After my going away party and reading all of my friends' feelings about me and how proud they are of me, after listening to countless people call me gutsy, bold and strong (some people implying that I am pretty stupid), and after watching the surprised looks on people's faces when I tell them of my plans - I feel like I need to set some things straight.
First of all, I am scared shitless. That's right. You probably already knew that after reading yesterday's post, but, unless I have put you through the lovely task of calming me down during one of my many 'crazy times' (we'll call them), you don't know what's really going on. Maybe you don't want to know, but you are here for a reason, right?
There are so many reasons to be um... apprehensive about this trip, adventure, move, new job, change - whatever you want to call it. The obvious includes health, safety, missing people, challenge, all of which would happen if I moved to Detroit to teach English. Normal fears. Then there's the issue that where I am moving isn't Detroit. It's RUSSIA. So we add some distance. Also, I don't speak Russian, so we add a language barrier. For good measure, let's add in some political unrest, shall we? Good. Now we have our base. Gutsy/Ballsy, strong people can handle all of this. This is where my fears are believed to end. It's just not true.
I am a connector, an overshare -er, I thrive on intimacy with the people who are important to me. I am super sensitive and I think and think and overthink everything that happens around me. Don't think you can lie to me or subtly mock me or my friends, I can tell what you mean. I define myself BY these relationships. When it comes to loyalty or devotion or support...my people get everything. They deserve everything.
So. Nearly everything that means something to me is going to be 4560 miles away from where I am. Part of what defines me will be half way around the world. (ok, not true, I just did some research. At 42 degrees north, the earth is 18,000 miles around) While logic and emotion clearly don't coincide often, I logically know that it is possible and probable that I will forge these bonds in St. Petersburg. And then what?
Lets say I make some great friends. YAY! Now it's August 2009 - goodbye great friends! I could never see them again, I am heartbroken. I come back to Madison. I cannot expect to find the relationships that I left will be unscathed (thanks Alanis - its a good word). Now I have some weakened relationships in WI, and some fledgling relationships spread throughout the world. Does this put me in a better place then when I left? Nobody knows.
Luckily for you all, I am in a good, stable place tonight. I can hypothesize to the positive right now. There are some good things that can come out of this (lets hope so, or those people calling me stupid are totally right). I could make some really great friends in SP (YAY) and realize that I can maintain long distance friendships and not give them so much of me. I could come home with a relationship. I could come home and realize that my friendships don't needs as much TLC and energy and work as I thought. They could be stronger than I am giving them credit for. Most profoundly, I could realize that I don't need my relationships to define me. I can define myself.
At present, I am afraid of being alone forever. The very best outcome of this adventure would be me getting over that in some way. I need to learn to live for myself and trust myself. I am not there right now, but I think this might be the hardest and scariest lesson I am about to learn.