“When I dare to be powerful, to use my strength in the service of my vision, then it becomes less and less important whether I am afraid.”
― Audre Lorde
I wasn’t going to write about moving to Sydney, I’m not the first and I definitely wont be the last young woman to go to university. I don’t want to write about public transport, or sharing my home with one hundred and thirty strangers; or ending up in the northern beaches on my way to the inner west (I was hungover give me a break) definitely not discussing ordering and eating a big brekkie and my card declining in front of a cafe in Randwick (crying real tears right now).
This is an attempt to share my internal monologue with you, of the small moments of loneliness, of self doubt and anxiety, of my grief and how it changed once I only had myself to take care of. To explain all the adrenaline of receiving love and support on making the move- but not wanting to leave bed or eat for days on end.
I’ve been here for three months now, caught between the excitement of what is new, and the residue of my home and all that it gave to me, I am slowly growing into myself. I am happy here, not because it’s the right thing to do but because it’s the right fit for me. I am more than excited to be learning again. To see myself in the communities around me and feel like I am seen here, for my authentic self and her interests; I appreciate that.
There were times however, when I felt cut off from the love that I received so consistently that I questioned my self worth. This previous term was the first thing I have done academically in over three years, I often felt inadequate next my peers in lectures and in class.
I felt pressure to make this move work, inadvertently in my family’s missing me, in the friends, work and partner I left behind. I know I put this pressure on myself, but on the days I missed home most I felt embarrassed to be vulnerable. I didn’t want anyone to know that after all of this fuss and excitement, I was sad.
This post should be titled I hate, I mean absolutely despise long distance (was advised against that one). Ben and I were in such a specific place when I left town. We spent a hell of a lot of time together and moving was a major shock to the system.
Falling in love was like pouring honey, a thick black treacle; the golden syrup you tilt slowly and then all at once. for reasons no one can quite pinpoint, and I was young. I was eighteen when I met Ben, and even though I barely knew what it meant to date a man- I have not been as sure of myself as that time of my life.
We are nearing on three years together and I hope I know him as well as he knows me. I think learning an individual’s love language is the deepest privilege. I refer to us often in my posts but I think the labour of a relationship, the magic of a shared experience is between the two people involved.
I can however admit this, in addressing all of my relationships platonic or otherwise. I hated having to know the people I love in hindsight. Catching up on our day, recounting our weekend, FaceTiming our dinner it made me want to come home once every couple of days.
Thinking about it now, in a healthier mind set. I am so lucky that the people I love want me to come home, that my partner travels to see me, that my friends keep me in the loop. People put less effort into the loved ones they share a home with- who am I to demand certain kinds of love right?
I did two things that really worked, at a time I needed it most. the first was attending an induction at my local headspace and allowing myself to open up to the idea of getting help, the second was something my younger self taught me. I wrote a list of all the things I wanted and then I wrote what that would look like.
It started off with things like “I will eat more” and that looked like me going to my common kitchen. Then I wrote things like “attend every lecture” and I did this genius thing where I got the hell out of bed. Some days it was harder, like exploring the city or finding the right job.
I started to write “I’m going to get a distinction” instead of “I need to finish this essay” I found comfort in my new friends, some old friends and the genuine electricity of the city. With the work I did alone, and the help I got (am still receiving) I acknowledged that my grief had taken a new shape.
Much like the rest of my family I would prefer to address my feelings in private. I committed myself to tasks and called that grieving. Initially there was a funeral to plan, family to console, friends to help. Then I had a job to focus on, an exciting relationship, fun to have. I had nieces and siblings and beautiful over the top friends. Until I didn’t, until they were hours away and we missed each other’s calls and I was really bloody sad.
If you want your come back to be fiercely strong, you need to be fiercely true with yourself. I know this now, and I know manifesting a vision is not the same as sitting and dreaming. You have to tell yourself you’re amazing and capable and worthy but what’s the point of all of that power if you’re hiding in your college room.
I am so incredibly uncontrollably happy, I am stimulated and challenged; I feel welcome and I’m sad, I am antisocial and anxious- but I’m working on it.