I haven't been the best of bloggers these past weeks, I know. But I've been brought up on the principle that if you have nothing nice to say just keep quiet. And I don't see any point to complaining as I find it a horrible weakness of humanity -- to sit down and plunge into self pity instead of doing one's best to improve whatever conditions might need improving. I believe that as long as you're alive you have the greatest of gifts and of possibilities. You can always take that deep breath and get up.
And yet, it seems that this thing has caught up to me. I had always known it existed, I just thought I would be the last person to give in to it. Maybe I am. (But then I'm afraid, humanity is doomed. =D) That doesn't make it feel any better though, and doesn't make it any less real. It's a strange feeling, as if you were rotting from the inside, and it somehow prevents you to even think of a cure. A cure to the expat disease.But what is this thing? How does it develop? Is it contagious?
I had known it existed for a long time. Even when I was preparing for my trip, in the sanctuary of my packed up little apartment back in Hungary (see, now I call it a sanctuary...), I couldn't help but notice and laugh out loud at the absolute pessimism that ruled the expat forums. I was appalled how everyone was hating someone or something or themselves and I thought I would never ever belong to that sorry lot. I was about to conquer the world.
I guess your system is most vulnerable to the virus when your little ego hits that block wall. You think you can climb that mountain, you think you are getting closer to the top... and then you realize you've just been banging your head into the rock, this unrelenting, unmoving, unattainable peak that you thought would take you to unknown heights. And, for the first time, you think that maybe the others were right. You are stuck here, right below this starscraping pile of possibilities and dreams, and they'll never be yours. You're no longer the conqueror, the hero of the story. You're being swallowed by this gray monster, the reality of your so called life in this country. You know that you can quit any time. You know that it can graciously spit you back where you began. But to what end? You're no longer the conqueror, the hero of the story. You're an expat.
This is how it all starts and remains for most. When your most glorious of hopes has just been crushed in front of you, you don't dare dream any more. You might take it all stoically but that doesn't help the fact. You've got the disease.
I'm not one for complaining. And I hope I still have what it takes to conquer! -- if not the mountain then the sickness. But these past few weeks I've really been feeling down, feeling the weight of it all. Of the mountain, the heap of my own dreams and hopes. Without any exaggeration I can say that I'm one of the most positive people in the whole world. Just because I hate feeling sad or negative, I'd do everything in my power to change whatever needs changing. And if nothing works, I change my perspective. The world is my silver lining, I often say. And I mean it. But lately it's been needing some polishing to shine...
Crazy as it sounds, for the first time in my life, I feel homesick. I miss my family and my friends, my dear friends. I miss the feeling that the world around me is at arm's length, that I can understand everything without listening, that my mind registers the flow of information and I'm ready to react. I miss my powers: the open face I'd always shown to the world, that perpetual smile, the magic of my words. Here I feel deaf to the heartbeats of the world, deaf to the events around me. And I'm numb too, my smile lost in translation. My words don't reach hearts. My magic is lost. I'm lost.
My hopes are broken. My wings are crushed. I don't dream about soaring any more. I don't dare ask for anything, for anything this world gives turns to mist once I open my palms. Not that it gives you nothing. It does give you the semblance of a life, one that you cannot turn down. Not now that you've been fighting for it so long. And you know nothing now but the fight. You're a burned out remnant of a long war.
I don't think that I'll never get up. Deep down I know I will. This is no hope -- it cannot be taken away -- this is the core of my being. If I truly believed this was it, I'd be dead, taken over by the disease. But I know that something in me is stronger than that. Something in me is indestructible. I don't know how long I'll be floating in the mist, looking up at the stars and the mountains, their outlines leaving empty reflections in my eyes. I don't know when I'll climb again. But I do know that I'll be up once more, fighting, soaring, living. Maybe when the first flowers bloom...