The “Turning 27” Blues

I’ve been meaning to write something like this for ages, I’ve just not really been able to put much into words – which is hilarious, considering the last few months I’ve actually been writing SO much (just not the type of personal things I’d broadcast over here). 

It’s been, like it has for everyone else, a pretty crazy few months for me since I came home, got stuck and realised COVID had ruined my plans as much as it has for everyone else. 

I spent the first month okay, then I had what I can only call a depressive episode and started becoming convinced of thoughts that I guess rationally speaking, just aren’t true. The cruel reality of mental illness, is you absolutely cannot see through what you’re convincing yourself of. You can be surrounded in a room full of people, declaring their love to you, and all you can think of is “but you’re lying, you wouldn’t care whether I was here or not”. It is that BATTLE of trying to think clearly, to remember what is the truth and what is not, that pulls you into a cloud of misery, self doubt and confusion and a tiredness like no other, so that it is better to stay in bed rather than try and function in a world that seems scary and dark.

And so began my first month of isolation. My mum forced me to speak to the doctor, I spoke to a psychiatrist and then finally thought I just cannot take this anymore. I spent 1.5 years travelling, realising my deepest and darkest insecurities and returning in the knowledge I wanted to speak them through, with a person who understood once and for all, and yet when D-Day came, I just couldn’t bear the thought of finding a therapist. It is INCREDIBLE how easy it seems to be able to talk, and feel and overcome when you’re away VS when you come back to what you know, the bubble you live in and therefore resort to old habits and old ways of thinking. I find the contrast between what how I’m so open with my writing VS how closed I feel when it comes to making sense of those words aloud hilarious in the sense that it is just IMPOSSIBLE – but I’m keeping with it. I spoke to four different people, settled on someone I felt safe with and which coincided nicely with some twat in Argentina dumping me over a text message – which was just charming – and it’s going well so far.

Hold the phone son, did you say someone dumped you? Did you even HAVE someone? Well, yeah I did. But, unfortunately, as per what seemingly seems to be my type in men, I tend to gravitate to those that will eventually just get rid of me, as quickly and as easily as if they just flicked a bit of ear wax to the floor. I’ve had a few flings during my travels, as we all do, but one didn’t even want to consider a long distance relationship – despite the fact he lives in Europe, not Africa – and the other, aka the Argentinian. This trashbag wanted us to be together, didn’t stop messaging me when I tried to end it after he flew home, didn’t respect MY boundaries and continued until I gave in, booked tickets to see him, got those cancelled because of COVID, remained lovely, and friendly wishing me a good morning before proceeding to text me out of the blue ending everything, to follow his own path, and refused to even call me. After 8 months, I was worth some texts and told to “respect my decision” – after he refused to respect MY decision four months prior and bombarded me with messages, when I PHONED him to say travelling and keeping this relationship going proved too difficult. So, after an immature, little Latino boy decided to call the shots and refuse to give me any closure, I had to recentre myself, my life choices and remind myself what the hell I was doing. I figured that I had put so much emphasis on visiting this Latino prick, that I hadn’t been focusing on me, or my career or path itself. The only thing that was improving was my Spanish – everything else? Going to shit. I’m blessed to have some incredible friends around me carrying me on their shoulders through the woe of heartbreak,b but boy does your self esteem take a thumping when someone takes control and treats you like you don’t matter. It takes a while before you can stand tall and scream “ I DESERVE BETTER” but I eventually did it and I can see my worth stronger than ever. I don’t want someone who can’t communicate, who’s clearly so stupid he’s not on any emotional level and also, a liar. My mum and my best friends reminded me that had I had gone ahead and taken these flights to Argentina, I could have flown back to Australia and got dumped there which would have been ten times worse. So anyway, slowly, slowly, I’ve been gathering myself up and I’ve been doing well since.

Now the important stuff. I turned 27 a few weeks ago. 27. I don’t know about you, but for me, this is a PRETTY BIG DEAL. The positives of suddenly feeling I should be a responsible adult? I pushed forward. I started writing and writing, more seriously. I started contacting journalists and writers for advice, I volunteered my writing skills for free to build up my portfolio, and now have a paying client too which is great! My therapist has been fantastic so far, and for the first time, I’m starting to focus very much on ME, what I want and what I deserve and that is a wonderful feeling.

The negatives of feeling like a responsible adult – not feeling like I’m one at all and feeling like I’m not even there yet. There are things that I’ve noticed aren’t going so well, and it’s hard to just ignore them. For one, my issues at home, stemming from feeling guilty that I can’t save my Dad from his MS seem to have got worse. It’s understandable I suppose, we’re in the height of a pandemic that is never fricking ending, but I don’t think it’s just that. Deep down, I wanted to come back to a cure. I believed, whether consciously OR unconsciously that he’d be better, he’d be walking, he’d a billion things that he WON’T ever be and that pierces my heart every day like a dagger. I feel guilty for living my life, in a way that he now can’t. I feel bad for my mum. I feel bad saying everything is going to be okay, when I don’t know if anything will ever truly be okay.

I feel lonely. I think coming home from travels and being unexpectedly stuck here is never going to be easy. Had life worked out the way it should have, I would have flown back from Australia to England via The Netherlands and had a great time with my friends. I would have visited my family for a month, flown to Argentina to meet someone I thought was lovely and legitimate and not an absolute twunt, and then flown off to Australia, ready for a sunny, new life. Instead I flew home, after having to change my flight twice in The Netherlands with restaurants and bars being shut. I came home not being able to visit my Grandma, to feeling shit scared about this virus affecting my family, to having cancelled flights to Argentina, being dumped by someone who told me he loved me without even so much as a three minute call, and having to move my flights to next year when my visa would have expired. I’ve also come home to a bubble that I never truly felt part of. I love my friends dearly, they are everything to me and more, but it’s been very hard to not walk the comparison route and compare my life to theirs. I know fully well I’ve had a life changing experience travelling from one continent to the other, solo. I’ve learnt new languages, created lasting and meaningful friendships with people from the other side of the world, and created my OWN history, with every footstep I’ve taken in another country. I’ve learnt History, through my own eyes. I’ve tasted culinary foods like no other and I’ve loved and lost the hardest. Yet, I come home, and I wonder if I’ve done it right. I look at friends moving into houses, renting or buying, with steady jobs, an income, boyfriends, getting engaged, planning life together with someone and I question where my path is. Is it still there?

Maybe my path is still there, but perhaps it’s just a bit covered by weeds that need to be cut down. Or maybe I’m a little lost, and it’s actually shining brightly, just out of my eyeline. I’m not sure, but instead of letting things affect me, I’m going to roll with it and see what happens. I’m planning to take a weekend off for some “me” time, and I’m looking forward to it. I’ll be able to hike, read, get up for sunrise, practise yoga, and scream Whitney in the shower by myself and that always makes me feel awesome. Until next time people.

Em x

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