I have been sitting uncomfortably with my anger. I’m at the point of my healing/processing cycle where I get to revisit this feeling again. As a child I was never truly allowed to express anger, it was an emotion that wasn’t “cheerful obedience” and therefore wrong. It often circles back to me in the autumn. There are a lot of traumatic memories that resurface in my body in September and this year was no different. A lot of my adverse experiences happened between the months of September and November through the years growing up. I mean things happened at other times to but the ones that live in my veins and cry the loudest tended to happen around fall.
For the last two days my sleep has been schlect (bad) and my neck has been locked in agony. Nothing helps for more than a few minutes. I’ve tried everything – weed, epsom salt baths, stretches, pain cream, pain meds (ibuprofen, tylenol, my regular dose of gabapentin). I don’t have money for a massage or I would go get one, but I think this particular knot is also tied to a lot of feelings that I’ve been trying to keep at bay so I can function like an adult and it won’t really be able to be relieved until I let myself feel my fucking feelings.
So I’m feeling my fucking feelings. Out loud. On digital paper, because holding it quietly to myself and scribbling away in my diary or doodling in my art journal isn’t doing the trick it usually does.
I am entering my first autumn without brain meds since I was in my early 20s. I knew going in this would be a problem but I was confident (in the sweet summer) in my ability to navigate it. I am finding myself wishing that I had an as-needed anti-depressant that would work for me, possibly something to talk to my psychiatrist about soon. As it happens because I tapered off over the spring I still have a stash of anti-anxiety meds so I’m taking my Buspar as needed (and took some today) and that is better than nothing. I know the creeping feeling of depression and I can feel it lurking in the shadows but it isn’t as deep as it used to be, I get sucked into spirals but I can find my way out, it’s just exhausting and requires that I have the ability to step back for a second and realizing I’m in a spiral in order to stop.
This is me seeing that spiral.
When I was 14 my family moved to a small town outside Atlanta. I had never been there. My parents had never been there. My grandparents bought a home they planned to retire in near my cousins who had recently moved there. My parents were renting a house next door to my grandparents and my grandparents offered them the place for the cost of utilities (cheaper than the rent we were currently paying) and upkeep while they continued at their jobs until they could retire.
So, within a month my large family packed up our house, our 15 passenger van, and two uhauls and drove 10 hours north to a place I’d never seen, in a town I’d never been, with a very southern culture I knew nothing about, over Thanksgiving, when everyone else already had plans with existing family and friends. No time for a weird new family.
Southwest Florida is much more culturally similar to New England than it is to the south. Mostly because that’s where the republican New Englanders go to spend the winters before retiring in one of the many ammenity filled gated communities bordering the everglades or the gulf. Moving to a very southern small town (comparatively) was a huge culture shock that I was not prepared for. I felt isolated and ostracized because as the eldest in a conservative homeschooling family I didn’t fit in with anyone outside of that sphere. The homeschooling families in GA were already established and felt cold towards newcomers who weren’t already entrenched in southern culture.
I was forced to leave the friends I was making in Florida with only a brief goodbye and forced to lie about how I felt about the move. I was angry. I was livid, in fact, that everything I ever knew was being torn from me and there was nothing I could do to stop it, yet I was responsible for making sure the move went smoothly. Out of spite, I refused to adopt the Georgian accent. It felt like the one thing about the move that I could control.
I was taken from a place where I was just beginning to feel accepted and plopped into a new place where everyone looked at my family with suspiscion, rumors spread faster than I anticipated, I couldn’t relate to my peers at church, and my opportunities to make friends with other homeschoolers was limited because I was the primary caretaker for my siblings. It sucked.
Moreover, any time I tried to talk about it, I was reminded that this was a blessing from God, and I should be grateful for it. I wasn’t allowed to just accept that anger as valid, those feelings as real, to work through them at all because to feel those things was to be rejecting the gift that God had given our family.
On really bad days, like…lately, I find myself feeling the same way about Berlin.
Feeling like I can’t express the anger and frustration at feeling so isolated because I haven’t had the bandwidth to find My People.
Feeling like I can’t express the grief of leaving everyone I know and love behind.
Feeling like I can’t express the deep sense of loss at leaving my advocacy work because it’s just difficult to do from across the ocean.
Feeling like I can’t express the rage at how impossible it is to be self-employed here, or how I feel like I was sold a bill of lies about healthcare access (I am paying more for health care here than I ever did in the US and the bureaucracy about it is even more confusing) here because the rules were not made for people like me.
Feeling like I can’t express how much I’m suffocating in red tape and feel abandoned by my partner who is absolutely thriving.
I feel like I can’t express these things because I chose, of my own volition to move here without ever having set foot in Europe. I knew it would be hard. I knew it would be the same level of nightmare moving to GA was when I was 14. I knew I would have these feelings and this spiral.
I feel like I can’t talk about the pain and the hard stuff about moving because I know it’s harder in the US; objectively, despite the emotional soul-sucking turmoil that is dealing with TK and the Finanzamt for having the audacity to be alive, my quality of life has improved so much by just living in a society with gun control.
I’m trying to hold the feelings of homesickness and anger at the bureaucratic hell of Germany with the fact that I feel a peace living here I’ve never known in the US because I’m not constantly doing active-shooter threat calculations when I leave my apartment, at the same time.
Being in Berlin feels really shitty right now because I paid my entire annual income and then some to the finanzamt and health insurance company this year. I have a really exciting opportunity that I’m worried is going to financially cripple me because the situation for freelancers is so utterly hostile here. I want to be excited but all I feel is burnt out at the thought of having to do hellish taxes again, every year.
I don’t want to finish my German classes out of my 14 year old sense of spite, but I know that’s really just self-sabotage.
So I will do my best to hold that 14 year old’s rage and loneliness, because that’s what’s being triggered – that sense of powerlessness and loss and isolation yet also responsibility for making everything happen (guess who has done most of the immigration and moving and tax logistics??? me). But the only thing really stopping me is bureaucracy and the language barrier. Adult-me can get through that eventually.
It just still fucking sucks for me, specifically, and maybe it’s okay to be upset about that.