“I wish I could run away & just start again”.
You’ve seen this status on Facebook. If you haven’t, count your blessings because I see it OFTEN. I’m not afraid to place actual, real life money (which I don’t have much of) on the fact that these people probably partied really, really hard the weekend before. But that’s beside the point & a whole other issue. These people are more than likely still living at home, although this is a huge generalisation that I can’t prove. I actually have done the proverbial “running away & starting it all over”, although it’s not so much running away dramatically & never looking back. It’s more like months of planning & a horrendous upheaval of absolutely everything you’ve ever known. It’s not a fairy tale… Actually, it can be fucking shit. That’s without an ounce of hyperbole, promise.
I moved from Victoria to Western Australia three years ago. I was completely naive & totally unafraid, which I am now thankful for. Sometimes cliches are the most apt of things to say. Ignorance is bliss. Moving to the other side of the country & thinking it will all be perfectly fine was the best head space to be in, because you probably wouldn’t do it if you were aware of how hard it was going to be.
I packed up my things (basically my bedroom. Packing up a bedroom versus packing up a whole house is A COMPLETELY DIFFERENT EXPERIENCE). I put my shit in my car. I put my car on a big ass truck. Then I put myself on a plane. Sitting on the window seat & watching Melbourne lose all its features & turning into nothing but a nondescript chunk of earth was heart-wrenching. I cried. I was sitting next to a woman with a baby who was screaming, totally ruining my Hollywood movie moment. Head turned, looking out the window & tears running down my cheeks. But seriously, the surge of emotion I felt leaving my place of birth ‘for good’ was one of the strongest things I have ever felt. Like anyone, my home is a place full of painful memories & experiences (LIFE). But it is also where my blood is, my friends are, & where my heart will ultimately always reside.
Then I got to Perth. The first thing I noticed was sand. Heaps of sand. Where is the dirt? Holy fuck, I have moved to the Sahara desert. I’m sorry, when is the next flight back to Melbourne? 10 hour wait? That’s fine, I will sit right here & wait for it. I happened to be moving over for the love of my life, & seeing him again was nothing short of fucking awesome. I was shaking with anticipation.
I moved into a house with people I had never met before, & hid in my bedroom for at least a couple of days. My own house felt strange to me. It wasn’t really mine, I didn’t know this place at all.
I had no car. I had none of the things that were in my car. I didn’t know where the supermarket was. I didn’t know where anything was. I knew no one but my boyfriend. I KNEW NOTHING. In movies, this is liberating & beautiful & adventurous. So gloriously romantic & free-spirited. In real life, this is extremely trying. All that shit about getting out of your comfort zone, that’s where the magic happens, blah blah blah… I was there & it wasn’t fun. I’m not a cryer. Anyone who knows me will know that I don’t get sad, I get angry. I CRIED DAILY. “Oh boo, pathetic woman, the hardest thing she has ever done is move. What a blessed life”. No, it’s not the hardest thing I have ever done. But YES, IT IS HARD. Life is not a fairy tale, & these things are never how they appear romanticised in your mind.
When you ‘start again’, it is also tempting to believe you can be whoever you want to be. Oh, how beautiful. A clean slate to work with. A chance to build the life you never had before. Mmm… Not likely. You are still you. You are still carrying the same emotional baggage that once plagued you. If anything, all the shit in your life is placed under a magnifying glass because you are so hypersensitive & missing everything you ever knew. Every time I had too many drinks, it ended up in “I want to go homeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee”, tears flowing, sometimes lying on the ground, fully reverted back to toddleresque forms of communication. Not very grown up or mature. I couldn’t help it. I yearned for everything that felt familiar. My mum. My grandparents. My friends. Those cliches are serving me well today, as you sure as shit don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone.
Very slowly, the crying would be every four days. Then every couple of weeks. Then one day it stopped altogether. Like a break up I guess. At first it hurts so bad while the synapses that have formed in your brain sit there familiar & unused. They fade though, & new ones are formed. That’s how it stops hurting so much. New pathways are formed, as you create something new. Eventually, you build a life around you again. Nothing like you envisioned. It’s sometimes shit. It’s sometimes beautiful. The same petty dramas, different location. You live not much differently to how you did before. Sometimes, home is all you want. Sometimes, your new home is all you need. You never stop loving everyone you left behind. Somehow you have enough love left to give the new people you meet. It’s not anything how you think it would be.
If you really do want to run away & start all over again, I wish you well. I hope you find strength when you need it, & comfort in strange places. I hope you find similar souls & create a life with no regret. It’s hard. Really, really hard. I’ll admit though, sometimes it works out.