Saturday, August 09, 2008

The More Things Change...

In the few weeks I have been here, one question that's often asked of me is, "What made you come here?"

I find that it's easier to tell them about the dismal working conditions, the laughable salary, and the feeling that I am getting nowhere fast on my career track and let them draw their own conclusions about me (i.e. "what kind of mercenary so-and-so is she?"). It would be more complicated to explain to them about my compulsive need to turn my life upside down in an effort to get unstuck and maybe get my life going. Which, to be honest, it has done.

Still, one thing I am quickly beginning to realize is that one brave thing does not necessarily lead to another. And the overused cliche, "The more things change, the more they stay the same," is obviously a cliche for a reason.

My friends have all sung to me about the benefits of living abroad - even temporarily. It's supposed to be my fresh start, my chance to get out of my shell, to learn to be confident in my own skin, maybe to even reinvent myself into the person I've always wanted people to see me as but was too entrenched in my own pattern to do so.

The truth is, reinventing myself may be a good idea in theory, but apparently I am simply incapable of doing so. I would love to be able to channel the vibe of my friend, Y, who is sassy and mysterious and uber-confident, or, E, who is sweet, adorable, and exudes a "let's-take-care-of-her" air. Instead I can only be me, equal parts ditzy and capable, gung ho, no-nonsense, snarky and easy to get a rise from, chicken and self-conscious, and very what-you-see-is-what-you-get.

Still, maybe it's only early days yet. Then again, that's part of what worries me. Just a few weeks into my big move, I'm already sliding (kicking and screaming on the inside, believe me) into the same role and persona I have tried in vain to shed every time I have moved from one stage of my life (and one group of friends) to the next. And all I can think is, "WTF am I doing wrong?"

Obviously, they can take the girl out of the Philippines, but they can't take the Philippines out of the girl.

So, does anyone want to give me tips on how to claw myself out of this potential rut before I'm actually stuck in it again?

9 comments:

Manggy said...

It's one thing to change certain aspects about yourself you don't like, but quite another to chameleon into someone else completely. There's absolutely nothing wrong with just being you. Now I sound like an after-school special! Or a chick flick. Maybe we should get, like, makeovers or something at the 30-minute mark. Ha ha ha. The thing about changing parts of your personality is that it's rarely going to be the people that surround you or the environment-- everything must come about gradually, and with practice. Otherwise it becomes ego-dystonic. Kidding. Kind of.

By the way, kilala ko ba si Y and E? Ha ha ha.

ness said...

Please include brave and open hearted to the list of descriptions of yourself. Hindi ka nag-iisa. Hugs to you.

dr_clairebear said...

@manggy: i could use the chick flick just about now, hahaha. just feeling a bit discouraged because i can't break out of my patterns even miles away from my previous environment. :P si E kilala mo, si Y hindi. hehehe

@ness: thanks for the encouragement. i needed that. :)

kimmysharinglight said...

Wonderful post. Thank you for sharing!

Panaderos said...

Change happens slowly but it does come. I think you're going through a phase where the pull of the home country is still quite strong. Give yourself some time though and please don't be too hard on yourself. Failure is not an option.

mnel said...

i don't know what to say doc. probably a hug will do. after all, actions speak louder than words, right? *hug*

dr_clairebear said...

@everyone: am feeling marginally better, but also still quite frustrated. but i can't be anyone else but me now, can I? *sigh* it's time for cheesecake...

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Sueblimely said...

Have you considered that you may wish to be different because you behave in a way that is not the real you? If this is the case then there is no need for you to change but to discover who you are and learn to be content with that. Discontent you feel may come from trying to be someone different. I am talking from my own experiences here.

Also, those outgoing, confident people may not feel that on the inside, this too may not be the real them.