Monthly Archives: November 2019

a bit

My blog is public, which is why in several posts I have explored how vulnerable I should be with my readers. But, basically, I pretty much know all of you that read my ramblings about my challenges as an expat, and how anxious all of theses challenges make me feel. Well, I thought I knew you all… But I did what I promised myself I wouldn’t do– looked at stats. Who’s reading. What countries people are in when they are reading it. From what link or app they clicked through. Hmmm… Reddit. That’s interesting. And scary. Oh I know who referenced me. How nice of her. She’s always been so supportive. Awww okay theses comments are nice. Except ONE. And the negative self-talk rushed in.

To be honest that comment wasn’t even that bad, and from someone whoprobably isn’t my audience anyway. But it was a reminder that I am public. People will have opinions. I will likely constantly reevaluate what I’m doing with this blog but, for now, I remain committed to telling my truth. I do not believe that pretending everything is just fine is beneficial for anyone. I do not want to discourage anyone from taking massive leaps in their lives if they want. I actually encourage it. Do. The. Thing. But real talk is essential if we expect people to make informed decisions. Real talk is necessary to break stigmas. Real talk has shifted my perspective on what I’m experiencing.

Guess what y’all, I was ill-prepared for what I was going to experience in Nederlands. I thought I was completely in my lane. I wasn’t even on the right highway. But would I change it? Not at all. Despite my going on about the challenges, I would not move back. I just wish I had known more of the crappy bits. And I think many of us would agree that we often think, “No one told me it was going to be like this.” My purpose isn’t to dissuade others from taking chances but to be real about what the challenges have been for me. All things that I am overcoming as I gain insight into my new home.

So to the Reddit gal, make the move to Holland, honey! Enjoy the tulips, the fresh air, the freedom to cheaply and easily roam Europe. But know black face is acceptable here. Vitamin D deficiency is an epidemic here. Dutch friends are rare for an expat here. And come with a job contract already signed or enroll in a University because it’s hard to break in here. Know all this but still, Do. The. Thing.

Photo by Aaron Burden

As a side note, I am going to start sharing some of what I am reading, watching, listening to. I’m not sure why except that it’s my blog and I want to so… there you have it. Ha! I’m always looking for recommendations so please share with me too!

Happy, Happy, Joy, Joy

Your joy is your sorrow unmasked

I have just seen another post about not believing what you see on social media. And (in the case of friends and family anyway) I disagree. Disregarding brands and influencers, I believe what you all are showing me. Just because we are only showing the good parts? So? I personally share what brings me joy. I know you all are sharing your joy too. And sometimes even your real, raw pain. But mostly joy. Okay look, we all know when filters have been applied, but who cares? If you are not comfy with your image at the moment but you want to share, what do I care?! We are all adults and we all know that being an adult is basically just constantly trying to dodge shitty landmines. So let people live, y’all!! Let them share their joy and hide their sorrow.

I really for the life of me can’t figure out why people care so much if it’s only joyful, filtered social media posts. You wouldn’t show up to a party without making yourself look nice and talking about the crappy aspects of life. You would be a social pariah! I honestly see no difference.

I probably never would have written about this but, I am an inconsistent (at best) listener of “Oprah’s Super Soul Conversations” and I happened to catch a recent one with Lupita Nyong’o. I am so glad that I did. In it Oprah reads a quote of Nyong’o, “Joy is not the absence of pain but happiness in spite of it.” Nyong’o credits Khalil Gibran which led me to track it down.

Then a woman said, Speak to us of Joy and Sorrow.

And he answered:

Your joy is your sorrow unmasked.

And the selfsame well from which your laughter rises was oftentimes filled with tears.

And how else can it be?

The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain.

Is not the cup that holds your wine the very cup that was burned in the potter’s oven?

And is not the lute that soothes your spirit, the very wood that was hollowed with knives?

When you are joyous, look deep into your heart and you shall find it is only that which has given you sorrow that is giving you joy.

When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight.

Some of you say, “Joy is greater than sorrow,” and others say, “Nay, sorrow is the greater.”

But I say unto you, they are inseparable.

Together they come, and one sits alone with you at your board, remember that the other is asleep on your bed.

Verily you are suspended like scales between your sorrow and your joy.

Only when you bare empty are you at standstill and balanced.

When the reassure-keeper lifts you to weigh his gold and his silver, needs must your sorrow rise and fall.

Khalil Gibran, The Prophet

These inspired me to write because, well I suppose this resonates with me as I essentially started this blog journey due to the fact that I was worried I was misrepresenting my life. That it appeared to only be a travel adventure when in fact I had been suffering too. And I have been noticing several friends feeling as though they too need to let their feed know that they are also experiencing the crappy part of life on the other side of the lens. What I have come to realize, and I hope that my readers who quickly judge the “fakeness” of social media will realize, is that most are not masking it but rather basking in the joy. Because the sorrow will come again, soon enough, because they are inseparable. Because “joy is not the absence of pain but happiness in spite of it.” Let’s celebrate each others joyous moments, they are not fake. They are what keeps us balanced, healthy, and whole.