I caught you up until Monday, but now it is already Friday.

It’s so hard.

It’s hard because, I have realized, C’s mom changes her mind every five minutes and for someone with issues around separation, this is torture. I don’t know when C is leaving to go to her village. I don’t know whether C is coming back for results day on the 18th or not. I don’t know if C will be allowed to stay here next year. The plan is one thing for a day or two and something else after that. I don’t think it’s deliberately intended to keep everyone in emotional uproar. Her mom just doesn’t think how this affects other people.

It highlights for me that C’s mom really has very little compassion. C’s life has been like this for 13 years, where she never knew what to expect or what to count on. Usually, it is not over such big things. But her life is full of small disappointments. I think my childhood was like that too. I didn’t know whether to get excited about going to the zoo or not, or whether to think I would have a birthday party. Part of the difficulty there is not just that life is full of disappointments, but that no one helps you through them. There is no compassion when changing plans is painful or upsetting for the child. So C, and I, have struggled with our disappointments alone.

It’s hard because too many things are hitting me at once. I can’t keep up.

It seems like integration is a major part of this. I am starting to experience life as an integrated person. On a day-to-day basis this means I experience a lot more of life in “real-time.” I am not a person who hasn’t been traumatized. I am someone who can stay present enough to be aware of how the trauma is affecting me throughout the day. I have triggers, but I am aware of them and processing the trauma connected to them in the moment, or at least somewhat in the moment.

It’s a different way to go through life, but it’s also a very different way to go through life than what I anticipated. I didn’t know being integrated meant I would have to deal with shit every second. It may not always be like that, but it’s how it is now, and it’s just a huge change. I mean, I used to have some awareness of it, but there was a lot less of it, and then this enormous unpacking process once I got home. There is still a huge unpacking process, but interacting with life in between is just so much fast-paced.

Then I think I am also starting to have an integrated personality, and I don’t quite know what it is yet. I can’t even tell you what it is like to be in a place where I wonder every second who am I going to be? Also, to find that the person that is emerging is completely unexpected. Not illogical, but unexpected. The things I am doing now all seem to be connected very deeply to who I am and to my authentic self. But I can’t even articulate what that is. I think it might always be like this for anyone integrating—experiencing life authentically might never be what you anticipate it will be like. But I am in Country X. I think I don’t want to go back to my own country. I think I have absolutely zero interest in living there again. I think I really like living here.

I am also a non-custodial parent to a child I’ve only had a close relationship with for six months. Whom I never intended to be so deeply involved with.

It seems like being “me” is going to be really hard. I can’t seem to want to do easy things. I keep wanting to do near-impossible things. It would be so much simpler if I just wanted to go back to the US and teach maths again. It would be so much simpler if I thought maybe I want a girlfriend, or I want to adopt a child that is actually an orphan, instead of struggling to support a child who already has two parents.

It is hard to believe that following my own path isn’t just a doomed endeavor, and yet what I keep thinking is that it was never doomed before. My life has always been impossible. It was impossible for me to survive the things I survived. I did. Perhaps I can sort out how to live the life I want without screwing myself over now, in the present, also.

I can’t believe I have the feelings I have maybe at all. I kept waking up in the night crying, because I was dreaming C was with her dad in another state. I know that it is all intensified from having been separated from all the other girls I loved, but I really feel that way. It is real information. I don’t want to be away from her. I want her to be with me. I want that a lot.

But I can’t believe it. I can’t believe this is me.

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