I found myself cramped into a window seat on the number 64 bus. An old Italian woman was pushing herself up against me and the bus engine had just turned on. I didn’t know why but suddenly I was crying.
I had come to Rome after a difficult seven months. In those seven months prior, I had fought with anxiety, loneliness, anger, grief, loss, helplessness, sadness and stress on a scale that I’d never felt before. Rome was going to be my saviour. It was going to be a place where I could heal, work on myself and fall back in love with my degree before returning to Oxford for my Final exams.
And I did heal, slowly.
So why was I crying?
Being in Rome for three months not only gave me back my independence and freedom, but it also allowed me to spend time alone and discover more about myself. Spending a lot of time with my own thoughts meant that I could slowly pick apart how I was feeling. I could ask myself what I had learnt over the past seven months; what I had lost over the past seven months; and ultimately, why I thought these things had happened to me. The last question was especially important when I found myself in an almost identical situation to the one that I was still licking wounds from.
Did I do something in a past life to deserve these? Is there something terribly wrong with me?
These are both questions I’m sure many people ask when they find themselves in horrible situations. And the answer to both is a resounding no. You can never control what happens to you, but you can control how you react. And you can also try to see the positives from the experience: what lessons can you learn? What could you have done better? It’s difficult to do and takes emotional maturity to dig deep within yourself; and it takes bravery to be brutally honest, too.
So why was I crying?
Well, I did these things. I took a good hard look at myself and took responsibility for my actions in the past. I identified what I could have done better, what went wrong from my side, and where lines of communication got twisted. I asked myself why was it that I seemed to be attracting female narcissists into my life who were hell-bent on making my life a misery? An interesting explanation, I’m sure psychologists would say.
And then I dug even deeper.
Do I subconsciously behave in a way that makes people reject me because rejection is the first thing I learnt as a baby? Or do I attract people into my life who have experienced some kind of major trauma because I too have been traumatised? How deeply connected are these situations/people I attract/my behaviour with the fact that I am adopted?
I was crying because I had come to Rome to heal and, while I have had an incredible three months, I have also not had the smoothest ride. I was crying because I was confused and angry that I had gone through an almost identical situation that I was desperately trying to escape from. I was crying because, as I thought about the effects adoption has had on shaping my identity and the influence it has had on my behaviour, I realised that actually, this is what healing is all about. And Rome had been healing me.
Peace and love,