I can swim.

Zoe Barnes - Brazil


September 9, 2015

I’m scared. I feel like I’ve been thrown into the middle of the ocean with a crappy live jacket and leaky goggles. I thought I was prepared, but it doesn’t seem like anything could’ve prepared me for the situation I’ve been placed in. No one could have prepared me for the feeling of literally not knowing anyone, for being forced to confide my feelings in people I’ve known for less than two weeks, for being placed in an environment in which everyone around me speaks in a different language. No one could have prepared me for the feeling of being completely and utterly alone. And yes, I’m “not the only one in this situation.” Yes, there are 14 other members of my cohort who are being thrown into the same thing as I am, but I get the feeling that everyone else is at a different place in their lives. Everyone else is ready for independence; they want to be on their own. I’m not ready. 

I’m scared to grow up. It’s something I’ve always been afraid of, and it’s something that succeeds to bring tears to my eyes time and time again. Sure, I haven’t stayed in the same community my entire life. I’ve even moved across the Atlantic and have been forced to meet new people and form a new foundation. But I’ve always had a home to come back to at the end of each day. Although the physical home hasn’t remained the same my entire life, it’s always been the place where I love – the place where my parents, the two people I care about more than anything, are each night when I get home. It’s the place where every night for as long as I can remember, I’ve yelled across the house, “Goodnight. Love you. See you in the morning.” And every night, for as long as I can remember, those three things were echoed back to me. 

Now, that place is 6,095 miles away. Now, there’s no one to whom I can yell those three things each night. 

I didn’t realize it would be this hard, and I definitely didn’t anticipate the initial shock of being locked out of my comfort zone. While I know I’ll make it out of the trough sooner or later, it’s extremely unsettling not knowing when. Luckily, although it seems as if the crappy life jacket and leaky goggles are all I have to keep me afloat, I can swim. And if I get tired, there’s an abundance of support hidden beneath the water’s surface.  

 

 

Zoe Barnes