A lot of people back home think that I live some lucky and adventurous life living abroad…that it’s like a permanent holiday. Truth is, it’s probably one of the hardest things I’ve ever done and is ALWAYS challenging. It is not easy in the slightest. Truth is, despite how I carry myself in the public eye, I have SEVERE anxiety. Despite how goofy I can be, slightly immature, sassy, confident, I still second guess nearly everything I do. I doubt myself, and can be really insecure. I can be so hard on myself that it’s disgusting and unfair. I have extreme trust issues. Im constantly having to calm myself down and try and gain control of my mind. What could be so hard? Definitely being away from my family. Not having that constant in-my-face love, support, and connection from my people. The people who really get me and ARE me. There is nothing in this world that means more to me than they do. Especially in times of need. I feel so helpless and alone sometimes that I’m overcome with emotions I can’t control. Calculating time differences.. Relying on Facebook messenger calls, Instagram comments, Snapchat stories.. it’s all seemingly so convenient yet so impersonal and vague. Connected but So disconnected. I wish more than anything I could be there for my mom, hug her, make her a coffee, watch Disney movies, make her laugh, see her smile. I wish I wasn’t so far away. I am grateful and love living here, but it doesn’t make it any easier, and it doesn’t stop the fear. I don’t ever want to pretend to be someone I’m not. Truth is, I’m trying to keep it together, and I’m sure plenty of people out there are as well. So please give others a break. Be an ear for a friend or listen to the story of a stranger. You never know what they’re personally going through. Also- be open and honest with yourself and take the time to understand your emotions. It is completely okay to have these feelings. What’s not okay is ignoring them. Write it down, talk to someone, be understood, and be yourself.
I feel like this story is a vital tidbit and also a fun glimpse as to how my life tends to unfold. My friends and fam always joke that my life is basically like one of those Bravo TV shows..kind of like The Real Housewives, except i’m not a millionaire, nor a housewife. I also don’t have lip injections, butt implants, or any of that fun stuff..so maybe that’s actually not me at all. However, I could drink Ramona under the table any day, any time.
ANYWHO. The point is- I get myself into situations that are stupid and hilarious, quite frequently. One incident that seems to stand out happened on my flight out of Honolulu, HI to Auckland, New Zealand. This was a few years ago, nearly four, but god damnit do I remember it. It was my first time heading overseas, and not only that, but going to live. So, you could say I was nervous but also tremendously excited. I was basically Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen in Passport to Paris- except I wasn’t going to Europe and I wasn’t a twin. Anyway-
I got seated next to some middle-aged man who had a thick black beard and tortoise-shell glasses. I was immediately intimidated. Who cares though, right? Nobody ever talks to the person their seated next to on a plane. Especially when you’re on a flight that lasts 10 hours… WRONGO.
We started chatting, (fuck) and he proceeds to tell me that he’s a photographer heading to Australia to do some sort of super cool Aussie photo stuff, probably throwing shrimp on a barbie and hand-feeding kangaroos. I honestly barely remember what he was saying, because I was already trying to cook up some eccentric shrimp story in my head for who I was and what my mission was. Before I could even think, I started talking in an English accent. Side note: I love doing accents, and i’d say 70% of the time i’m talking in normal day to day chit-chat, it’s probably in some weird voice I made up.
For some reason, I told this man that I was from Surrey, and I had done a house-swap with a random girl online, and her house so happened to be in New Zealand. A couple things to note here:
- Why would I be flying from America if I was from England? Maybe I was on holiday in Hawaii? Who knows.
- Why did I just provide a synopsis of the movie “The Holiday” starring Cameron Diaz and Kate Winslet but pass it off as if it were my own real life? I do not know.
I figured, ah what the hell, this conversation is maybe going to last all but ten minutes, why not make myself seem super interesting and posh. Oh no. NO no no no. This lasted the DURATION of the flight. Before I know it, I’ve made up a name, where I went to school, an imaginary boyfriend named Elijah whom I left back in England (he’s cheating anyway,) and a fake profession of: Freelance Journalist…at your service. ALL in this English accent. FUCK. I kept it up for far too long, too deep, to the point where there was no return. Bless this man’s soul, he ate up every bit of it. Or maybe not, maybe he knew my game all along and just pitied me. Poor girl, making up accents and fake lives.
By the time the plane landed, which honestly felt like an eternity, I had really gotten to know this man sitting in Row J seat B. Too bad he didn’t know an ounce about me. Before we parted ways, he asked to exchange emails, in a non-creepy way. I agreed, and without thinking, offered my mom’s email. Sorry Ma.
When arriving to customs, I was jet-lagged, exhausted, confused, what the hell just happened on that damn plane, and also extremely nervous. I was so caught up in my accent and lavish life I had made up, that I had completely forgotten this was my first time in new country. I didn’t know what the hell to do. I followed the herd, and made my way up to the very intimidating Immigration officer blocking my way into New Zealand soil. He asks for my passport…FUCK. I have left my passport in my seat on the plane. I must’ve been so distracted when filling out my paperwork onboard, ensuring my new Aussie mate didn’t see my real name I suppose, that I obviously just dumbly left in sitting in my seat. I try to explain myself to the officer, and start talking in that damn English accent again. I accidentally say, “shit!” in my normal American accent, and he gives me a sharp look. He makes a call, and next thing I know, i’m being escorted by an officer into a detaining room. I was there for a total of two hours having to explain the whole situation. The accent, the shrimps on the barbie, the tortoise glasses, and where to find my passport. Apparently, the cleaning crew “couldn’t locate the passport” which raised even more suspicion. Did I look like a terrorist? Miraculously, after a lot of gabbing, they let me go and sternly instructed me that I would need to go to the embassy first thing in the morning to obtain an emergency passport. I was in a panic for the remainder of the night. Didn’t sleep a wink. Luckily, I wake up to a phone call the next morning. My passport has been found! Oh- and it was found exactly where I said it was. Row J Seat A.
Moral of the story? Before putting on your best Mrs. Potts accent, know your audience, and know your flight duration.
I’M DOING GREAT, MOM.
I can be quite a bitch.
Sorry- er, I mean, I can have quite the resting bitch face.
I get the phrase, “You should smile more”…or “Turn that frown upside down” as if we are back in kindergarten. How many times do I have to tell people that this is just my face? Or just a normal human face that is just there, expressionless, but relaxing, being totally fine in life. Let me just start by saying that I am an overall happy person. I’m extremely goofy, immature, all that fun jazz. I do have my days where I feel like an orc that’s just been born out of the mud at the base of Mordor, or sometimes have the odd day where I need to sneak off to have a little cry in the broom closet, (broom closet? Is that a thing), or moments where I feel like I don’t have a voice and am stuck in an unfair situation, but we all have these, and I usually just stay quiet like a little shy girl and then bitch about it later to an unfortunate soul that has to take it.
Do I think it’s necessary to have a permanent smile plastered on my face at all times? Walking around like a juiced-up clown at a 5 year old’s birthday pool party? Nah. That’s just not me. And to be honest, sometimes encountering people like that is just plain exhausting and unrealistic. My biggest dilemma is that I wear my heart on my sleeve, or rather, my face. If i’m upset, it shows. But i’m also not walking around like a beaming ray of fireball whistling Zippitydoodah when i’m in an okay mood.
I don’t think that showing your emotions is a bad thing at all. Quite the contrary, I strongly believe that hiding your true emotions or putting on a mask, fake smile, false overly-intense positivity, is waaaaay more detrimental that good. Why do we have to feel ashamed to FEEL and show emotions? Unfortunately, Women get so much shit on a daily basis for this. “Oh she’s just really dramatic” or “she’s crazy and super emotional”.. “here come the tears” .. THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH BEING EMOTIONAL! The worst one yet? Being called psychotic for simply voicing your opinions and sharing your feelings. Psychotic?! When people start hoarding their feelings and true thoughts instead of expressing them, they’re basically turning into Nancy from that show Hoarders who lives in a trailer with endless piles of trinkets and possibly deceased cats. Nobody wants to be Nancy, or even worse, her poor cats.
Please don’t get me wrong- i’m not trying to hop aboard the Intense Feminism ride here, but I do feel like men hoard their feelings and emotions constantly. Women get such shit for releasing these words or burdens that live inside of us, when men are actually holding onto the same things. Difference is, we don’t hear men’s emotions until they’re a bottle deep in Grandma’s gin at Thanksgiving.
Feel like having a little cry? DO IT. Personally, I love a good cry. I live for it. It’s almost like an orgasm. A release. Being an adult is hard, and crying doesn’t seem to happen all that often anymore. Remember when you were a kid and would fall down and skin your knee? You somehow feel WAY better after having a massive snot-filled cry into mom’s arms. We now have this hardened exterior for skin, and crying only occurs when we are truly at our breaking point. Think about it..when is the last time you really cried? I can tell you mine- this morning. I woke up with an overbearing homesickness and yearning to be a child again, so naturally, I watched Mulan. It was one of my favorite movies as a kid, and still to this day is. It brought me back to being a child and not having one single shit in the world. All I cared about was Disney movies, fruit roll-ups, horses, and the countdown to Christmas. This made me cry. Oh have the times changed. But the comfort in knowing that I can tap into my inner-child whenever I feel like adulting is too hard, just made me so happy and sad at the same time that the tears just came flowing. It was a damn good cry. Afterwards, I decided to make a veggie soup that took about 6 hours in total instead of going to the gym. MOOD LIFT.
So please think next time you make the “you should smile more often” comment. No one is that perfect all the time. This isn’t some weird HBO show where we all live in a flowery bubble with puppies and kittens and white picket fences and the men have comb-overs and the women wear swing dresses with bright red lipstick. No. You know what happens in the next season of that show? Alien invasion. The main character, Joe, is revealed as some demonic cyborg who is taking over the world by mind control. Meanwhile, your husband? He’s actually Satan himself. BOOM. Season finale.
Long story not so short, we are all feeling some shit. Am I right? Wouldn’t we be better off as being open and honest with all of that? Be honest with yourself. Spill it. Acknowledge when you’re emotional and don’t be ashamed of it. You are a human being and what you’re feeling is completely natural. Use it as your super power. Write it down. Turn it into music. Poetry. Or just have a meaningful conversation with someone. Or you could be like me and just pop your headphones in and dance around your room listening to Tool circa 2005. (It’s the best).