- another story of self inflicted heartbreak
About 9 months ago, I moved from San Francisco, California to Belgrade, Serbia (you can read more about that here). This story has nothing to do with either of those countries, but more about what it feels like to start over. Alone. And by “start over” I don’t mean “resurface in another country a decade later with a new identity”; I mean, to build a new daily routine- from scratch. Most importantly, finding your people- and in the process, whether you like it or not, finding out more about yourself.
So anyway, I moved to Serbia and found my local “pijaca” pretty quickly. Pijaca means ‘market’ in Serbian, and my pijaca is FUCKING AMAZING. The merchants are amazing. The food is amazing. The vibes are amazing. It has really made all the difference. But, this story isn’t about my pijaca either. Or my WONDERFUL local coffee shop. Or the career path I chose in Serbia. It’s about the people. My ‘new’ people.
When I first arrived in Belgrade, it was like a honeymoon on steroids. I was floating on air. The sun was shining all day, every day. The café patios were full of happy people. The wine was flowing. The streets were packed with good looking men. I was feeling pretty damn fantastic. And it wasn’t long before I formed a crush on a particular Serbian guy.
Enter Month 2.
Things started to take a slight downturn. Repeating “I don’t speak Serbian” for the 356th time didn’t have as much exotic appeal as it did the first or second or even third time I said it. And no matter how many people I met and laughed with, nobody really knew who I was. They only knew Summer-2017-Adriana, which was barely even a piece of the whole me.
I had no one to share my intimate thoughts with, so, naturally, they just begun spinning uncontrollably inside my head where they grew into huge insecurities and feelings of defeat.
Self-inflicted defeat, mind you, because nothing had changed externally. The cafés were still vibrant and well, the wine was still good, and the men were still certainly good looking.
So in order to deal with these growing feelings of insecurity and doubt inside my head, I became determined to take out my frustrations on my new people if they couldn’t adequately read my mind- with precision. And the colossal target of this mind-fuck was my new Serbian semi-beau.
So healthy of me.
In summary, my solo honeymoon started unravelling at lightning speed. Suddenly, there were no more people smiling at cafés, the wine was tainted, and the good looking men were gone. And guess what, I verbally annihilated and blocked my poor Serbian semi-beau. Because he couldn’t read my mind.
All very healthy decisions of mine. I’m sorry, B.
Enter Month 6. Life starts taking an upturn. I’m able to say “ne pričam srpski” instead of “I don’t speak Serbian”. My new yoga studio opens. My new friends start becoming just friends. I am feeling okay.
Enter Month 8. The Christmas season is in full swing. I am loving life. The cafés are cozier than ever. The hot red wine is doing a good job of warming me up. And the good looking men aren’t everywhere, but they are there.
Enter Month 9 (current month). New Year festivities come and go. The yoga studio starts to pick up again after the holidays. I am feeling supported, confident and level-headed. And then, BOOM. I get a text one morning from a local friend saying that he does not want me in his life anymore. He is cutting me out.
Oh yes, karma, baby.
But you know what, this time I have less shortcomings. This time, I am on the receiving end and I see what it feels like. It feels like I should take it personally. It feels like I did something wrong. But, as another good local friend recently told me “everyone is putting out their own fires in their head”.
Don’t I know.
You cannot put your own experiences and feelings on someone else’s actions. So I simply replied, “I will respect that”. And I will miss him, but I am okay with who I am now. And I am also okay with someone not being okay with that.
Shortly after this exchange, some more texts began coming in from him beating around the bush about how I should have picked up on signals or subtleties. But I will not allow myself to be held to those impossible standards, just like I used to do to others.
Ahem. Just like I did six months ago.
And I will also no longer make others try and guess my feelings. Because it is so much easier to say what you mean and take other people’s words for face value.
I am so sorry to all of my people, past and present, that I made feel small or confused because of my lapse in character.
And thank you, Serbia, for making me come to this uncomfortable self realization.
Enter Month 10 next week. Stay tuned.