They Asked Me to Give a Speech And I Cried Like a Baby.

I’ve been writing, I just haven’t been posting. After my rough November things got to the point where I needed to take several steps back, re-evaluate, and come up with a real plan to take care of myself. This included stopping the posting of my writing because sharing my experiences was actually contributing to my problems.

I suffer from anxiety and my time in Korea has helped me realize that I have struggled with this disease for a very, very long time. I don’t want to get too into this right now, I feel like anxiety is trending in Hollywood and everywhere you turn. In a way it’s good because people are becoming aware and the stigma might be going away (slightly). In a way it’s bad because of the possibility of people being desensitized and not taking it seriously. The details about my anxiety is not the focus of this post but I needed to preface with the fact so that the rest of the post makes sense.

On my last week at my job teaching at a public elementary school in Daegu South Korea, I went to a work dinner. It was a welcome dinner for new teachers and a goodbye dinner for me. My contract ended one month into the new school year in late March. I was asked to give a speech about my experience teaching at the school and my time in Korea. I kept is short. I lied and said I had an amazing year. I did not. It was actually an incredibly challenging year coping with my anxiety and coming to terms with the decision I had made to walk away from my career in television production. In the society we live in, we are defined by what we do for a living. When you take the title away, you are faced with who you really are and how you want to define yourself. I ended my speech by saying that the school had amazing children and that I would miss them very much. This was not a lie. I had grown very attached to a lot of the kids and they, without knowing, helped me get through the year. At that moment, I choked. It all hit me at once. I had made it through the year even though I had so many moments where I thought I just wasn’t going to make it.

My anxiety kept me away from making friends and building substantial relationships in Korea. While in Daegu, I stayed away from people on purpose because I knew I wasn’t fully myself. And I feel like it was what I needed to do to get better. Long story short, I was able to get professional help for the first time in my life, and I am SOOO much better now.

I had decided that I would not be renewing my contract at my school in Daegu some time during my terrible November. There was no way I would continue working with ‘Sir Teach Alone.’ What I didn’t know was that I would be teaching with with 2 new co-teachers for my last month at the school. My cool co-teacher had become a homeroom teacher and my nightmare guy co-teacher had left the school to work elsewhere. My main co-teacher and I had become sort of friends and I was still teaching with her. The two new co-teachers were super cool. It actually bothered me that they weren’t around during my difficult year. I think we could have not only been co-workers but good friends. Anyway, here is a picture of us on my last week when they took me out to dinner.

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Here’s me with some of my kids on my last day of school and some of the cards they made me for my send off.

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So, where am I now? Believe it or not I decided to stay in Korea. I surprised myself with that decision too. Only this time I would stay on my own terms. I moved to a city called Suwon, closer to my boyfriend, closer to Seoul and a considerably less conservative city than Daegu. I chose my own living situation and found a very small private academy with amazing  flexible working hours and great coworkers. At the moment, I love my new city, I love my new job and I absolutely love my new apartment. I was talking to a friend the other day and I caught myself, in the most natural way, without any thought or hesitation saying, ‘I’m happy.’ I still have a lot of work to do to reach my new goals but, I’m finally in a place where I can move forward rather than the circle that I had been stuck in for so many years.

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