Tag Archives: me

Alone in a crowd


So, I’m back! I went home for the weekend, or at least, back to Belgium. We have this circle of friends with which we get out for the weekend twice a year, and it seemed fun to go back especially for the occasion, even though I had only been away for 3 weeks. In addition, it gave me the chance to pick up some much-missed stuff I hadn’t been able to bring on first arriving (my cycle bags! my thick pillow!!). So it should’ve been an all happy so-glad-to-see-you-all-again kind of weekend.

It wasn’t.

I have no idea what went wrong exactly, and where, but I felt so much out of place.
Who were these people?
What was I supposed to do?
What was I supposed to say to them, anyway?

I have known most of them for 10 years or more, they are some of my longest lasting friends. If I can’t be at ease around them, when can I?

Maybe I set my expectations too high. Maybe I was actually having fun and it was the thought of having to return to my solitary confinement that brought me down. Maybe it was weird being surrounded by people again after almost 3 weeks of isolation. Granted, I’ve been out with my colleagues once, I’ve had the dance course and stuff, but still, I’m alone most of the time. Maybe it was just hormones. Maybe it was a combination of all of these things. Whichever it was, I felt flooded by a ton of emotions, but happiness wasn’t one of them. Which only resulted in feeling guilty for not feeling happy and I cried my eyes out with T about it. It’s a horrible feeling not to be at ease around your friends.

It got better later on the weekend – we did this high rope course (which I LOVE to do) on Saturday and the whole team building experience made me feel more at home – but as I had to leave early on Sunday I couldn’t really enjoy it much, and the coming home alone didn’t exactly help to lift my spirits again.

I expected this to be a life-changing experience. In fact, I counted on it being a life-changing experience. But somehow I assumed it would be the kind of experience you look back onto and say: now thàt changed me.
I didn’t expect to feel it so soon, so physically, so PRESENT in my daily life.

I guess lesson 1 has been taught.



While I just put in the first Swedish laundry of the year (isn’t it comforting how you know that, no matter how adventurous you’re trying to be, laundry will ALWAYS be there?) I’m reminiscing something Jeremy of Make Wealth History pointed out yesterday: “It’s easy for us to surround ourselves with voices that we agree with, filling our bookmarks and RSS readers with “all the news you choose”.”.
While in itself this statement could easily inspire a few truly philosophical posts, I would like to take it a step further, or better : a step closer to me.

I think you automatically surround yourself with people who have a more or less similar view on life. You will have similar opinions as your family since, well, you grew up with them, and you will choose your friends because you can relate to each other, because you feel you have something in common (I know this is not written in stone – I also have a… let’s call it… a slight disagreement… with my mother on the partner choice I’ve made). The – huge – mistake I make here is that I suppose that, if I agree with someone on one issue, they will undoubtedly agree with me on everything else also. We’re friends, right?

On several occasions, T has pointed out to me how the generalizations and assumptions I make often have no other base than “because I feel/see/think/know/… that it is such and so”. Any toes that don’t look like mine I consider “funny”, anyone who doesn’t share my love for cats (both the musical and the animal) is “weird”, and whoever has had higher education but still feels skeptical about climate change/has a different view on politics/doesn’t want to vaccinate their kids/… surely must have lost their minds (those who haven’t got a degree are forgiven because “they don’t know any better”). And while I knów – not even in the back of my head or somewhere in my perfectly normally shaped little toe, I am fully and consciously aware – that it is utter bull, I cannot help it: I compare the whole world to me, to what I experience as being “normal” and to what I know, feel, see, and smell. Unsurprisingly, I find this to be perfectly normal and I cannot understand T doesn’t do this. If I am to have an opinion about something, I can only draw from my own experiences to do so, right?

The issue is – it doesn’t stop there. I don’t only observe and conclude, I also judge. I will not say: “Your toes are different from mine.”, I will say: “You have funny toes because they are different from mine.”. It is a subtle difference which may or may not be disturbing if you’re discussing toe shapes, but it gets worse if you criticize a friend (behind her back, mind you) for deciding to be a stay-at-home-mum.

See those little feet? They have 'funny' toes.

So lately I have been trying to be more… accepting? Accepting that other people may reach different conclusions based on the same premises, that I cannot possibly know all the reasons underlying their decisions, that people are simply different and – most importantly – that no value should be attributed to that. People aren’t “bad” for not installing solar panels despite having the financial means. Conversely, they don’t become “better” when they do. I should not forget that.

Two sides of the same coin


Last weekend, I went visiting a friend of mine who had given birth recently to a beautiful baby-boy. At least, that was the intention, for it turned out many of my friends had gathered for a surprise good-bye party. Which was… great! I mean, I’ve always wanted to have people throw me a surprise party : it seemed so cool to have people organise something for me. Apart from having a fun party for which I wouldn’t have to do a thing (more on the contrarary, if I would be helping out, there would hardly be a point in it being a surprise party), the idea of my friends going through all that effort and secrecy just for me to have a good time really gives a boost. And once I got over the first shock it was just amazing (though frustrating cause you kinda wanna talk to everybody but obviously that is just impossible), but I must say, if you expect a baby and instead you get bunch of smiling friends and a camera in your face – it leaves you baffled. And happy ;).

But. There’s always a but. Because when you get home, thinking of “your” evening, of all these people, at that very moment it strikes you. Why those people were there. Why they went through all that trouble and secrecy. Not because I’m such a wonderful person who deserves a surprise party now and then (which I obviously do), but because I’m leaving. It was a goodbye party. I won’t be seeing most of these people again for a year, maybe even two years. It is not like the decision has been made there and then, that I would be leaving, that decision has long been made. But I feel like I only realise it now, like only now I FEEL what I’m about to do: leave my friends, family, partner, cat, house, … behind for a considerate amount of time and start a new project on my own. And it’s damn scary.