Sometimes the slightest thing can throw you off or sometimes nothing at all seems to be the culprit. I don’t know if it was the being struck down with the latest desert cold or whether it was something else, but I have definitely feeling detached of late. I am by no means unhappy, in fact I continue to be content with my sandpit life, but there was definitely something that had made me uneasy. Why does a small change in our mood or emotional state become such an issue when living abroad?
I wasn’t necessarily low or emotional, I guess I just felt off balance, like walking around in a bit of a daze, not really feeling like yourself and more frustratingly I couldnt even identify or pin point the exact moment this mood over took me. At first, in my typical Virgo way I over anyalsed everything! Maybe I was feeling this way because I wasn’t happy anymore, or my desert time had come to an end? Nope that definitely wasn’t it, in fact the thought of leaving really isn’t in my mindset at the moment, I feel settled , hitting my stride reassuringly.
So why if everything was ok, did I have this feeling of being disconnected?
The day continued and not well……Having exchanged a few messages with people back home, I got this fog of annoyance come over me. I was irritated. I was thinking about how their days would be going, all the daily routines they would be facing, reading their comments on Facebook and I just came over irritated. There was no other word for it. There was absolutely no rhyme or reason for this response, nothing these people had done or said had been directed at me, so why was my reaction to all this, one of frustration and annoyance!?
I found myself being on the outside of their lives and looking in and thinking why would anyone have judgement on my expat life, when the way they live is so far away from anything I would want right now. The craziness in all this was, that no one had actually placed this judgement on me during this morning of emotional irrationality, but I was having some internal argument with them and myself. I tell you anyone that studies psychology is probably thinking I am a case for review, but I was in a bad mood, I was pissed off. So maybe at that moment, all those people that seemed to no longer give a shit, since I moved away, had come into my mind. Maybe I was processing some latent feelings, being sick of their judgement, the lack of them even trying, showing not even a remote interest in my life, had finally caught up with me.
The problem was whilst I was trying to work through all this, it was just making me more and more bewildered. I started to question everything (in my usual rational, non obsessive way of course) were these people right?
Should I be living the “normal” life of a house, 2.4 kids, school runs, PTA meetings and weekend trips to Waitrose?
The answer was NO, whilst there may have been a time I wanted all of that, I have learnt that that picture perfect conformity, is not the one route to happiness. My life maybe a million miles from all that and I’m sure (in fact I am 100% positive) there are people in my life that think my life is filled with trivial, frivolous routines and I contribute to nothing meaningful. The fact that in that moment, on that random morning, this seemed to dawn on me more prevalently and just made me mad.
I am not here to justify to anyone, my choices, just like I don’t question yours, what I don’t appreciate is that people seem to switch off to me, just because I don’t fit their image of “normal”. So what? I live abroad, I am still the same person you liked and had a friendship with. So what? I chose not to live a carbon copy of what you decided life should be. I am still me. Being an expat does not make me an ex friend.
Suddenly I felt even further away from home, far from maintaining connections with people and whilst there wasn’t a pang of guilt or a desire to pack up and go, it bothered me and yet it actually just made me committed to this life. The issue I then had, was that I felt disconnected from the past relationships, which had then unsettled me in my present. I started to think that even here, over the years, people had got under my skin, got me riled up over my choices, belittled my role in life, just because they see their move to Kuwait as a step down from their previous expat existence. My inability to meet you at the school gates, the fact that I have time to enjoy working out at the gym but you don’t, is not my problem.
That assumption, that even here, we should be living exact replica lives is total bull shit!
At this point I was glad to be distracted by the sinus infection! At least it meant I could hide away, be alone and not have to deal with the all these little things that gotten under my skin and which I had completely blown out of proportion. I just hate the fact that for those few days I was dragged into a space of uncertainty and felt like all my desicions were being undermined.
Maybe all these feelings have built up over my 7 years as an expat, maybe this was just a moment of epiphany and having to call people out on their crap, or maybe it was just a Wednesday, when germs had brought me down and I was a little delirious from too much Lemsip.