Expat diaries: Den Den reports from Heidiland, Part 3

Posted on November 26, 2010


3) Bruises, from October 2009


It was totally unexpected, almost shocking.
I had just walked from the kitchen back into the bedroom where my laptop was, and, as is normal for any obsessive compulsive with a decent reputation, I had checked my email for the umpteenth time that day. And there it was, that so long awaited email entitled ‘re: inquiry about job vacancies.’ I had already contacted that particular school two weeks before, and I had been told by the director of studies herself that she wanted to meet me but would be on holiday for the next two weeks. She had then told me she would contact me when she got back. Three weeks later, I hadn’t heard from her again. Deciding to take matters into my own hands, I emailed, asking whether she was still interested in an interview.
I waited.
Then, on that otherwise uneventful Tuesday evening, when I was least expecting it, I found that email. ‘Yes Ms. Pulis. We are still interested in meeting you. Would you be able to come on Thursday or Friday this week?’ So soon? I thought. And then I froze. More specifically, I froze my feelings that very instant, because I was taken aback. What was it that I was experiencing at that point in time? Could it be true? Was it discomfort, fear, anxiety, and most disturbingly, reluctance to accept? Yes it was. It was mixed with the thrill of having got my first interview but, it was unmistakingly there.
Yes, I was dreading the interview, but was at the same time ecstatic about it. Then I looked back into my past, and I realised that history was simply repeating itself. I have always been scared shitless (excuse the language) of all things new, but I pursued them as relentlessly and stubbornly as a real trooper. The truth is I could not live without a change of scene every now and then, but hated it profoundly when the time came to do it, and hated myself and my life even more profoundly if I was not able to get the change I desired.
The people who know me best have often told me that I have a split personality, that while I looked brave and confident on the outside, I was nothing of the sort in truth. Or was I? I was simply foolish enough to do things even when they scared me, because I knew, deep inside, that a greater good would result by taking a leap.
But why is it? Maybe it is because I come from a tiny place, unknown to most people around the world. Maybe it’s because the world I have had so far was so, so small, and I refuse to accept that that is all I deserve. Maybe it’s because this tiny little body, which bruises easily, isn’t much good for intensive exercise and gets sick far too often, will not accept that it can’t be otherwise, that it can’t be stronger and achieve better things for itself.
It’s ambition, the ambition of a woman who has nothing to lose because, to begin with, she has very little.
Putting on my trooper face, I did, of course, confirm the interview, and I was sure that nothing of my fragility would transpire during it. I had learnt through time and various similarly stressful social situations to be a good actress, and in successfully convincing others of my confidence, also to successfully auto-convince myself of it as well. In that case, the end justifies the means.
What I have learnt through time is that a body may bruise and get sick, be tired and out of shape, and a soul may be scared shitless of change and reluctant to embrace it even when it most desires it, but if the mind is strong enough, it can convince you that your weaknesses are not really there and that you’re a different person. And to be frank, if all those weaknesses really are there, they cannot be seen by others unless you allow them to, and there is often no such need.
Then there are, of course, those handful of people towards whom you don’t act, and who love you, just the way you are, (even if you (metaphorically) wet your pants just at the simple thought of change) and to whom you complain regularly about knees, shins and thighs, bruised after clumsy hits against cupboards, tables and beds.

-Text and Photography by Denise Pulis @ www.travelwithdenden.wordpress.com