2013 – the year of major changes. And, in the absence of being able to think of anything witty, thought-provoking or even original, it’s a good time to review it.
I was offered the Kuwait job in December 2012 so 2013 was always going to be a scary year, but nothing could prepare me for the complete panic on the plane as I left Heathrow. One suitcase, which meant limited shoes, and no idea what was going to happen next. It was the perfect chance to reinvent myself, lose weight, get fit, be a wonderfully happy person that people loved and kick the booze (well, Kuwait is dry).
I’ve gained weight (damn you Cheesecake Factory), have been running less than twenty times all year (it was 40+ degrees for a long time) and seem to always have access to vodka that doubles as paint stripper. But I am a happier person.
After the first bout of crippling homesickness when I felt the whole world hated me a friend made a comment that mentally slapped me:
“You’re born alone and you die alone. What you choose to do and who you choose to spend time with in the middle, is up to you”.
Something clicked. I didn’t care that my friends back home never skyped when they said they would or even replied to text messages. It didn’t bother me if I found out everyone was out for dinner together and no one had invited me. I was here to earn money, gain experience and step out of my comfort zone. And as soon as I relaxed, I found my place here.
I also found a boy. A boy that I went for dinner dates with regularly, did a weekly food shop with and am now planning a holiday with. The longest relationship I have had with a boy in 5 years and he is gay.
As far as straight guys go, I got over my habit of cancelling first dates AND haven’t put out when I do go on them. That also means I haven’t had any action since January but I have had 3 first dates, 3 dates with the same guy, pulled a personal trainer and fooled around on his sofa, but my dignity is intact. I think that deserves a round of applause.
I used to like the cynical, sarcastic bitch I was. Turns out that wasn’t me. Gone are the all black outfits and the jeans on a night out. I wear dresses and lipstick and get my nails done. I’m friendly and smiley and learning that people respond much better when you’re nice. I still bite far too quickly but I’m getting there.
My job is no longer something that bores me rigid. Instead I am exhausted and challenged daily. My boss is no longer a disgusting human being that belches his way through the working day, she is an independent woman that is pushing me to achieve. I don’t spend the day moaning with colleagues, I take training sessions to help the junior staff develop. And so what if I check my Blackberry when I’m on holiday? It’s worth it when pay day puts a smile on my face every month.
I’ve put an unrequited love behind me and seen the person for who they are, and discovered that what you think you want is not always what you’ll find you want.
Ok so I still drink, and therefore make mistakes (like the personal trainer… both of them) and I still have days where I think the world is against me and I just want to be a sullen little cow. But I think in the 10 months I have managed in ‘Kuwaiti-therapy’ I have changed for the better. It’s a shame one of my best friends uses the line ‘you’ve changed’ almost as an insult. So, to be really cheesey… lets end on a song (or at least part of it).
If I walk a little taller
If I speak up when you’re wrong
If I walk a little taller
I’ve been under you too long
If you notice that I’m different
Don’t take it personally
Don’t be mad
It’s just a brand new kinda me
Ooo it took a long long time to get here
It took a brave brave girl to try
I’ve taken one too many excuses, one too many lies
Don’t be surprised, oh said, you look surprised
Hey if you were a friend
You’d wanna get to know me again
If you were worth the while
You’d be happy to see me smile
I’m not expecting sorry
I’m too busy finding myself
I got this
I found me, I found me
I don’t need your opinion
I’m not waiting for your ‘OK’
I’ll never be perfect,
But at least now I’m brave
I know my heart is open
I can finally breath
Don’t be mad
It’s just a brand new kinda free
That ain’t bad
I found a brand new kinda me.