After moving to a new country for university, I fell sick.
I wonder if it’s because my body is stuck in limbo between newfound unpredictability and missing old routines and that’s why at night these maladjusted bones creak for home…
It almost feels taboo to say out loud.
Even more so if I add another layer of association:
I am lonely.
Homesickness is insidious. It hides in the shadows before it suddenly swallows you whole, leaving just an empty shell of who you are behind. I noticed its presence as I was pretending to laugh the other day, suddenly continuing the facade of being happy all the time felt so tiring.
As someone who only puts pretty pictures and carefully worded statuses on social media, I have left no space for vulnerability, especially when a trip down my feed shows all my high school friends transitioning as well as can be, #lovinglifewiththesecoolnewpeople!!!
I don’t want their pity.
Then and again, like my mother says, the best medicine is often bitter and I should just swallow my pride and admit that sometimes there are imperfections to life I can’t hide with a filter, and that’s alright.
A few days ago, I was at rock bottom.
I was caught up in how hundreds of new faces have flashed past these past few weeks but even when conversations feel like smooth sailing, they often run their course and it’s just rinse & repeat. I’m not sure if I’m imagining the air of indifference in this new city or I’ve just forgotten how to breathe properly.
I can’t help questioning, after talking to so many people, if the problem is at my end. Am I trying too hard? Not hard enough?
It’s tiring to be so bubbly and outgoing all the time, the repetitive and meaningless small talk giving my presence a sense of effervescence that I hate. It feels like if I can’t make anyone fall in love with me, like the little mermaid, I’ll just dissipate into thin air, carried away by the autumn wind to a place where nobody remembers I ever existed.
Then life will go on, as per usual.
My inner Ursula offers me a quick fix when I’m at my lowest: a friend or two in exchange for my real personality. I linger on the concept for far too long, but do not accept.
I admire Ariel’s disregard for what others think of her decision and her determination & focus on her goals more than the temptation of distractions. It is in her that I see the true remedy for my sickness – caring less about what other people think and focusing on myself.
It’s not a new idea by any means, but sometimes it helps to say it out loud, to admit it to myself that I need make a conscious effort towards fixing my perspectives to be genuinely happy.
After all, my mind is the most central home I have, and unless I shift my thinking, no matter where I go, I’ll never shake this ‘sickness’ away.
It’s time to sleep. The road to recovery won’t be easy.