing when to speak out and when to stay quiet. Its tough especially when you are learning about each other from scratch, but as the intensity to need each other grows, potentially so can influence we have on each other.
It isn’t uncommon for a few of us to have a blip or a down moment simultaneously. I guess like most women that spend oodles of time together, cycles become insync, hormonal responses coincide and so too our dependency on each other. Often I have picked up on someone else’s mood, knowing they are not themselves, instantly remarking on my observation. We laugh, cry and do our up most to lift that person up, making sure they know they are never alone. I have done this many a time and also been the recipient of this reassurance and believe me it can solve an issue within minutes and I couldn’t imagine not having these girls around.
However, as I sit here spouting on in these random musings about my own vulnerability, rants and experiences, I had never thought about the reader at the other end. Whilst, most people’s reaction to my posts are positive, feeding back that they like my real take on this life, bearing it all and tapping into exactly how they feel, I wonder if I sometimes open Pandora’s box? Don’t get me wrong, I do not have this arrogant view that this blog has some massive impact on readers and that my writing is so profound that it changes people, but I have asked myself in recent days, when so many people are saying
“oh I read your blog and I had a blah day just like that”
“that is exactly where I was emotionally on that day too”
Are we helping each other or just helping the spiral gain momentum?
Just as social networking sites feed our moods, filling our lives with perfect Insta shots of prefect food and perfect people, does our constant social commentary to each other also effect us? I have people in the past I have literally had to walk away from, as the constant negativity brings you down and you want to see this life in your own way without influence. Its draining to themselves but to the people around them. I’m not saying we shouldn’t share, we absolutely should and we need to, to stay sane. But expat wobbles certainly seem contagious and is head stroking the right cause of treatment or is tough love the antidote?
I guess it boils down to some self perspective. As I chatted to one of the desert girls last week, we ended up laughing as we realised that our past 3 conversations had been us bitching and moaning! We laughed because it was ridiculous that we had got to that point, we laughed because neither of us was unhappy but had got caught up in too many FFS moments of late and we laughed because we knew, although it was a moan, we weren’t in crisis mode. We checked ourselves and joked that next time we saw it other we would be singing and skipping, but there is a serious point here. Imagine if every time I saw her, this was all we did!? Wow it would be exhausting. We both love our lives here right now but very quickly we may not, brought on purely by ourselves and each other.
So yes every now and again, I may have a blip and a moan and I mostly likely you’ll be reading about it, as I won’t pretend its all perfect palms and lapping waters (all of the time) and this blog will never be a censored version of my life. I also never want to be someone that isn’t there for people, I take my friendships very seriously and I am fiercely loyal to those that I love, so will never disregard anyone’s feelings, doing my up most to be that support they need. There is also a contigent of ladies, that may read this and think I’ve called them out and about to dump them by post it (only they will get this tenuous SATC link), but you know me and know that this is a general observation and not aimed at anyone specific, so please no freak outs we will still be friends in the morning.
However, I am going to be more aware, that when I am with my desert family and networking around the desert girls, that we pick each other up, rather than emotionally drag each other down. Influence is a powerful thing and it should only be used for good, in the absence of wine!