Immigrant or expat?

I have always called myself an immigrant. For some reason being an “immigrant” in my eyes had a lot more depth then being an “expat”. Moving to another country as an “expat” felt like a less temporary decision and therefore, a lighter one. Being an “immigrant” gave me the right to carry my suitcase full of sorrows but also provided me a hint of extra courage. By being an “immigrant” I could identify with those first arrivals, coming off boats after days of travelling, carrying all their belongings and looking for a better future. The fact that I arrived with a backpack and after a 24 hours plane journey had little impact on the romantic view I had of myself.

When I started my support group on Meet Up I thought about what term to use: expat or immigrant. I finally decided to use “expat” for a purely “commercial” reason: I wanted to target people who did carry their sorrows but … in a luxury case! Expats who, potentially, could pay for my services as a counsellor. Unlike immigrants who possibly were struggling to make ends meet.

I admit I felt uneasy about my choice of word. In a way I felt I betrayed what I believed and created a group for people I did not relate too, people I could not identify with. I spent some time pondering on this issue and I decided that “labels” were never a good thing. It was best to leave it and take it for what it was, a meaningless word. In fact I thought of bringing the subject up with the group and use it as a topic to discuss in the future.

Then today this article comes up on my Facebook page and it forces me to look at that uneasy feel again and reflect on the fact that sometimes “labels” carry a lot more meaning that we give them credit for. More food for thought.

 

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The block of the blog (Who am I and why am I here)

I want to be a blogger. I’ve wanted to be one the first time I heard about blogs. I love reading people’s stories and I love sharing my own stories. A blog is like sending emails to the world. It is just my kind of thing.

I walk around, living my life and constantly thinking of blog entries. I imagine putting little day-to-day experiences into written words and throwing them into the virtual ocean. A message in a bottle, someone somewhere might pick it up, sometime. I smile at the thought.

But I can’t do it. I have the block of the blog. In my mind it’s all very easy, as soon as I sit in front of the computer with the intention of writing my first blog entry, I freeze.

Why is that? How is it different from writing an email or telling a story to a friend? I will have to spend a bit of time analysing that, trying to come to the bottom of my block. And while I do this…I’ll write.

I like the thought of writing messages in a bottle. Perhaps no one will pick the bottle up and read my note. How does this make me feel? I write because I enjoy writing, I write for myself as in a diary but there is the extra attraction that someone might read what I write. And if no one does? The pleasure is in the writing and the sending it off. Yes, it feels right.

What about if someone picks it up and doesn’t like what I wrote? Rejection, judgement, criticism… it’s all a bit scary for me. Can I pick up the challenge and deal with these scary monsters? Can I feel the fear and do it anyway? I haven’t even read the book!

This time it takes me a bit longer to feel right with it. I want so much to have the ability to accept that not everyone one has to like what I write. But can I actually do it?

Could I use the blog as therapy? I am sure it has been done before.

Could I deal with my issues by writing and learning to accept rejection and judgement and what ever else will come up?

I could work on my blocks and on my blog, sounds like a win win situation.