When my husband read this he said it was too dark, I wasn’t nice & relatable. I rewrote the section but decided to keep it as is. During this time I wasn’t relatable I was an awkward mess. I wouldn’t have wanted to know me then either. The funny thing is I really thought I was putting on this brave face and no one knew my pain. At a recent luncheon I was talking with a woman who made a comment about how sad I was last year and I was shocked to learn I was hiding nothing! My original entry:
I always had a hard time making friends. I am shy and tend to blend into my surroundings. My shyness can come across as aloof and tends to keep people at a distance. It was no different here. I honestly thought when I moved here I would just immediately have a friend base because we were all expats living in the Netherlands, right? Not really. Each day I would go back and forth to school. This was the chance to see other mothers and make your impression. We started in February so there was no welcome get together for new students or parents. I had to use the small moments at school to make connections. I tried to make small talk but realized that was not my forte.
Apparently there are codes for expats – what to say and what not to say. I did not know this and basically said everything you could possibly say wrong. I slowly learned and came up with some safe standard topics. I continued to try to connect at school but it was becoming increasingly awkward. One day my daughter begged me to talk to another mom. She said all the other moms talk to each other but me. I was crushed. My depression wasn’t just hurting me it was hurting my daughter.
I made coffee plans and lunch dates here and there and I kept making efforts at school. At one lunch date the woman asked me what I did all day to keep my self busy and I felt the need to lie and say I was super busy and hitting museums and being so cultural. I could not possibly be honest and say well, I am holed up in my apartment depressed and thinking of ways to avoid people. After the lunch, I was thinking about her question and got very upset. How dare she ask me what I did all day, she’s the same as me – a stay at home mom to kids who are not home. What does she do all day?
I eventually stopped trying to make plans. I hated going to pick up at school, I felt like I had a giant neon arrow pointing at me saying “lonely lady, please be my friend.” I kept to myself and hustled my daughter out of school quickly. I could not wait for the end of the school year.
I will admit I’m embarrassed to have people read this entry but I did say I would always be honest. When I read this now I cringe at how sad, lonely and depressed I was. I am saddened by what I did and how I acted during that time. The truth is I was just so scared. There was a lot of stuff inside me I wasn’t ready to deal with and I knew I was about to lay it all out on the table. I knew I was about to dive off a big cliff. There are only so many places to hide at some point you have to turn around and face your enemy.
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