Immigration: The Waiting Place

Dr. Suess talks about the dreaded Waiting Place in his book “Oh the Places You’ll Go.” I’ve read this book so many times and it really is one of my favourites. I follows the young protagonist through life where the hometown is left behind, where you soar to great heights, and also have the times when you are in a slump but overall, you always get back up and keep going. It’s a great story and one that my therapist gave me after dealing with the head on collision. She even read it out loud to me while I sat on the couch with her chair pulled up closely to me. It was special and I still think fondly about it.

The Waiting Place is this place where you don’t want to be. It’s the place where life is put on hold because you have to wait for something or someone. For the past almost two years, I have been in that dreaded waiting place. It sucks. Honestly it really sucks. Due to being rather independent, and by the advice given through the Immigration hotline, we didn’t apply for a Partner Visa, and subsequent Permanent Residency because if we waited until after the 3 year anniversary of us being exclusive, then the application would pass right through and I’d be granted the PR straight away. So we waited until after that date, which happens to be August, and applied in September, in between my hospital stays just before bub came. Like we didn’t need another thing to go askew at that time, really? It still makes me mad even though I try to let it go.

We didn’t get a pass because there wasn’t an official document, such as a real estate form, or a joint bank account opened literally from the day we declared our exclusivity to one another. I would be really suspicious if someone I was dating from another country did say something like “hey let’s be together AND let’s open a joint bank account today”. I would be so suspicious. I don’t think that normal people think of things like that, we certainly didn’t. So even though there is a huge record of everything else, including newspaper articles, lots of statutory declarations by friends and David’s family, we were still put on hold… and back to the Waiting Place for another year.

The 2 year mark of applying is coming up, so I am hopeful that PR will finally be granted. The thing is that, unless you’ve ever been in a situation like this, you have no idea how much stress it actually causes. Really, at this point because I am on a Partner Visa (which was only granted after a year of being on a Bridging Visa, that I can literally be asked to leave the country where my entire life is now, where my husband and my child are. I try not to get all doomsday about it, but it really sucks to not have that feeling of security in life. It makes me teary eyed just thinking about how fragile it all is. It also makes me angry, or upset rather, that we have done every single thing correctly, we truly are in love and committed to one another, we are married, we do have a child, I even went to University here so it’s not like I’m a fly by night person, and we still haven’t been granted the okay to permanently reside here, or rather I haven’t. The thing is that it does effect my husband too. We’ve had to have the conversation of what if… and if we would move to America, which would cause all kinds of upheaval. It’s such a challenge and it really feels unfair.

When looking at Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, at the very bottom is your shelter, the place where you live. Now for the first few years here, I was here on a working holiday visa, and then a medical treatment visa and I accepted that I didn’t have that foundation set, and still worked with it, I mean I kind of had to since I needed to stay in the country to recover from the accident, which was a long and challenging process. My soon to be husband and I met during my medical treatment visa, and even when we decided to be exclusive, I knew that the foundation was still not there and didn’t want to apply for a partner visa straight away because unfortunately I have had relationships that have not worked out and I wanted our love to grow as it would with me being independent, and us not having to think about anything else like but to just be romantic, and enjoy one another. So when I was on a student visa for a couple of years, we continued to develop our relationship, became engaged, all of life was really starting to flourish, the way that true love does, organically, authentically, nicely, and without any pressure of government or any outside agency. I accepted at that time that I was still not setting my foundation in my hierarchy of needs, but I we were solid in our relationship and we knew the next steps would come.

After I graduated it was suggested time and again when I would call to immigration, and when i would look online, that for time and money sake, it would be most efficient to apply after that magical 3 year mark of our anniversary. So instead of applying for Partner Visa, I went for the Post Graduate Work Stream visa, and we had projected to apply for the PR in the next stage, again after the 3 years. Well during my Work Visa, we got married, fell pregnant on our wedding day, and then had a crazy difficult pregnancy. At the very beginning of the third trimester, I was in hospital, and it wasn’t looking so good. So in between hospital stays, we went and applied for PR. It had been after the 3 years, and it should just go on through, as it was suggested strongly by so many people from Immigration.

For the next almost 2 years, the lack of foundation has been so apparent and something I cannot help but think about, specifically because it isn’t just myself and my husband who we need to be concerned with, we have a child and that child is completely dependent upon the two of us, not just one if I have to leave. It’s such a horrible position to be in. The lack of foundation when I have a family to think about and care for, is really heavy on my heart, a lot, consistently. I try my best to not let it get to me and just trust that it will all be okay, I will get PR and my family and I can actually live life like we really do live here, all of us, all of us. This is making me cry right now as I type this. It really sucks. It’s so unnecessary to have to go through this, especially with a small child.

I am so ready to move out of the Waiting Place and move on with our lives. I don’t want this to continue taking up mental headspace. I want to really build my life with my husband and our child with a firm solid foundation in place.

I’ve come a long way

Recently someone friended me on Facebook. They sent a personal message saying that they knew me when I was little and that they are so proud that I made it out. Yes, made it out, because that is what people say where I am from. She also said she doesn’t keep in contact with anyone else from my family. Along with asking if I remember her. Honestly I didn’t remember her and I told her that. Then she tried to jog my memory and it’s vague, it’s really vague actually, and that’s fine. She said she didn’t want to bring up old stuff that I’ve probably blocked out. Well, she is right. I have blocked out a lot of things in my life, likely as a survival tactic. I think leaving the place where I grew up was also a deep inbuilt survival tactic for me.

I often forget about this crazy upbringing in the way that I really did have a drastically different starting point that most people. I forget how far I have come, and how much I have had to overcome in order to move forward in my life and to progress in the ways that I have. I forget all of this and when I do, I am hard on myself for not achieving more, for not realising my potential yet. Really though, it’s because I continue to set new and bigger goals for myself, and I stretch myself time and again to new heights. I need not forget this when I start feeling down about what i have or have not been accomplishing as of late in regards to business and financial endeavours.

It really is like I have been taking a huge flight of stairs in my life, and I stop at each landing along the way for a moment and I can look back at all of the flights I’ve already climbed, but also see how many more I have to go. Looking back to gain perspective of my growth can be super helpful and very grounding for me. From an outsider perspective, I’ve already made it, I’ve already become so much more than the life I started out in had projected for me. I am really fucking resilient and I always get back up and always keep moving forward. Always.

Now I need to give myself credit regularly so I know how worthy, how capable, how strong, how I am more than enough and of course how resilient I am.

Why do I think it needs to be hard?

Somewhere deep inside of my programming there is something that has encoded that in order for me to justify what i am doing, it has to be hard, it has to be hard earned, it cannot be easy, it has to be something that I overcome in order to succeed at.

It’s like I stifle myself in the chapter I am in by making it harder than it needs to be. Even when I was healing after the head on collision, sure it was a challenge, but I probably made it harder than it needed to be. I do look to the bright side and maybe it’s because I put myself into places that need that outlook? It’s an interesting thought to dive into.

Even when I was travelling like a nomad, I wasn’t happy in it, not really, yeah there were moments, but overall, there was a sadness about me, I notice it looking back. I even made that foot loose and fancy free stage of my life harder than it needed to be searching for a place to settle down and create a new version of my life, when of course in hindsight, that stage was just a nomadic stage that wasn’t meant for roots, or at least I didn’t allow those roots to form.

I wonder if it also has to do with my ambitious nature, of wanting to be someone who is recognised, of wanting to be someone who is making a positive difference in the world, of wanting to be someone who really is helping others be their best selves. I wonder if all along I’ve been doing that, but have overlooked it because it didn’t fit what my version of success based on other people’s version of success, looked like. I wonder if my grass is always greener approach has actually taken away from the life I have been in, in favour of the life I have been searching for, or have been aiming to create.

Even now, living in the Western Suburbs of Sydney, I make it harder on myself that it has to be. I look at bad side of this area like the crime, graffiti, the fast food eating people not taking care of themselves culture. I do focus a lot on the Mum and Bubs that I have become close to here, and that is the bright spot, along with living not too far from the Blue Mountains, but beyond that I have been having this strong feeling for almost two years since being here, that this is not where I belong, this isn’t where my family belongs, and have been pinning for a move back to the lush land of the Northern Rivers where we were living. It’s like I have made this stage harder because of that, because up until recently I wasn’t as grateful as I could have been about being here, and that definitely tainted my view and my experience.

Now as a stay at home mum with my son, I know I have made that harder than it needs to be based on the feedback loop of sharing how challenging it was. I’m still sitting with that because it was liberating to say that it was challenging and that it wasn’t all rainbows and butterflies. I wonder now if it’s also part of the fact that I was feeling a bit helpless in it all, that I hadn’t taken a job and done that route and put bub in daycare, or had a live in demi pair the whole time. It’s almost like at this stage of life, I really really should have only focused on being a mum. Not focused on trying to start a business, trying to do anything other than learn how to be a mother, and learn how to be a wife and a mother. It’s a big deal, a really big deal, and like anything I want to do my very best at it, and by side tracking with these other things, it hasn’t helped me along. It was me trying to grab at things to help save myself from myself or something, I’m not really sure, but it didn’t stick, so there must’ve been a reason behind it all.

As long as I ease into being a stay at home mum with my bub, life is good. I am happier, I am more content in my life, I am a better partner, I am more creative, all of life is better. When I try to add on too many things, I get out of balance, and that makes me frustrated and those feelings come out in various ways that aren’t so great and that sucks. I want an easy flowing life. I also want to have all the resources to have an easy flowing life so that my husband isn’t worked to the bone. I know in time, it will all be okay and I will do other things, but for now, I really do want to focus on being a mother and being the best woman I can possibly be. The rest will work itself out, I know it will.

This all feels very revelatory for me. It feels like I am uncovering truths about myself and how I operate and they can make a difference in my overall happiness and the happiness of my family, which is highly important to me. I really hadn’t planned to have a life like this when I was younger, so I really am learning a lot as I go, in every moment. Plus my growth game is strong and I value that I am always evolving into a better version of myself.

So what can I do now? Be easier on myself. Allow the flow. Really focus on the goodness in life, right here, right now. Be grateful. Create. Rest. Love. Allow things to happen as they will. Be present. It’s all happening now.

Stay at Home Mum is Okay

A funny and strange thing is just coming to surface and I’m going to try my best to tease it out and allow it to flow here in black and white. I think I bought into the idea of how hard it was to be a stay at home mum because I was doing it myself and I wanted to prove that it should be valued and that in order to be valued without being paid with money, that it had to be hard. It wouldn’t seem fair if it were fun and you were just staying home with your baby while your husband goes out and works his butt off so you can be at home frolicking with your child. It’s like if it’s hard, then it’s okay to justify the stay at home mum role. However, if it’s something that you actually enjoy and get into the flow and find your rhythm that becomes a new version of easy for you, then some how that isn’t okay. It’s like I’ve been trying to justify me being home by viewing it and sharing with others how hard it has been. Granted, it has been very very challenging, and definitely harder than anything else I have ever done, especially for this long. There was a turning point though, where I really was feeding into a loop that wasn’t so healthy while I was dealing with my own post traumatic symptoms after having a baby, which definitely include the role change and not feeling useful, which was compounded by not being able to provide breastmilk and not being as physically capable as I had been, so many things were tied up in that really.

I’ve come to it now that it’s mostly quite enjoyable, I really do enjoy hanging out, playing and enjoying time with my soon to be two year old. He’s really pleasant, he’s smart, he really brings out all of my emotions and I get to grow in ways that I haven’t before, all through my relationship with him. It’s really awesome actually. I do feel guilty that I am not providing financial income to my family, but I know that I am providing way more in terms of how my son will be in the world and how we will all be affected because of that.

So no more leading on to how hard it is, it only makes it harder. I’m now going to focus on the happy bits more, the fun and joyful parts of this role I am in. It’s okay to enjoy it. There are hard parts too, all the time. However, It’s such a privilege that I even get to do this, I’m now changing the page to where I look at it through eyes of playfulness, love, and joy.