It all looked really good and promising, from the outside that is. It appeared I had graduated to a grown-up within a blink of an eye and was admitted into the ‘adult’s club’ and all it had to offer. On the inside, I was breaking down into pieces. Since I had not followed a typical immigrant path, there were no obvious reasons to be unhappy. I was living in the heart of downtown Toronto, in a prestigious apartment, having the “comfort” of staying at home while the entire ‘burden of existence’ rested solely on my husband’s shoulders – my perception of reality must have been surprising to many. After a period of time that took me to learn the language and assimilate within the new environment, I engaged myself in a series of activities leading me to first finding a dream job in a country that values newcomers and not so much their lack of Canadian experience. A country that needs immigrants, to up keep its meagre population growth yet has enormous disrespect for the skillset and expertise that enters its borders. A country where PhDs, engineers and doctors ferry people in cabs across the cities and involuntarily contribute to a dramatic loss of economic potential.
So, desperate enough, I pushed myself through endless disappointments and rejections, being denied jobs that natives were entitled to at birth. Escaping the misery of being stuck at home and overcoming intensifying loneliness and separation, desperately needing human interactions and spike in self-esteem to prove myself but mostly others, I started a new chapter of my journey by joining the Canadian workforce.
As I was following my path, I sensed an unwritten expectation to shadow the footsteps of many women before me. The “good wife” mold – attractive, with likeable demeanor, controllably smart, engaged in not so overburdening career path, so there was always someone to keep the family life on track. Leaving my family nest only at the age of 25, I played the array of roles clearly predefined long before my time, without much resistance. On the other hand, I felt a strong need for independence and freedom although the meaning of those were a mere sensation of what this may actually look and feel like. I was a warrior hibernating inside, waiting to leave one’s restraints. My path of “fitting in” was mixed with periodical outbursts of dissatisfaction that was moving through me. Dreaming about all the things I wanted to do, people I wanted to “save” and influence. However, always finding a very convenient set of justifications why not to change anything as it was actually all working out for me well. So for the time being, I was allowing my own victimhood linger, consistently being reinforced by those similar to me in my outlook on life and I was failing to make permanent changes, excusing myself each time things got a bit tougher. Yet my deeply-rooted need for validation and acceptance, getting exhausted ‘by myself’, was pushing me to continue to search for answers to my unhappiness and ever so growing feeling of missing something so distant and so undefined.