So it’s been a while… like a year and a half or so, but I’m hanging in here – until recently, like the last month or so, I would have added “barely” to that statement. I feel like I’ve been hibernating and it’s now time for spring to get here.
I’ve got lots of reasons for my absence, but the biggest one is I don’t know how many ways I could say I just can’t function or even more, I don’t have the words to explain why I couldn’t function.
In the past 18 months…
I returned to America. Not by choice, but at, what I do think, was a good time for our family. And turns out many people had expectations of what this would mean and I found that very overwhelming so I responded in ways that could and did damage relationships.
I got a part-time job at World Market – great store, but also overwhelming to work retail at the holidays.
Then I spent Thanksgiving with my immediate family. Michael arranged for Chan and Aly to make it to Colorado. And there were friends there. It was good. It was probably the first big positive in our return.
And somewhere in this time, I discovered that I brought a great big ol’ helping of social anxiety with me when I returned to America. I don’t know where or when I picked it up, but man I caught a massive case of it and it seems like it might be a permanent part of who I now am.
Christmas came. Parts of Christmas were good. When we heard we’d be returning to America I thought a few of the positives that would come with that would be time with friends and time with family. We had a great Christmas with some awesome friends.
We made it into the New Year – 2017, I was determined I would get things under control. I didn’t. But I didn’t give up.
In January of 2017, my older brother died. It was devastating. Not because he died. But because I’d wished him dead for many, many years and his death changed nothing other than to cause me more pain than he’d caused me while he was living.
The holidays were over, New Year was over. I needed to do something that felt like forward motion so I got a job at Caption Call. It was also part-time, so between my two part-time jobs, I had a full-time job. And what’s the best thing to do when you have two part-time jobs? Find a temporary full-time job. A temporary full-time job that is a Monday – Friday kind of job. The kind of job that makes you quit your two part-time jobs.
In March of 2017, I started working at Compassion International. Yes, the same place that Michael works. The reason we were in Asia. It was just the kind of job I needed. Set hours and responsibilities that didn’t extend past the hours I was required to be at work. In May of 2017, I was able to turn my temp job into a permanent job.
About this time Sam came to us and wanted to know if his graduation trip could be to Thailand. He’d taken his GED and passed with flying colors with college credits and all that jazz. When Chan graduated we took a family trip to Japan. When Aly graduated we took a family trip to New Zealand. Sam wanted to return to Thailand to see his friends graduate high school. Michael and I thought this was a great idea, but it couldn’t be a family trip. Finances and jobs wouldn’t allow for it. So it was a Sam and mom trip. It was a healing trip. It was the first time I heard Sam speak of Thailand as his home and not as a place he’d never wanted to live. It gave him an opportunity for closure. It also gave me an opportunity for closure. I saw friends. I made my way along roads that for years had been home for me. I saw life had gone on without me. And that it was okay. I returned from Thailand knowing Thailand was no longer my home and recognizing that I hadn’t made a home in America, either.
Life was painful. Interactions with people hurt. And that makes life very difficult. When you want to put your best foot forward and make a really good impression, but every single time you try you fail, it doesn’t make life easier. It’s caused me to mess up relationships with some neighbors and to not even try to have relationships with other neighbors. It caused me to mess up relationships with friends and it’s caused me to mess up relationships with family. It’s hard to navigate life when you feel like with every hello you say you owe that person an apology. And when you see all the failed relationships around you and you see that the common denominator of them all might be? could be? is? you, it’s crushing.
But that’s where I am. And the funny thing is that I do feel like I’m turning a corner. Every day no longer feels like a challenge. I don’t think the tension of finding my home will ever go away, but I now know that I can live with that tension and thrive in that tension.