Who are you, when you are not defined by the people, things, and environment around you?
When displaced from what was always called “home”, you are forced to confront this question. A clean slate is full of exciting promise, but starting again is never an easy process. Even for the most self-aware, self-assured people, moving away from home and starting anew in a foreign place can be disorienting.
New faces, new routines, new streets, new emotions and new air. People have no clue about your history. What could they think of when they first see you? Your physical and emotional shelter, your home, your family, your closest friends, suddenly feel less tangible. What once buffered the challenges you face on a daily basis seem to be missing. The impact of heartbreak appears much more damaging. A failed grade may feel like a failed life. Silly mistakes become isolating.
Your insecurities and worries are heightened outside your comfort zone—without your loved ones in your immediate presence—and moments of loneliness are inevitable. Vulnerabilities assumed to be long gone resurface. It’s very easy to lose sight of who you are in this struggle, you may betray your own boundaries, bottle up your feelings, question your own worth, and make questionable decisions, often just to feel less lonely.
It’s hard to be far from home on your own. Whilst not exactly pleasant, I must learn to fearlessly embrace the discomfort and uncover pieces of joy in this journey of independence far from home. With time, I shall expand my own support system, and come out the other side with a stronger sense of who I am and who I want to be. Healthy growth, habits and non-destructive choices often feel scary and uneasy in the beginning, but that is normal when change is occurring.
Nothing ever blooms in the comfort zone.