Keep Climbing and Don’t Look Up

This was not how I envisioned this going.

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If we’re being honest, I hadn’t expected this year to be such an uphill battle. I figured that, by now, life would have gone back to normal and I’d be working for a company I love, in Finland. Hell, if we’re going to talk about my crazy and incredibly naive notion on how this year would go, we’d be discussing how I had planned on still being in Helsinki and working for a company that was able to hire me on full-time, planning to go back to Michigan any day now.

But that’s not how life works.

Life is messy- I’m pretty sure I’ve said that phrase about a million times on this blog, but it’s still true. After spending the last year and change in an international relationship, you’d think I’d understand how nothing is easy and just seeing each other is the world’s biggest headache, but I’m still not fully grasping the severity of it all. Let me give you guys the low-down on what’s going on:

I am currently working for a start-up company in Helsinki, from Michigan. This company is amazing and I want to be a part of this team like you wouldn’t believe. There is an opportunity for becoming a partner at this company after my initial position has come to its close. So you’d think that would mean I could get a residence permit, right? Nope. So even though I’m an educated and hardworking individual with a job that you’d think would allow me to mosey my way on over, I can’t. Here’s why: because this company is a start-up and we are not making real salaries, in terms of like over a 1000 euros a month, I cannot get a residence permit, so I can’t move to Finland in order to work there, like, you know, full-time. Plus, although I would be in a situation where I don’t have normal expenses like rent and utilities, it’s not a good enough reason to not need to meet their income requirements.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t even be looking into this company or moving to Finland if it wasn’t for my super cool boyfriend who I’d like to actually get to spend time with… preferably without the use of a computer and the internet. So we’ve talked about it, the big M-word, and it’s been a difficult conversation. This wasn’t how we had planned on doing it. Rushing it was never in the cards, but living apart for another year and a half isn’t either. It’s all a bit up in the air at the moment and I’m stuck somewhere in the limbo of planning a courthouse wedding and looking for full-time jobs in Michigan for when my contract with the Helsinki based company ends. As the “planner” type, this has been horrible. I’ve broken out with hives every day for the last week and I keep pretending it’s not because of some underlying stressor, even though it is.

I know there’s already been a lot of climbing this year; my arms are a bit tired and my footing is a bit loose, but there’s nothing else we can do but climb and not look up at the rest of the massive mountain in front of us.

-LP

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I’m Slightly-Dependent and I’m O.K. with it.

The phrase “I am independent” isn’t always a good thing.

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Sure, it’s 2018 and the term “feminist” is now synonymous with strength, power, and independence. Women are where it’s at and men are expected to sit down, shut-up, and only come when called upon. Women are fierce and our supposedly “newfound” strength and independence is neatly embroidered on the sash we wear proudly in public. I mean, we wear hats called “pussy hats” now at rallies and proudly exclaim that “the future is female” as if we didn’t know that already.

I mean, how will procreation occur if there aren’t women? Did men suddenly become asexual? Last time I checked, generally when an XY man peed on a pregnancy test and got a positive result, that was a bad thing.

Bad as in cancer, and I don’t mean the astrological sign.

I’m all for women having equal rights, pay, and the like if we’re being rational on the topic, but the idea that I am a “strong, independent woman who don’t need no man” is not something I’m okay with.

Do I need my guy? Absolutely.

But it’s more than that, I want him too. I like when he’s around and now that he’s over 4,000 miles away I’m a bit at a loss here. I’m at a loss and there’s no one to turn to because we’re not allowed to need a man and if we do, we better not admit it. But holy hell, things are hard and I’m incredibly emotional because my period is coming. Am I allowed to say that? Well, I did.

I’m emotional, irrational, alone, and depressed. 

Life is incredibly hectic right now and, to quote one of my fav men, Bob Dylan, “I can’t get no relief.” Every day seems to be a never ending list of tasks on my To Do List, even when I’m in bed I lay there staring at the ceiling with a sense of inevitable dread.

But I’m “independent.” I always have been and I’ll always probably try to see myself that way, which is why it’s hard to admit that maybe, just maybe, I’m not. Maybe when times are hard, I do need someone else around. I could use a shoulder to cry on, a person to talk to, and someone to love me. I could benefit from having someone wrap their arms around me while it feels like dawn just will not break and I think you’ve probably been there too. So why don’t we talk about that?

Why are we so proud to tell everyone how independent we are? How we don’t need anyone and no one better need us. Why do we pretend to have it all together day in and day out when we feel overwhelmed and under-qualified to face the day?

I guess I can understand it though. It’s like what I was talking to one of my friends about; we only want people to know the best of our lives. If you look on social media you’ll be greeted by the smiling faces of your friends and their perfect lives. Lives that you desperately wish you had; lives that seem so much better than your own. I’m guilty of it too; I know that’s what my pages look like. My closest friends were shocked when they found out my life was crumbling around me 2 years ago because I hid it well. I still hide it pretty well, for the most part. So I guess I have to explicitly state it:

My life is a mess, and I don’t mean the kind of mess you can wipe up with a swiffer. It’s a break-out-the-big-guns-where’s-the-shopvac? kind of mess. I’ve let myself get pulled in so many different directions that I don’t have a place to stand anymore. Sure, galpals are incredible and essential, but sometimes they’re not enough. My family is great and I know that my dad in particular would listen to any problems I may have, but that isn’t what I want nor is it what I need.

What I need is to let go of the emotions that I’ve been bottling up for the last few weeks and just have a nice and long cry fest in a hot bath, followed by wine and ice cream in a fluffy bed with the love of my life next to me while we watch YouTube videos of cats, bad movies, and sassy home cooks. What I need is to know that the light at the end of the tunnel is not just a flashlight, but the actual sun waiting for me. I need to know this shit-show will end soon. I need to know I can make it.

-LP

Love Can Hurt, Distance Doesn’t Help

I could spend forever with you and it still wouldn’t be enough.

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I’ve been told to write about that which you dwell upon and I guess you could say I’m dwelling on this.

I honestly don’t know where to begin with this. I’ve tried writing this post for the last hour and I’m still just swimming in thoughts mixed with distractions, all of which are laced with a painful reminder that I’m here and you’re there. And I just want you here.

I’ve learned a lot these last three months that I’ve spent loving you while simultaneously being in the same country as you, in the same space as you.

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Now that I’ve been spoiled with the knowledge of what it’s like to hug you, kiss you, and do all the things that we’ve done, I can’t forget it. For a year, video calls were enough for us.  Sure, we wanted more, but we knew that it would come and we knew that we would be together. I suppose we still know that, but now the moment we were looking forward to is in the rearview mirror on this road in which there is no U-turn.

I don’t even know where to begin in order to unburden myself of this heartache, but I suppose the beginning is the best.

This past October, I packed my bags and boarded a plane on my way to you. I spent 15 hours traveling and attempting to contain my excitement as I flew across the Atlantic. I had no idea what to expect and honestly I didn’t have any expectations, I just knew within my heart that the next three months would be amazing… and they were.

We’ve experienced so much together, all of which only deepened and strengthened my love for you. From our trip to the cottage in Puumala, to the weekend in Gdansk, and even our day at the zoo, every day started with waking up beside you, and ended asleep beside you. Precious moments turned into memories and I swear it happened all too fast.

I hadn’t realized how quickly three months could fly by, but now we’re here at this phase where we aren’t together anymore because over 4,000 miles separate us. After having my lips against yours every day, this distance feels insurmountable. I feel hollow without you in my life and after returning to a place I had called home with ease, it doesn’t feel like home.

I feel alone in a place I used to feel relaxed in. Your presence in my life is so potent that I can’t help but to wonder how I had gotten on without you before. I can’t even explain why I feel so sad, I just do. I can’t sleep without you anymore; at first I thought it was jet-lag, but now I know it’s more than that.

IMG_2995I was told that when you are away from home for an extended period of time, you’re never really able to fully come back. I hadn’t believed it before, but I do now. This is no longer my home. The time I spent in Finland had felt so natural that now I don’t know who I am or what to do. I spend my days here thinking about going back as quickly as possible, knowing that I won’t be able to for many months. I find myself wondering what we’ll do if the position I have at the Helsinki based company falls through and it terrifies me.

I’m not afraid that we won’t make it. I’m not afraid that the distance will win. I’m not afraid of anything to do with us; I have no doubts about the strength of our relationship, but I just feel alone. I know that it’s not easy on you either. I know that you’re forced to live in our flat alone. You walk to the shop alone and sleep in our bed without me. You’re living our life without me and I can’t even imagine how that feels.

I guess you’re right though, this is the cost of having something amazing. We have something truly amazing. It’s been over a year and I’m not only madly in love with you, but I’m not annoyed by you, and I still crave your presence. All I want is a life with you and I know that’s what you want to.

There’s been a lot of rambling in this post, but it’s just been a way to decompress and let go of some emotions… maybe this will help me stop crying randomly during the day.

-LP