So. I fought my way out of my last episode with depression and it feels really good to be level again. I wrote a letter to my ex to get out my head and sent it to her. Most expensive closure I’ve ever gotten. £50 to post a bloody letter! The joys of living somewhere where there isn’t a postal service. It’s weird the things you take for granted and miss the most when you are an expat! Anyway. I sent that and got out what I needed to. Has she read it? I have no idea; but that wasn’t the point. I just wanted to apologise and close the door, which I never had the chance to do. Luckily and surprisingly after a day or two, I stopped even wondering if she’d actually read it.
In the aftermath of feeling somewhat normal again I started thinking – what do you need to do to cope better? Therapy was my saving grace. I know the journey is long but it put me on the right path and made me open up and actually understand myself. It is a skill I really really needed. Even this last time I became depressed, I was able to focus, understand the emotion and work backwards to better understand where it may be coming from. I’m so pleased I can now do that. Looking backwards is exhausting though. I love that I now understand why I got to where I did; I just really want to draw the line in that and understand how to cope with it and move forward. It almost feels like constantly looking backwards becomes self-indulgent.
How do you do that though? Maybe I need to try a new type of therapy. I’m honestly just a bit worried about not being able to be totally open here in the UAE. I know you have confidentiality but I do live somewhere where it is illegal to be gay! I know these feelings won’t ever totally go away, I just want to be able to change my thought pattern quicker or know how to replace a feeling with something else. Like when I know I’m being ridiculous and eating too much crap, I’ll throw the pizza I can’t finish in the bin so I don’t eat it later – wasteful I know but don’t hate me. Can I essentially do something like that with my emotions. Ha. That is the worst analogy ever but you get me, I think
Please, help me people. Suggestions are always welcome.
I’m not even going to start with my usual line of not writing for ages and making sure I write more. I hope that will happen but history has taught me not to make false promises to myself. But as per, I’m currently in my feelings and the way I best deal with that is by writing here.
I guess one thing I want to start by saying is I am noting some positives in my current depressive episode. I am still able to appreciate the beauty of living in Dubai and I am still able to see the steps I have made since I started this blog. I am coping better. But I had a pretty dark day yesterday and I needed to get the thoughts out of my head before they consumed me further – so here we go.
I won’t go into the triggers of how I spiralled and fell into this current state. But if you’ve read my blogs before you’ll be aware that it usually involves women. Again, that is correct. At least this time it wasn’t a new fleeting romance, it was seeing someone who meant so much to me in the past.
What has been really hard for me to fight through this time is the idea that it gets better. I wouldn’t ever harm myself and don’t really have thoughts of ever self harming. But during periods like this I do have thoughts of ending things. I’ll think, ‘wouldn’t it be easier if I had a car crash right now and all the pain and the thoughts just went away.’ I hate having those thoughts but they are there when I feel like this. What used to help me through was that feeling that I know eventually I will get through this patch and will get level and go back to feeling like me. This is still true and I am grateful for that hope. I had the stark realisation this time though that indeed it gets better, but there is no magical cure for depression so inevitably, it will get worse again. My life will most likely be this constant yoyo of it feeling worse, then it getting better. That isn’t a fun thought.
This realisation has been helpful in some ways. Knowing that I can’t magically become this version of me I want and actually I will have to work at it every day. Some days it will be good and some days it will be bad. It’s such a bitch but at least I’ve now accepted it.
Anyway. A bit of a brain dump but just something I really needed to get off my chest today.
So, for a long time I have had this things about wanting to be friends with people I have dated or been with. I guess I had cared about them at some point, so I felt like I didn’t just want to throw that away. Being down these past few weeks and yet again having that manifest in feeling ugly and not worthy of love has made me think about my past, my relationships and why I feel this way. And man, I have felt some fire and realised I am better than that.
I mean there have been lots of girls and lots of failed relationships. As I’ve got older I haven’t remained friends with all of them. Jade and I seem like a dream now. I barely remember her as someone I dated. We don’t talk anymore and that is fine. I don’t need to talk to her, I just hope she is well and truly apologise for the part I played in our tumultuous relationship. Anna, well that is a different story. We don’t talk and I wish we did but that is because I wish we could give us a go again. So not talking is the better option. The ones I notice I pine over a lost friendship the most are the ones who treated me like crap. So now is my time to get off my chest what I will never be able to say to them.
Emma – you constantly made me feel like crap, like I was crazy for liking you. I get that you were in a sh*t place after having your heart broken but that doesn’t give you the right to mess with me and make me feel like I was just a piece of meat. And then to be a coward when you found someone new and let them talk badly about me and disrespect me when they don’t even know me. Grow some balls and defend me when you know full well I’m a good person who did nothing but like you, when you were single may I add. Why am I clambering for your approval or friendship? Why am I making myself feel awkward and uncomfortable in your presence? No more love. You were lucky to get with this and you would be incredibly lucky to have me in your life in any capacity. I’m tired of feeling less than around you so you have to go!
Kelly – well you are the sh*tter that finally broke the camels back eh. I guess I have to thank you for f*cking me up so bad that I completely fell apart. At least in that I sort the help I needed, got diagnosed and started on a path to better my mental health. But wow were you just not a nice person, to me at least. Going mia for weeks on end without a text, being pretty rude at times, keeping me dangling not knowing where I stand, telling me how much you liked being with me but that you were just f*cked up. I can’t blame you entirely. I should have had more self esteem and more self worth to not take that and to walk away. I guess a life time of feeling less than and being told that as a black woman I am not as beautiful made me feel lucky to get what I could. It still doesn’t excuse it. You can’t be that horrible to people you are with as you are now engaged to the girl you blatantly cheated on me with. Still I made excuses for you with my friends and even tried to extend an olive branch at first. What I realise though, is you don’t give a f*ck about me or how you treated me so I should no longer give a f*ck about wishing you happiness and love in your life.
OK – rant over. Now it really is time to let those girls go and all my past relationships. Not to forget what they meant at the time or how they have shaped me, but to let go of continually trying to please and be accepted by those women. I need to get rid of this idea that I am less than. I may not look like Paris Hilton and that may mean that many people don’t even see me. That sucks so bad but there is nothing I can do about that and by fixating on it, I start to dislike my blackness. I love my blackness and I am proud of it. Instead I need to love me and be happy with me and be happy when someone looks beyond the superficial and looks at me and treats me the way I deserve.
Whenever I think I’m making progress and I am overcoming the negativity, something always has to put me back in my place. I guess that is part of living with depression, it will most likely never totally go away. I know that but it doesn’t make it any better. I just need to keep holding onto the fact I know I am strong enough and that I will get through this latest episode, that at least I know what is going on now when I feel this way and that I shouldn’t be ashamed or angry at myself for feeling this way. Yes I may not have had a traumatic experience but it doesn’t mean I am wrong to feel low.
I’m writing this to try and get out of my head to try and understand what is really at the root of this feeling. I think what is at the heart of it is that feeling that I am failing again. Failing my family in this instance. My sister is having problems conceiving and I know it is impacting us all. My parents would love to be grandparents, I would love to be an aunt and my sister wants to be a mother. Not to make this about me, it isn’t, but I feel like a let down. Not because I’m gay – although it seems my parents have written off the idea that I could still give them grandkids, but that’s another issue for another day – but because at almost 31 I am nowhere near finding anyone to even think about the prospect of having kids. I feel like I have failed my family by not being in that position and I feel upset that it feels like I may never be because no one ever seems to want me.
It comes back to so much I discussed during therapy. The idea of being the perfect African child that has now become ingrained deep in me. Without the pressure from my parents I still feel that pressure myself. To have a partner, to have kids. I do want those things, not just because of the pressure of being the perfect daughter. But that biological clock in my head is screaming and there is nothing I can do. So again I regress back to those thoughts of not being good enough. Of not quite fitting in in an environment dominated by white people. Of my friends getting dates and getting chatted up and me not having anyone interested in me or being desired because to them as a black woman, I am just not as attractive. As ever, feeling like I will never find anyone becomes the final fixation of the negativity in my mind. It’s tiring, it is upsetting and it is painful for my self confidence.
I’m not saying this is fact, this is just my truth or shall I say, my perception of it.
Once one thing starts to go it all does. I love Dubai and I so want to stay here but work is rubbish at the moment and I really want to leave my job. My friends here are amazing and I am so blessed but feeling low has made me really miss the network of support I’d built at home. I know I will get over this and bounce back and every night I look out the window of my amazing apartment and feel blessed to have made this move. But right now, I feel like I just want to cry myself to sleep, yet am too numb to even let the tears flow.
So. I sit here writing this on my balcony, full view of the Burj Khalifa, cider in hand. You can kind of guess why this blog has the title it does.
My third month in Dubai has just finished and I can still say, this was definitely the right decision for me. I feel happy. Happy is maybe the wrong word. What I should say is that I feel content. I know some of you may be thinking, ‘Isn’t happiness better than feeling content though?’ I guess it may very well. The difference is for me anyway, in the past my happiness has been linked to the validation of others whereas to feel at peace; well that is all my doing. Nobody else here making me feel that way, I’ve made myself feel that way.
Life here is interesting and maybe it’s because I’m still living in a bubble but for now, I am glad with how life is going. I haven’t been stressing over the same things I did at home – money isn’t an issue, although I do need to get my arse into gear saving. I was so worried that I wouldn’t find my people and I place I fit in and I’ve found the most wonderful friends. I feel like I am going from strength to strength at work. Most importantly, I am recognising what I need and although it isn’t as often as I probably need, I have managed to take the me time my head needs to not get fuzzy.
For anyone contemplating moving to Dubai but worried about being gay or not being superficial or dressed like a Kardashian every time you go out, I can tell you don’t worry. Not saying the scene I’ve found may be easy (even if I feel right into it) but your kind of people are here. If you are struggling to find them, just hit me up.
So. Finally I am sitting down and writing about my first couple of months here in Dubai. It has been education to say the least. In a good way though. I can truly say – or at least I think I can but we’ll get to that – that I’m happy. Actually do you know what, we will get to the annoying negative inner workings of my head but regardless of that, I am really happy here.
I was a bit anxious moving out as I have talked about. I’m female, I’m black, I’m gay. There are quite a few things there that could go wrong in a place like this. I’m also very London. By that I mean I can go on a night out and still look like the bomb ass biatch I am, but I can do it in some funky gear and a pair of trainers. To me, Dubai was like the Kardashians and I just don’t fit into that crew. How wrong I was! Dubai has so much more depth than I expected. I have been incredibly lucky to immediately fall into this emerging arts scene, where I am meeting people like me. And there is just so much to do. Hip hop karaoke, spoken word nights, garage raves. I mean, Dubai I am giving you snaps all over the place. Just goes to show you should never judge a book by it’s glossy, superficial cover. Don’t get me wrong; all the glitz and glamour exists and I’ve done a few of those nights and they were hella fun. But there is a lot more to this place.
Settling was hard. I was in an apartment work put me in for the first month. It was lovely but it didn’t feel like home. Made me realise how much I crave a base and somewhere to call mine. I was also in the process of making friends so it was very isolating. What this did make me see though is how strong and defiant I can be. I went for meals on my own pretty much every night, I went to bars on my own and had a drink. I got on with it and made the most out of the situation and in time, I settled, I made friends and I started to feel OK. Reflecting I’m really proud of myself for that. Being billy no mates is hard and with the way my brain works it just made me miss Anna more than I should. I sucked it up though and I am the better for it.
I mentioned early that I feel happy. I really do. I still love London but I didn’t realise how much it stressed me out. It may have been the weather or just life itself and I may just be in the honeymoon stage of living in a new place. Regardless, right now I feel positive; I feel light. Well not actually light. I have become a fatty and I really need to sort that out. Who ate all the pies? That would be me. Setting that aside though, I feel good, I feel confident and most importantly I feel I like me. I’m not being so damn hard on myself all the time.
Me being me I can’t totally be free from the negative thoughts, but it is getting better. At the moment I’m doing this weird dance in my heading of deciding if I’m actually happy, or am I just trying to make myself believe I’m happy. How stupid right? It’s actually ridiculous and I’m annoyed at myself for how silly it is. But one step at a time. I can’t completely change myself in a day (or two years apparently). It isn’t consuming me though. The thought pops into my head when I’m having a moment. Of course I’ll have moments! I moved my life all on my own to a country where I could be arrested if I’m too me in public. I mean come on; of course I’ll have moments. It’s just learning how to see them through and knowing that I wake up every day smiling and don’t want to tear my hair out near as much; makes me see something is working out here. I just need to keep on this positive path and stay conscious to this amazing opportunity rather than becoming a passenger to my own life again. To phrase a mantra a friend gave me to help me through, ‘I’m not going to let my demons win today.’ I like that they are smaller demons now, but they still aren’t going to win.
So. This is the first blog I am writing from Dubai. I made the move and I struggled through the first couple of weeks and now am living life. It is a good life for sure. I feel way less stressed, I’m learning to be more quietly confident as I put myself into new situations. I may even be going to a club on my own over the weekend, which even for me – who does so many things on their own – is a big deal. I always say I need to be better with this blog and write more, so I promise over the weekend I will right a proper blog about life in the sand aka Dubai. But right now, as with always, I need to use this space to get out my feelings and clear my head.
For those of you who have read this blog before (potentially no one but I ain’t mad at that), you’ll remember last summer I was dating two girls. Well the one that was perfect on paper ended up becoming one of my best friends. The spark wasn’t there and as I have said before, we were always meant to be friends. Well she’s just moved to London and in the space of a month has met someone. And someone who is actually decent and not a mind f*ck.
Now first of all, I’m going to practice what I preach in my New Years posts. I’m going to reflect and recognise the positive. Normally in situations like this even though I am 100% no longer interested in the person, I’d feel a way. A little jealous, maybe a little hurt. I’m not sure but all I know is I don’t feel that way. I think it is awesome my friend has met someone and as long as she doesn’t turn into that person who ditches all her friends when in a relationship, I really hope things work out.
But why I needed to get my feelings out. I guess the news has left me slightly numb, a little sad and completely defeated. It’s no longer that I’m afraid I’ll end up alone or that I’m not good enough. It has been a journey but I’m really starting to value me. And for those reasons I’m actually not even searching for anyone right now. I’m just enjoying my new life in a new place.
I know, I know – then what is my problem! My problem is I don’t want to be the last single friend anymore. I don’t want to hang around with my friends and be the seventh wheel. The one they say ‘oh you still haven’t found anyone yet’ to. I’m no longer searching for mrs right but it would be nice if mrs right now found me for a minute and I could have a person. It sounds silly I know but Laura and I got each other. We were both there working on us and not wanting to settle. We had that bond. And now she’s found someone that doesn’t make her settle and I’m out here feeling alone.
Anyway. It’s life and as I’ve said, I have to take the positives. I’m not jealous, I’m not out here feeling like something is wrong with me, I may be alone forever but that doesn’t scare me as much as I’m liking the person I’m becoming. But damn Lord, if you are listening, it’s been 30 years with one good relationship, one bad one to my name. Neither one of them continuously lasting more than a year. Throw me someone decent for like a year or two. I’ll be good, I promise.