Whenever I set my mind to something, I do my best to achieve it, and I can put myself in high pressure situations to make some things work.
This has brought me beneficial and satisfactory consequences, especially when it comes to survival in an unknown country, with different ways of behaviour, culture and language. In this sense, being self-demanding has especially helped me not to give up when the going gets tough.
Because not everything is paradise on this side of the world, especially when you are an immigrant.
Yes, it looks wonderful on social media, right? But reality often varies, and what looks wonderful takes effort and dedication.
When arriving in Australia basic things as making a phone call can become a difficult (even taking into account that I had a good English level).
Understanding things like the tax system, the banking system, or even ordering a coffee are quite a challenge at begginig. Imagine how hard it can be when it comes to work: you have to put aside your degree and sometimes your pride, and dedicate yourself to do things that you would never think you would do.
Getting established and finding a job that suits you and is challenging and takes time.
I know that only those who have gone through the experience of living abroad will understand (I have been there, so I congratulated all of them, specially those who English is not their first language).
In addition, doing everything by myself was particularly challenging, because as a good Latina I am very attached to my loved ones, and people who know me closely enough are aware of how much I love my family and friends and how emotionally dependent I am (or was).
But thanks to that courage, I have been away from my family, my friends and the world I knew for the last 3 years.
It has been an incredible and sometimes a scary experience.
Australia has proven to be a country full of opportunities, with gentle people and an indescribably friendly and relaxed way of life, which helps you to make this adventure in the unknown a beautiful challenge.
Although the pressure that I constantly put on to become the best version of me has led me to achieve great goals with work, fitness and also to feel accompanied by beautiful people by my side, that imposing self-demand has also made me experience anxiety.
Controlling my time, my weight and exercise, have a job that maximizes my potential and sometimes to attend to what others want, without thinking about what I want or need, anguished and exhausted me. One day my boyfriend invited me to a Brisbane, a city that I had never visited before, for a trip that he had to do for work, therefore, he was going to be busy six of the seven days that we were going to be there. I thought ... "Well, what am I going to do that is productive?" Because the idea of enjoying just doesn't make much sense to me ... How could I not work or do something productive all those days? That's when I thought that it was the best opportunity to take again -for the fourth time- that English test that has brought me so many headaches and serious anxiety problems. Because (it hurts a lot to confess) IELTS has been a nightmare. (IELTS is an academic English test that I must take to validate my degree as a Psychologist in Australia). I scheduled it for the fourth day we were going to be there. Perfect plan I thought; I am not in Sydney, there is no work or distractions. In 4 days I would be studying really hard and I was going to get the score I needed (quite high, by the way).
The first three days of intense study, in which I literally did not leave the hotel other than to buy a coffee (obviously take away, because I brought it back to study with) everything was going well ... But little by little I saw myself back into the hamster race, where my head struggled to stay upbeat and internalize high and complex content in no time. Even though the external visa pressure was not there anymore, I made an unnecessary demand to myself. Cigarette, anxiety and the impatience returned. Fighting my own cognition for not being able to memorize enough. Take pills to concentrate. Hate myself for not getting the required score on essays. The urge to cry. Not feeling enough. Become my greatest enemy.
On the third day the internet on my phone started to fail ... the company was having problems, as always (well, at the end of the day, I live on a large island / continent).
I know that many people don't believe in signs. I do.
Some call it Universe, Energies,
I call it God.
With a lot of pain, and a strange feeling of courage, I looked at myself in the mirror and asked myself ...
Why am I doing this to myself? Why the demand? Why am I giving myself so little time, when I can take the test in a couple of months? What is the need to run, if there is no more pressure than what I impose on myself?
And just like that, I dared to fail.
Accompanied by a strange feeling of courage, I changed the date of the test, opened the windows and gave myself permission not to be "productive" for a few days.
I dared to fail.
I gave myself permission to enjoy.
Take the pressure off.
To return to my "non-productive" passion of writing and doing it in my language.
To enjoy the moment and somehow reward me for the effort I have made.
To be with me, care for my soul and my effort.
To give myself permission to read, go for a walk ... take it easy.
And it was also an achievement.
Today meant giving myself a break from the race.
Take a breath and admire the landscape.
I did not give up and I will never do, because I recognize that my self-demand has given me great satisfactions, but I understood that sometimes time and peace of mind are also required to achieve dreams.