Unlike at home or school, my sobs fell unnoticed. Between my room and the house was a 15-meter walkway and a mini-backyard--my host family could've been nothing but oblivious. So instead of disturbing my brother's deep slumber or wrinkling the brows of my floormates, the cries of anguish pierced the night before the inky darkness swallowed them.
I dreamt about home, whatever that meant. I dreamt about the fissures in my family. I dreamt of my mother's overzealous enthusiasm for buying clothes, perhaps in an attempt to ease the numbness of her desk job. I dreamt of my brother and father's cold relationship. I dreamt of discussing my concerns with them. I dreamt of tears--the very real tears that had awoken me.
I wished I had been able to patch the cracks in my three months home, to fill the empty spaces with love and resonance. I wished I hadn't been so angsty that summer, bringing only more pain to the table.
I realized that night that I was doing it all wrong. For the majority of the summer, I wished I was elsewhere. Bearing the weight of frayed relationships and my unfulfilling cubicle job, I wanted to fast forward to my time abroad--then I'll be happy, I thought. Now in France, I caught similar sentiments seeping into my consciousness--I'll be happy when I'm in England, when I can speak again without sounding like an idiot, when I'm back to the dorm life, when I can find vegan food more easily.
As my sobs subsided, I resolved to shed my self-hindering habit. Why did I always assume that different circumstances would absolve my problems? Why was I always waiting to be happy? There will always be obstacles, regardless of where or when we are, and that's okay. It's time to whole-heartedly embrace here and now.
* * *
Before I left, I convinced myself that I understood the not-so-glamorous side of study abroad. Nothing, really, could prepare me for the disorientation of the first few days. In the U.S., I thought I was fairly decent at French--my accent was dismal, but I could usually get by in class. Here, as I've pledged to only speak French, I've realized how limited my vocabulary and horrifically dismal my accent are. To top things off, I was hungry-grumpy all the time since I hadn't yet found filling and tasty meat substitutes.
Today was the first turning point. I ventured to the heart of the city just to explore, found the perfect organic store (and became slightly emotional at their lovely selection of vegan-friendly food), took outfits shots in the middle of the road, and sweated my butt off at the gym. I'm a long ways from being comfortable--maybe I'll never be there--but, I'm learning. And like I said at the beginning of college: there's no growing without growing pains.
As a liberal arts student/endurance athlete/violinist/fashion enthusiast, I find beauty in many spheres. Consequently, I have no idea where life will lead me. Here is where I document my journey to creating myself--soul-baring reflections, embarrassing photos, and all. Feel free to join me for the ride.