…but it’s the post that I have to write.
I’ve been in London for twelve days now. It’s been twelve days of chaotic, exhausted, jet-lagged, overwhelmed, insanity. During those twelve days, I’ve sat down in front of my laptop countless times trying to write the quintessential “I’m abroad and this is the best thing that’s ever happened to me! Look at my photos and be jealous!” post, but I couldn’t seem to find the words. Don’t get me wrong, I cried tears of joy the first time I saw Big Ben lit in green and gold and reflecting off the Thames, but when I got into my uncomfortable bed in my student flat at the end of the day, I wasn’t feeling ecstatic, I was feeling heartbroken, lost, and lonely.
I spent most of those first days in a fierce denial. I’d pretend all day, to myself and to everyone I came in contact with, that I was blissfully happy and that nothing could bring me down. I was in London! I’d only been talking about this since I was fifteen! I couldn’t possibly be feeling lonely, lost, or sad because that simply didn’t fit in with the narrative I was attempting to build for myself. So I pretended, and kept myself sufficiently distracted.
This worked pretty well for a while, but I knew deep down that it wasn’t going to cut it for four months. Talking to my best friend or my mom or my boyfriend on the phone each night for hours on end with tears silently leaking onto my pillow because of how much I miss them just isn’t a healthy way to live. Nevertheless, I kept it up until one rainy Monday where everything bubbled over. I was sitting in my flat, not really doing much of anything, with negative thoughts bubbling and boiling like a pot of pasta on too high heat. I decided to take a walk to get some coffee to keep it all from boiling over and making a mess, but I knew that wouldn’t work too well when it started to pour buckets after I’d only walked a block. I shuffled into a Nero and ordered a latte, my hands shaking, and sat myself on a couch in a corner. I was fit to burst and I knew it. A call to my boyfriend that wouldn’t connect was the final straw. I typed out my feeling’s in several long texts to him as the tears spilt from my eyes and grew into small sobs. A few of the hipster freelancers and stoic business men all working on their laptops turned to look at me, thinking I was a lunatic, I’m sure, so I left in a rush, the tears still flowing.
I walked up and down Tottenham Court Road and cried myself out a bit. And as one always does right after a good cry, I started to feel a little lighter. Now that I’d allowed myself to feel my feelings, now that I’d let myself be sad and lonely, it started to make a bit more sense. Of course I was feeling this way! What kind of person doesn’t feel like this when they’re three thousand miles away from home with none of the people they care about around them? What I was feeling was valid, (and this, my boyfriend would echo back to me in a text just a few minutes later. Thanks Ang!) and it most certainly didn’t mean I’d made a mistake in coming here.
It was that fear that had me so hesitant to acknowledge how I was feeling in the first place. If I wasn’t feeling one hundred percent ecstatic, then had I in fact made a huge mistake? I’ve talked to people about it now, both here where I am and back at home, and they’ve all told me the same thing; that this is to be expected, and that it will pass. And that’s why I’ve decided to post this first, instead of a flowery “I can’t believe it! I’m here!” post (which is still coming, worry not!). This blog wouldn’t be true to my experience if I edited out the rough bits of it. So this is me sharing the rough bits. Don’t worry though, because I know that despite all this, I’m still going to have the best time of my life this semester, and I know that feeling lost like this will only help me find myself.