Not Being Brave

I left DC on the 14th of August. The last phone call I made while boarding the plane was to my father. He never picked up.

In my father’s mind, I have always been and always will be his little girl. Any information that would disprove that has been dutifully ignored – from boyfriends to grown up accomplishments and this was no different.

A compliment I have often received since coming to Ukraine has been, “you’re so brave”. What people do not understand is that it had nothing to do with bravery. I just walked onto a plane and kept going. You might argue that it is brave to leave everything you love and move to a foreign country where you don’t know anyone or the language, but that’s not how I view it.

I lived in a static zone. No matter how hard I pushed or protested, no matter what I changed, certain things stayed the same. The stuff and people I love and cherish stayed the same but the other stuff stayed the same as well. This, ultimately, led me to the conclusion that, no matter where I went, the stuff I love and cherish would always be back at home waiting for me.

The language barrier is no different than the barrier of hearing but not listening. In some ways, it’s even easier to overcome since I can learn a new language, but I can’t force someone who really doesn’t want to listen to actually listen.

How do I explain to a stranger that back home I was slowly being smothered? Wrapped so tightly in the comforts of home that I couldn’t take breaths large enough to actually thrive instead of just exist? Taboo personal subjects. Taboo not because it’ll be hurtful to the speaker but taboo because you’ll give the listener much more than they bargained for.

I’m glad people think so highly of me and that is why I smile and respond, “It’s an exciting adventure!”, because it truly is. And for now that is all they really need to know.


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