As I am

Dreams are a funny thing. When I was younger, I had an abundance of them. These days, I struggle to find even one to wish upon a star on.

As a child, I wanted to be a concert pianist. I love music and I would practice my piano for hours a day, with the hopes of performing one day with an orchestra. I took part in my church choir every year, and played the piano for them each week. I dreamed of a life where my 'job' would be doing something I love so much that it wouldn't feel like a job at all.

Somewhere along the way, my fears got the better of me. How many musicians make it out there in the great big world? Was I good enough? Talented enough? Eventually I went the safe route and did a double degree in Communications and Psychology instead. And as I studied, other dreams emerged. I wanted to work in a Production studio. I also wanted to work in a big corporation as an Organisational Consultant. Concurrently, I dreamed of being a therapist and working in a hospital environment to help other people. When I graduated, I dreamed of writing a book by the time I was 30. I wanted to open a bookstore ala You've Got Mail and be surrounded by books and words all day long.

My dreams and passions were many and it didn't matter that they often did not even relate to each other. The possibilities seemed endless. I was excited about life, about the future, about what I could achieve and the journey there.

After university, I ended up working with magazines, a job I didn't see myself in but ended up loving. I loved the traveling. I loved writing stories that thousands of people would read. I loved creating a product each month that would inspire others. I loved talking to people who did such interesting things from different industries and sharing their stories through my words.

But now. Now, I'm at a lost.

At first glance, I seem to be living a dream. I've been married for nearly ten years to a man who always puts his family first. I've had the experience of living in many different countries. I have two beautiful children. I am a SAHM who gets to spend all her time with her kids. Every now and then, I get to travel around beautiful Europe. I should be happy. It IS a dream. But the truth is, it's not mine.

Of all the dreams I've had growing up, this was never my vision. Sure, I wanted to get married and have kids some day. But I never really imagined this life. This existence. This particular town, or country. I never imagined that my days would be devoted to the care of little children that somedays feel like the most tedious and mundane, not to mention frustrating, work in the world. I never imagined having to parent a child with special needs. I thought I'd be able to get back to my own dreams one day, back to my passion and my love, but now I feel trapped. I feel like a hamster on a spinning wheel I can't get out of. Where all I can do is keep moving my legs until I fall off from complete exhaustion or defeat.

I was happy when we went back to Auckland in 2015, even though we were only there for a year. I felt like it was my chance to live again. I found work within months, and a few months before we left, I was even offered a job as editor for an established food industry magazine. I started doing yoga. I was getting fit and taking care of my body for the first time in five years. I spent a lot of time at the beach. I completed my Level 3 certification in Wine studies. There, I was capable, I was independent, I was confident. I had fun. We had good friends who loved and helped out with our kids. I didn't feel alone, even though much of my days were still spend by myself. I started loving life again. I started living again.

Then it was all taken away. We moved back here. And a year into my second time trying to build a life in Germany, I'm feeling lower than I've ever felt in any stage of my life. My husband told me kindly, that I've hit rock bottom, and I cannot disagree. The spark of hope that was building when we moved back to NZ has been all but extinguished.

I've always loved, and needed, to be on the go. I love traveling. I love the nightlife. I love events and theatre and dining out and jazz bars and wine tastings and the seaside. But now, I live in a small town in a small city where nothing happens. My life consists of playgrounds and parks, pick ups, drop offs and household chores. Cooking, cleaning, keeping the kids fed, keeping them happy. And no matter where I look, I can't seem to find a way for me to be me again. I know there are things I need to do to make life a little easier for me here. I need to be able to drive. I need to speak the language. And they're not things that happens over night. It is a slow process that could take years before I do both comfortably. And with my current state of mind, it feels like hard work on top of hard work. I can't seem to summon up any excitement or motivation to do what needs doing. I feel like I'm drowning in fear, in darkness, that this is it for me - this small town and this invisibility and constantly feeling like a shadow of a person - and I can't see any light ahead.

I'm told I have to accept this. And a part of me has. But it's an acceptance that feels like I've been beaten into submission. An acceptance that feels very much like defeat. And even while I'm struggling to go with the flow, to stop dreaming of a different life, another voice inside me asks, am I suppose to accept a life that is not made out of my dreams? Or do I do everything in my power to change it, even if it means putting myself first.

I know deep down inside that the constant pull and tug in my heart has no answers. And at the end of the day, I know I'm not quite selfish enough to put my needs first. My family will always be my priority. What's best for my children will always come first. And so I try to bury all my feelings of rage and frustrations, loneliness and defeat deep inside me and keep putting one foot forward. I wake up and I go through my day, and just like that another day passes. It's an existence, and one that I can't really complain or be ungrateful for.

But every now and then, I cry for the little girl inside who dreamed of life in a big city. I cry for the little girl who had big dreams and lived her life singing her heart out without being afraid of who was listening. I cry for the girl who never quite got to see her dreams come true.

I cry, because as much as I love my family, I feel like I'm dying a little every day.

I cry, because I need God to hear me.

Comments

  1. I don't think you should give up on your dreams. What is good for you is also good for family. If you aren't happy then the whole family suffers. Maybe if New Zealand didn't work there will be another option, maybe a different city in Germany or a different country? Don't give up, whatever you do. This is dark time and it will pass. Personally when we lived in Brandenburg is was a very dark time for me. I really hated living there and I struggled hard. Germany is a difficult country to integrate and while it might be a good place for children and stay at home moms, I don't think the culture supports women at all. I know that you will eventually find a creative and intellectual outlet. Never give up though.

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  2. Hello! After a while I've read your posts again. It is difficult...true and I relate to some of it what you describe so well (you are a talented writer), the part of dwelling on who you love been/really are and the career prospects you've had... Well, if you're to stay in Germany and make your career eventually,you really need to start take action now. Like the previous commentator says,regarding women status in Germany..this country has a good amount of hidden male chauvinism, all layers of society. And you have to beat it by showing that while you're a SAHM, you've accomplished stuff for yourself. What helped me was: learning German in evenings while husband took care of kids, I also took the driving lessons, and I asked for help my neighbors, and I forced myself to speak with other parents , yeah, a broken German at kindergarten. Germans, especially the elderly ones, are often so lonely and bored they immediately agree to babysit. Not all of this might be helpful to you guys. But try:) Mara

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