I don’t miss much from the country I grew up in.
Not my parents, not my school friends, not even my cat.
It’s the roads that I used to drive down in my brother’s old car, the leaves that would caress the windshield in autumn, the flower petals looking like snow in spring.
It’s the cinema where most of the socialising was happening, the only one we had in the country.
It’s like I’m only missing the space between the notable events and people.
Growing up in the worlds 20th smallest country explains how I ended up in the 32nd largest city.
It’s strange to look back at how green and naive we used to be as teens, with the full knowledge that I’m going to be thinking the same of myself now in 20 years time.
I had dreams of moving to the UK, exotic and important.
I didn’t care what career I would take on as long as it would have made teenage me proud.
Proud with high hopes, I had no idea what was coming for me.
I couldn’t have known just how happy I would become.
I craved validation and admiration to distract
from the hole that I thought was part of me.
Instead I went and sat in it, filled it fatrolls and all,
and made myself whole.
Unhealed trauma, eating disorders, addictions and mental health illnesses,
lots of labels that might paint a picture.
I had been in therapy ever since I was five.
I’ve had sleep therapy, something called sophrology, CBT, EMDR, art therapy and tried medication.
The more diagnoses I got, the more I felt justified in feeling broken.
But what I thought were life sentences were merely a collection of symptoms for one underlying problem:
I was not living the life I was meant to live.
And not in the romantic, fate kind of way.
I went on to study business when I was deeply creative
because I thought that money and success would make me feel valid.
I pretended to love my family like a good daughter should
because I told myself that understanding their pain means I should ignore mine.
I ignored my IBS, anxiety and insomnia for the sake fo work,
because my health and wellbeing weren’t my priority, other people’s needs were.
I pursued relationships with strong-minded people
because I would not have to think for myself then.
As a child, I wished to fit into other people’s ideas.
As an adult, I disappointed them all.
I don’t miss much from the person I used to be.
Not my goals, my colleagues, not even my birth country.
Instead of living for the moments in between what I was aspiring towards, I am genuinely content with every single day.
The days I sit inside, having run out of chocolate, talking to my hedgehog and doodling.
The days I wake up early to protest, run around all of London, have my flat broken into.
I wake up excited, and go to bed satisfied.
And that’s more than I could have ever dreamt for.