I remember a quote that has stuck with me from many years ago, "Face fear with fear." I might have challenged the phrase a bit in my head now and then, but for some reason it always stuck with me. Or perhaps you've heard,"There's nothing to fear but fear itself." That one is easy - fear can cripple you and incapacitate you. Sometimes we give our fears too much of a voice and they take centre stage. Sometimes we actually get to play the main character and tell fear to f*ck off. I'm trying to make today one of those days.
In usual fashion, I'm voicing things outloud here that I haven't fully given voice to otherwise. I think it's something I need to write down to make more tangible instead of continuously kicking it around in my head. I think today I am ready.
When I was at my 6-month mark here (Jan 4th) I felt a sort of shift; I became a bit more comfortable, a bit more settled. Not completely, of course, but a new sort of settled than I was before. The past month (wow, it actually has been a month as of today; I am now here 7 months) I've done a bit more shifting, a bit more... remembering how I would like things to be (instead of always feeling overwhelm or just trying to figure shit out or plan my future for the next 6 months). This is good because it helps shift my perspective. I think I've become a little self-absorbed (not in a way that affects others, in fact I have kept this persona very quiet and personal) when instead I need to be self-absorbed but in a, "I need to do .. whatever action... for my own benefit and productivity" sort of way. I don't know if that makes sense? Anyways, I'm getting off on a tangent.
I've neglected to inquire at the local seniors centre for volunteering because I know immediately there will be a language barrier. Sometimes I get so (mentally) exhausted having to translate things in my head (rather what they're saying to me or what I need to say to them) that I just want to throw in the towel at the end of the day and not even try and just take a break. I don't want to deal with puzzled looks, hesitations, fumbling. It really is exhausting. Even thinking about it exhausts me and causes anxiety. But, I signed up for it, so I suppose I should suck it up. Anyways, fear of a few things has prohibited me from speaking to anyone at the retirement home and I've just kept putting it off. In fact, I originally had the plan of a girlfriend to come with me for support; she would do intro discussion and I didn't mind carrying on the rest, with some translation help of course. She's incredibly busy, though, and getting together is difficult. I haven't been ready to go it alone. Until this week. I don't want to wait anymore. My desire to volunteer there because it's something I know I enjoy doing is starting to outweigh my fears of putting it off. So I'm going to try to take my fear - the part of me that paralyzes me and incapacitates me - and go speak to someone at the home. The worst that can happen? We don't understand each other and I go back with my friend, or W. The best thing that could happen? It gets the ball rolling right away. I think that's part of what scares me, too; that it's going to force me more interaction into people/society than I've had yet (which involves of course, more puzzled looks, more translations, more hesitations.. more exhaustion) but I have to treat this the way I did with choir; maybe my fears are bigger than reality. Maybe I will be well received, even speaking mostly English, and I'll actually get along okay.
Since I'm getting over (yet another) cold, I went for a walk tonight instead of going to the gym. It was dusk and there was just enough light to go around the neighbourhood for half an hour. I was very cognizant of my walking; it was brisk, I was clenched and had irratic breathing. No. This was meant to be a relaxing walk. I had to actually force myself to slow down my pace and breathing. When more calm, I would still notice feelings of anxiety pop up now and then; I just had to breathe them out.
The theme that's been presented to me the past few days is to "let it go," whatever 'it' happened to be (I can think of a few examples where this applies). Without going into a long story and making this an even longer post, I have been exhibiting possible personal attributes that are causing me to 'protect myself' (I use the term loosely). Protect myself from what I don't know, but I think being in a new land has affected me on a deeper level than I'm able to realize. Getting on the plane and coming here was the easy part. Integrating permanently in a country where you don't speak the language? Much harder. Whatever 'it' is that I'm protecting myself from, I need to let go of those fears. I have to remind myself I'm surrounded by caring friends and family that are hella supportive and will catch me if I fall. Oh... but what if I succeed. I think for me that's even scarier. But that's a whole other post.
So.. onward I go. That's where my thinking stops, so if I come up with more you can be sure to hear from me.
Hope the week is treating you well.