Skip to content

the d-word

2010 May 24
by Romy
There was nothing cozy about the room where I met her that first time, nothing to put me at ease. The pictures of flowers that sprouted from the wall did not tell me anything about what her family was like. Sure, she was nice enough. She took the time to listen to the reasons for my visit, as a GP should, and after addressing those started asking questions about my reasons for moving to Australia, about my family history.

Most of the readers of this blog know enough about my family to know that it is a bit more colorful (one might even say rainbow-colored) than your average family. While I occasionally feel the need to talk about it or inappropriately mention it in casual conversation, it is not an unbearable weight on my shoulders, and it hasn’t caused me to do anything rash or irresponsible (apart from meeting a boy over the internet and moving overseas with him 9 months later).

So when people ask me about my family and start to realize that I didn’t have a white picket fence to hang my hopes and dreams on, it tends to make them a bit uncomfortable, which in turn puts pressure on me to assure them that I am OK, that my cynical nature has always been there, that they don’t need to be afraid of irrational bursts of anger.

But my GP would have none of this. “So after your mum passed away you moved to Australia? Does that mean your dad is by himself in Holland?” Well, no, not exactly. After explaining to her that my dad and I are not on speaking terms, she looked at me with a mixture of pity and horror. This was amplified after she heard my story about making monthly trips from England to Holland to clean out that beautiful house my mom was so proud of, only to sell it to a stranger, after which I had to say goodbye to my home country.

On came a torrent of questions: Didn’t you have family to help you? How did you cope? Do you think you’re depressed? Are you sure you’re not depressed? Do you feel sad? Do you feel anxious?
Not really, relatively well, no, yes, sometimes, no. I immediately jumped into “don’t worry, I’m alright”-mode, but all of a sudden something clicked in my heart, and it was all I could do to stop from crying in front of this lady I’d shook hands with not 10 minutes ago.

I never understood why some people, when I told them that I was moving halfway across the world, would look at me in amazement and tell me how brave I was. I’m so well trained in assuring everyone that I don’t need help that sometimes I forget that it is okay to accept help, and that it is perhaps not normal (though definitely understandable) to furiously blink away oncoming tears when I’m at work. Because receptionists don’t cry, not even at 3 in the afternoon when 5 o’clock seems two days away.

One Response leave one →
  1. no one permalink
    May 24, 2010

    Too true Romy. C x

Leave a Reply

Note: You can use basic XHTML in your comments. Your email address will never be published.

Subscribe to this comment feed via RSS