I am in limbo. Stuck between the ‘here’ that I have to be, and the ‘there’ that I want to be. But it’s not enough to simply say “I don’t want to be here”. It’s more complicated than that. And a lot more painful.
I’ve written about my struggles with friendships, with being back in London in general and feeling out of place, and even with living with family. But I haven’t addressed the overarching problem yet; the reason that everything feels so difficult. And the truth is, I have no plans to stay here, to remain ‘back’ as it were.
Instead I am waiting on a visa to Australia that might never come, and in the meantime I am floating in a limbo partly of my own creation.
It’s a hard thing to put into words. I’m avoiding making close friends at work because I don’t know how long I’ll be here and I wonder whether it’s worth investing the time in. I’m on and off again about dating for the same reasons – though I’ve not yet met anyone that makes me think dating here is worth it either. And I’ve pulled back from old friendships after realising how distant things are here on the day to day. Add to that how I’ve changed personally, and it’s hard to reconcile the ‘then’ with the ‘now’ of my life.
I also have no questions about why I want to go back, even though I’ve found it difficult to articulate to people who ask; I can tell them about all the things in Melbourne that made it great, but really it’s about what it did for me.
I was the least stressed I’ve ever been in my adult life. My confidence built exponentially when rediscovering my love for dancing and finding friends that just let me be me, whoever that was that day. I had my own space, and was able to get to know myself better, to understand my personal boundaries and except them, and to define the things that really mattered to me. And I was able to garner a quality of life I had never been able to previously.
I hadn’t, in all my years in London, ever really been able to do any of these things fully. The noise got in the way, the struggle got in the way, and there were just too many doors open for my depression to walk through at any given moment.
So being back isn’t just hard; it’s become incrementally crushing. Not oppressive say, but I feel my light slowly dimming, my desire and confidence to dance when I feel like it whittling away, my self-consciousness returning, and my desire to sit alone in a dark room is growing day by day. But at least in Melbourne, I had the time to decipher my triggers and pay attention when I felt my mental health might be going south.
Still though, the warm glow I felt in my belly when laughing with friends, the memories I have of dancing the night away and then dancing some more, and the trips I took to new places, the challenges I overcame for myself, those things have carried me.
I don’t want to lose them, but as is common of memories, the longer the time passes, the more it all feels like a bit of a fiction.
Maybe I’m looking for the universe to intervene on my behalf, as I try to keep my head up for as long as I can. I don’t think that I can float forever though, and right now, sinking feels like an inevitability.
Image credit: Elephant by Lee Mette from the Noun Project