Growing pains in same – sex romantic relationships local and abroad.

Today is the 14th of December 2019 and it is around 10:30 p.m and I just arrived at my Happy Place in Struisbaai, South Africa. This is the one place where I can come for peace of mind and wash my spirit clean of all the gunk that I have accumulated from the year’s work. AS a teenager and young adult I used to come here over the festive season to spend time with my cousins and their extended families as a way of centering myself and also as a way to recharge my tired and exhausted being.

This time is different. It has been long overdue. Not being in South Africa for nearly 5 years has taken it’s toll on me. And this time is the first time in about 6 years that I have been here in Struisbaai. Many memories are popping up to help me find solutions to the personal challenges that I currently face.

One of the main ones are transitioning from teaching EFL to writing full time and number two is  rejecting my role as provider, protector, problem solver, caretaker, giver, rescuer, fixer, go -to person and safe place  in many but not all of my platonic and romantic relationships.

I love doing it, but I am hurting myself now because I so wholeheartedly love being there for others. I truly have love for everyone but this love that I seem to have for the world is to my detriment. And I must have bumped my head a thousand times over, over this, that it has now cracked open and brought me back to my senses.

I notice that I can not give, what I don’t have. And I what  I don’t have is the mental capacity for anything other than my wellness, my creativity, my wholeness and my soul purpose of  being the best version of me.

This is a process of self and personal development. It is also a  constant discovery and rediscovery through expressing myself in healthy,creative and productive ways.

My cup of love is full, yes and it overflows into every person and thing that I come into contact with. But I think my tank of life is currently empty. So the energy that usually accumulates in this tank and gets converted into love for myself ,so that  I pass it on to the world through my profession, my passions, my creativity and my writing.

Do not get me wrong. Of love there is no lack, but needing R and R would be better stated as a recharge and a reset of who I am. Not how I can be of use to others. Because I am of no use to myself right now and it is quite disheartening knowing that I possess such a wealth of knowledge. I have gained international work and life experience.I have had the pleasure and pain of  falling in love with people and places many times.I have been with different women from all over the world. Our paths crossed for  different reasons and each experience was as beautiful as the next.They all showed me pieces of themselves that they were too ashamed to show the world, but they showed it to me and that made each encounter memorable and significant.

I have been on an amazing journey in the last 7 years and I regret nothing. I have enriched people’s lives and they have enriched mine and taught me so much about the simple things in life that I truly believe that that is what matters. The simplicity of being me is complicated by circumstances and situations. When I simply am. I truly thrive from moment to moment.

At this point in time. I have nothing to offer to anyone in any way, shape or form that is tangible.

However what I do have to offer myself  is an immense admiration and determination of creating  self- sustainability and stability right now. I don’t have the answers yet, but I have the why. And once you have the why, the how, the who, the where, the when and the who will come.

What’s my why? My why is me. Why me? Because I have been given one life. I have been blessed and highly favoured to live many lifetimes and I now wish to not only find north but be north. Firstly for myself and in doing so I can be a guidepost to others like me.

I am an example of what klein dorpies thought would not be possible, but I did it anyway. I travelled across continents. I have lived in different societies. I adapted to different environments where I knew nothing and nobody upon arrival but each time when I left, I left being told that I was brave. That I was respected. That I made a difference in people’s lives and that I left people better than I found them.

I also learned other languages some by ear,some from simply immersing myself with locals only and some motivated me to study it for myself so that I could write to others in their mother tongue as a token of respect and eternal gratitude.

I discovered the world out there and it is beautiful. And I did not do it on my own. I had unwavering  support from the first step that I took back in 2012 until the last step that I have taken now in 2019 from my people. My huis mense, random strangers, foreign nationals , figures of authority, mentors, students, co workers, lovers, girlfriends and the list continues. You all know who you are and you are appreciated and valued beyond words or deeds could ever express. I thank you and salute you for always being for me and never being against me,being me. Even when I at times do not know who I am.

I am taking a break. Because I have already broken down.I know that this personal pitstop is not in vain but in gain. I can gain perspective in a space of peace. I can rest my head and pat myself on the back knowing that.I did outstandingly well. And if I can do it there will be another single queer female from a klein dorpie reading this and she will realize that if her dream is too big for the klein dorpie to understand it simply means that the world is waiting for her. That she can leave her comfort zone and step into her growth and glow zone now.

As I have mentioned. I am spent and I have nothing to offer as I have used every inch of me up. On others.

Les Brown says : “Live full. Die empty. ” So, I will take this death of societal and relationship roles as a gift and create a new life from this new cycle of my life as I am calling back my energy to myself right now.

I have come full circle after a cycle of 7 years of living, loving and working  as an expat.

I have taken stock of my life and where I started is not where I initially thought I would start but it has brought me back to the beginning of feeling extremely out of place in my own childhood house and being surrounded by everyone who I knew and them longer knowing me. They know an older, wounded, medicated version of me yes. It seems I need to reintroduce myself as a wiser, healthier,conscious and aware me who is in constant growth mode. This glow up is real.And real does not mean perfect or flawless. It is quite messy and confusing but it’s my truth and I love living my truth.

Another saying that I love: The truth hurts only once, but a lie, a lie hurts every time. So me rediscovering my truth might hurt a little now and later it will all be well. I trust the process.

The me right now is glowing up. And glowing up faster than the speed of light right now.

As I look back on this cycle that has passed.I stopped recognizing myself and I expected someone else to remind me of who I am, thinking that she saw me for me. ( Here the she I refer to is the she as a collective of all the women I encountered on a romantic level)

I thought that she could see me with through her eyes the way I wanted to be seen. There’s a very profound  saying that I love which says: ” Do not put the key of your happiness in someone else’s pocket. ” I think that is what I have misguidedly done, hoping that so many people would guide me back to myself whenever I felt lost, unwanted, invalidated or dismissed and ignored and silenced by society, men, my parents, my peers, my culture, my race, my klein dorpie with it’s narrow and broken – minded view of the world and to my own disappointment, myself.

The masks I took so long to get rid of I started wearing them again out of mental, emotional and psychological fatigue. Pretending to be okay when I have not been okay after years of traumatic events, living abroad and not being able to seek safety in myself because I needed to worry about my visa,my flights, my job security, the neighbourhood I lived in, my bills, my health, keeping in touch with family in South Africa, keeping in touch with friends in China,keeping in touch with friends I made in Saudi, keeping myself company,maintaining my physical health, my mental health, my personal development, my relationships  and the major question that bugged me : whether or not people are around me because I am foreign and simply just the flavour of the month or if people actually saw my brilliance.

Do other expats experience the same or have I been surrounded and ingrained in dysfunction, inappropriateness, unprofessional conduct, incompetence, corporate exploitation, mismanagement, corruption and whatever else not for so long that confusion and misunderstanding has become my normal?

Did being misunderstood make me believe that misunderstanding and misinterpreting things were because of a language barriers and not lack of proper communication. Is this how it spread from my work environment into my personal space without me realizing it? Was I communicating poorly as well?

Have I dumbed down myself to be small in a big world because I came from a small town?

How did I get to a such a low place within myself if I put my best out to the world?

How did my kindness attract so many emotional vultures that I ended up feeling so empty and having to borrow from others that I so dearly love and admire?

I have so many questions that I am unable to answer right now and I and know that I am the only one who can answer them by being frank and real clear and honest with myself. And I need help to navigate this without a map.

I have my compass yes. My inner compass is telling me to face north and head north, but I don’t know how to calibrate what is going on inside because the outside has become so noisy. The outside has become so murky and fractured. It is all a blur.

Who do I go to if I am the go to person?

I realized something about myself and that is that I was searching for myself on three separate continents and this whole time I am was and will always be the center of my own world.  A world that I tried to create from scratch with  so  many different females, from different socioeconomic backgrounds, different career paths, different outlooks on life, different ages, different cultures and none of them knew that our being different or weird is what was supposed to unite us as two perfect female energies to walk with each other and not away from each other because of our upbringings, cultures, social circles and families.

Yes having a strong and close knit bond with your family is great, but what if I don’t have that ? Why could I not be included into your family if I was so welcomed and loved? Did you think I would take your place or did your family think I would take you away from them?  What if I can not or do not feel comfortable introducing some of my family to someone who I value because I wanted them to choose me. In the same way that I chose them. Every time. Not just sometimes.

I wanted them to see the world in me in the same way that I saw the world in them, wanting to explore parts of it, if not all of it. Together. Not apart.

Does my brilliance deter females from me? Or is it my raw, vulnerable and meek side that seems to turn them off ? And they seem to run towards me when their worlds fall apart and run away when mine starts to crumble? So the conclusion that I have come to thus far is that I am the common denominator in the 20 some women that I have love audited.

And I will ask all 20 of them this : Is it that I loved you too much or that you did not love yourselves enough for me to be a part of your worlds. I did not need forever. All I wanted was your undivided attention, some devotion of your time, some personal care, a supportive ear or an uplifting conversation and true understanding in the same way I loved and once cared for you. If that was too much to ask for, why would you ever even have bothered  to invite yourselves over, wanting to wined and dined but then show up just to come and sit at the table of my world arriving empty handed and expecting love to be served?

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