by Fumiyo Egashira, Japan
For a long time, being a foreigner was a great excuse for me not to be fully present and accountable in life.
When I first moved to the UK I didn’t speak the language. It seemed like people quickly judged that there’s not much point trying to engage with me. Whenever I didn’t understand something, instead of asking questions I just grinned – trying to appear harmless and friendly.
Soon I realized that many people were treating me as half a person who wouldn’t speak up for myself. This was very annoying – however when I was not fully showing up in life, taking responsibility, what could I expect?
Looking obviously foreign – different skin colour, facial feature, contributed to this effect – even after I became more comfortable with the language.
After several years I figured out that I could use the same excuse whenever I went back home. After all I was no longer living there. I was an outsider. ‘I don’t belong here’ suited me everywhere I went. I acted as if I didn’t have to know about life and I didn’t have to engage in it. I was just visiting.
This was a very comfortable situation I created for myself to keep myself away from serious commitment in life.
Opportunities kept arising and kept me entertained and busy. This made me feel as if things were working out for me. However, there was always a sense of things being on a temporary basis. I did hope every new job, every new relationship would make it different, more solid. But the jobs remained transient no matter how long I stayed in them and relationships were never about relating but more about attachment and obsession, which kept breaking my heart.
I kept making changes – where to live, what to do for a living etc. Sure they gave me different flavours to daily life, but I could not deny that I was not where I wanted to be in my life. I wanted to be someone, somewhere (else). But me right there, right at that moment, was not available, comfortably castrated in hiding, twiddling my thumbs, killing time waiting for the day I would die.
That was until I realized that EVERYTHING I did, including my initial move abroad, and perhaps my life previous up to that moment, was about saying ‘No, I don’t want to be here’.
Every ‘change’ I made from then on was propelled out of the same energy of pushing life away. No wonder I was so exhausted.
So, what if I stopped doing that?
As soon as I said that to myself, I felt a resounding “Yes, PLEEEEEEEEEEZE” in my body. That felt good. That was last year. After 25 years. I am just glad it wasn’t 30 years.
Now, I am back where I came from. Slowly re-building my foundation. My mother doesn’t feel like the woman I refused to believe was my own mother all those years ago. It feels like it was all about claiming my right-full place.
A lot more unfolding to come.