I never considered a static life. I suppose many of my friends and family would not call their lives static but to me, never leaving where I grew up seemed fixed, not growing, not developing, static…(don’t @ me, I understand life differently now). I don’t know why I came to feel like this. Maybe it started because I was born on foreign soil, but was not there long enough to make memories, and that fact about myself always intrigued me? What I do know is that where I was, was not where I belonged.
The intention of this blog is to have open dialogue about vulnerability so I have to tell you that I have almost always been what I called a “nervous child.” I remember very clearly the day when my father and I were driving in the car and he said to me, “I think it’s important for you to be involved in a sport. What sport would you like to play?” And my answer was, “Well, what did YOU play? I want to do what you did.” And this is how I came to be a competitive distance runner at five-years-old. I was winning Women’s Divisions at a very young age. I was good, really good. I share this story because this is when I distinctly remember the “nervous child” kicking in. I always, and I mean always, worked myself up into a terrible stomach situation before a race or track meet. No matter how good my odds for success were. This carried on into anything I did that made me uncomfortable, and still does today.
Turns out that “nervous child” syndrome I diagnosed myself with is actually anxiety. Give me any amount of time and I will consider every outcome a brain could possibly imagine. But when I was younger I was never allowed to “quit.” By today’s standards it would probably seem cruel but I think my dad’s “suck it up buttercup” attitude helped me do things that my brain and stomach would have talked me out of (it is also why I have made some terrible decisions -the “just do it” attitude swings too far sometimes- but that’s another blog…). Basically, I can talk myself out of ANY opportunity in three seconds, flat.
We took a family trip outside of the country when I was 14. At 17 I traveled for the first time without my family. At 18 I moved across the US with the intention of never moving back, having a career that required me to travel all the time leaving no room in my life for kids, maybe not even a husband. What’s that poem about the best laid plans going awry?! At 23 I finally had my first chance to travel to Europe (sans that birth stint). After many years filled with more opportunities to travel, I sold nearly all of my things, gambled on a potential job opportunity (well I was gambling on the whole thing really), packed two suitcases, two waist-high boxes (this was mostly clothes and shoes that I had no business bringing to Northern Europe by the way) and became an expat.
I never really had to think about it prior to now, but I believe that my “suck it up” upbringing, exposure to travel, my intrigue with different cultures and lifestyles, and my “nervous child” syndrome is what has allowed me to do anything in my life that might look amazing. Some that know me would say that I am a “jump feet first” kind of person; That I don’t consider the “negatives” enough. But those that really know me know that I painstakingly consider all details, of everything, all the time, to the point that it can be debilitating and THAT is when I say, “Fuck it, Buttercup. We’re gonna do this.”