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I guess this was expected. Moving to another country, knowing no one, being alone and lonely. But, I never thought it would feel like this. You know, when I lived in Montreal I was a bit lonely but that was self-inflicted, I didn't want to go out much but, here, in Madrid, I do want to go out and live but, making friends has been my biggest challenge as of yet. I just don't fit in with these people...
I mean, yeah, okay, I've met some cool people at work but even with them, I don't fit in. They all speak their language and I clearly don't understand anything so I just sit there like an idiot wondering why I even came out with them... I'm with a smile on my face waiting for someone to realize that I'm there and that I don't understand. Its unbearable. Frankly, it's frustrating and annoying and I obviously can't learn five languages to understand everyone.
So, what do I do? I revert to my good ol' ways and hide in my room and binge watch Criminal Minds and write. Sounds fun for a while, but then your mind gets the best of you and you begin to wonder if there is something wrong with you and ask yourself why don't people want to be my friend.
"Why don't people want to be my friend?"
I'm 28 years old, I shouldn't be asking myself questions which are an existential crisis to a 6-year-old.
If they don't want to be my friend, well, fuck em!—I tell myself.
I go back to work and try to fit in. This is a true story. When I moved here, in Madrid, I realized that all, and I mean, ALL the girls would dress very nice, makeup done every day, high heels, hair done to the nines, and I was regular Anik, wearing black and white, not really doing my makeup, hiding behind sunglasses and wearing old sneakers I brought over from Canada. I then started to think to myself, "Shit, maybe if I want to make friends, I need to look like them." Now, if you know me, I've never been one to EVER change for anyone (ask my parents, we've tried to fight this battle and lost terribly) but here, I was so far away from everything I knew, I was lonely and scared and frankly, I was lost. My whole world had shifted. So, I went out and bought colourful clothes. Pants with flowers on them, lose cool pants and nice shoes and colourful tops to match everything. I started waking up early to fix hair nicely and do my makeup everything (lipstick included) and, after a few months, it wasn't working. These people never noticed me. I got frustrated but kept trying. And trying. And trying. And trying. Until one day, while walking on a busy sidewalk after a tiring walk around the city with my boyfriend, it clicked.
If they don't like me, then they don't deserve to be my friend!!
And as much as that sounds like a 10-year-old shouting in a rage, it's an extremely important thought that we must all retain.
I had spent four months trying to impress people that didn't even notice I existed. People that, on a good day, couldn't even manage to say "good morning" to me or even a quiet "bye" when they left the office. That didn't even make an effort to speak to me in a language that I understood. That couldn't even say thank you when I held the door for them or offer me, sweets when they were offering them to everyone else around me.
I looked at my boyfriend and said, Nah, fuck that. I'm going to buy some Doc Martens and returning to my old self. The Anik that I used to be in Canada. The girl that didn't care what people thought of her and did what she wanted, when she wanted, and on no one else's watch but her own.
And I did just that.
I bought some Doc Martens.
Once I got home, I was pumped. I was fueled. My blood was racing in my veins. I was so pumped that I destroyed ALL my colourful clothes. I cut them up and stretched them out and threw all of the bits and pieces in the trash.
The relief of the pressure was so big that it felt like finally opening the bottle of champagne after violently shaking it.
At that moment, I realized that I didn't need to change my clothes or my hair or makeup to impress anyone. I felt like I was living in a clown suit for four months. I didn't even know who I was anymore. I was trying so damn hard to impress people that I should of never, ever wasted my time on.
The next week at work, I wore my black boots, my black pants and my black t-shirt, the red lipstick and my hair up, tattoos showing and I thought, this is me. This is who I am and there's no one else or anything else that I'd rather look like right now, then THIS!
I felt at ease, I felt comfortable and it dawned on me that it didn't matter if these people liked me or not. The only thing that mattered is if I was happy with myself and, I was (still am). Sitting in my chair at my desk, my pants weren't too tight, I wasn't wondering if I looked fat or not or if anyone would notice the extra time I spent on my hair... I just sat there, listening to heavy metal and didn't bother myself with anyone's thoughts of concerns but my own.
So, moral of the story, NEVER change to impress people. No one cares and no one notices. Be your weird self and people will flock to you. The right people will always find you. Always.