2023/05-14 - The Missing Years
had the most crazy few years. Years that no one could have predicted, that affected everyone on a never before seen global scale. Years that I believe have changed the trajectory of our lives in ways unplanned and avoidable. I call them The Missing Years. This first return piece will be my own recollection of my Missing Years and the consequences they've had on the girl known as Harriet Sugarcookie.
This story starts a little before the pandemic hit. It started at an after party in Berkley, California, where boy meets girl, swaps socials, and with a few extra steps, fall in love. I'm not the romantic type, at least not openly, so I will spare you the details. Long story short though I spent most of 2019 finding excuses to fly to Los Angeles, and by the end of the year had even found a reason to get a semi-permanent visa and stick around more long term. I was high on love, and if I'm being honest, really good dick.
Guys will understand how it feels to think with your instincts instead of your brain. It's why they stick their dicks in crazy. What they might not understand is that women can become just as brainless when it comes to good sex. I would go so far as to say women will go further for good sex than men would. Maybe it's because finding a guy who will give us an orgasm is so rare, that we see them as nuggets of gold in an otherwise shit creek. Finding a guy who's able to consistently give you multiple orgasms? Well Ye-Haw my friends, I'm off to America. The official reason though was work and love.
Before the Storm
Have you ever heard of the expression "When you're wearing rose tinted glasses, red flags just look like flags"? I think that would be the most succinct way to express what happened in 2019. I was high on love and orgasms that I ignored the many red flags that were waved in front of my eyes before I made a more permanent move to America. Not about my partner, but about America. I've never looked forward to visiting America for the various conferences or work engagements, and that alone should have been a good sign that this country and myself may not synergise so well.
If I could go back and change one thing, it would be dragging my partner back to Europe back then, instead of myself moving to America. My theory was that, I being the world traveled veteran would be better at relocating than my partner who had never even had a passport before. I had experience with relocating, my job could be done anywhere etc etc. Some things make sense on paper. It doesn't mean you should go with it.
The Pandemic Hits
The Pandemic and Lock down felt like an avalanche that came slowly first, a single snowflake far away on some mountaintop you could barely see, then the rumbling grows louder and you start to wonder if it's time to maybe take cover. Before you can really react though you're buried under 4 feet of snow with no idea how to dig yourself and your loved ones out.
I found myself in a country I couldn't quite meld with, cut off from flying back home to where all my friends and family were, waiting each day for news on what we could do, where we could go, who was ok or sick or dead. I worried endlessly for my family in Vietnam who were harder to keep in touch with. Panicked when my little sister was taken to hospital with Covid-19, back when we hardly knew anything about it. I felt completely impotent, unable to do anything from afar, with no chance of going home even if I wanted to.
The Toxic Pot
On top of all that, I had found myself in a web of drama and toxicity from the group of people I had been thrown with in America at the start of the whole thing. If I had to describe the Americans I met and had the misfortune of being connected to, I would say they were like aliens. Everything about them was so completely alien to me, from the way they thought, reacted, to the way interacted with the world. For a long time, maybe the first year and a half, I tried my best to integrate with them. To melt into the melting pot that was supposedly America.
Integrating yourself with the local culture is a vital part to moving to a new country. It's important when you go somewhere as a foreigner that you learn about the way the locals do things. Otherwise you're doomed to be a foreigner forever and incur the disdain of those around you. My mistake was thinking it wouldn't be so hard, after all, we spoke the same language already so one big hurdle covered.
I have lived in multiple European countries, as well as multiple Asian countries. I've never had as much of a culture shock moving somewhere as I have Southern California. Even the endless summer weather that us British folk can only dream of, wasn't enough to make up for the vapid, superficial, and forced, lifestyle that those around me seemed to thrive in. I can objectively look back now and consider perhaps had I met different people, maybe lived in a different state, my opinions on America might be different.
Without getting too into the horrible, but also ultimately inconsequential things, that happened in those first few years, I'll move on to my slow retreat into hermit-hood and social hibernation. Perhaps one day when the wounds don't feel quite so fresh I'll be able to write about them, like the housemates from hell, or the time I was driving up a mountain in part of a police chase. But it's safe to say that the events that happened back then caused me to change as a person.
Before I would say I was someone that inherently believed all people to be good. That everyone was interesting if nothing else. I was and still am, blessed with some wonderfully amazing friends. The latter years of this time period saw me reducing the number of social interactions with people to almost nothing. I had accepted that despite my best efforts, I had met maybe only a handful of people I could really consider friends in Los Angeles, and that everyone else was more hassle than they were worth.
My retreat into introvertdom was not something I ever imagined would happen to myself. But I learnt some very hard lessons in my attempt to save myself from madness and misery. For those of us who are people pleasers, learning to set up boundaries is probably one of the most important things we can do. I had boundaries before, but I had to learn to build walls higher and to be ok with that. As our environment changes, so do we have to change to adapt to them.
I call them the Missing Years because I think the things that happened maybe would not have happened had a global pandemic not been there to trap us. I call them the missing years because the person I became in those years was not the person I wanted to be, but the person i needed to be to survive. Now I'm finally at the start of the next part in my life, the next step in my journey. Back in Europe, to relearn how to be myself again, the me I want to be. Oh and I dragged Mr Good Dicking with me.