Two years ago, I was strolling around haphazardly on a Roman street, breathing in the umber leaves and aching inside.
I turned to my cousin and exclaimed, “God, I wish I could live here.”
I will never forget my first trip abroad, how I fell in love with another culture and appreciated that everything needn’t be done the “American way.” But really, there is a part of my soul that’s always been looking to live elsewhere. If life is short and we only get so much time, why not be in a place that makes your heart race with purpose and possibility?
But I have to live in Los Angeles, my negative self always said. That’s where your career is.
We tell ourselves considerable lies throughout our lives. Not only are there plenty of opportunities for writers all around the world, but little did I know, there was a global pandemic coming. A pandemic that proved **most of us** can pivot and work from home.
Though my part-time teaching gig was over, I increased my marketing as a web-designer, script editor, and writing consultant.
About 7 months later, my boyfriend and me were hurriedly packing bags, cleaning our former apartment, and schlepping to LAX.
We were relocating. To Italy.
I couldn’t believe it — in a year and a half, that romantic wish that I’d whispered to the trees was coming true.
My friend and colleague Maddie McGuire published a fantastic article on IMPOSTER SYNDROME. As a longtime sufferer, first time admitter, this really hit home for me. She said:
“(Imposter Syndrome) shows up in many forms to remind you you’re not good enough or deserving enough. It is standing in the way of your success.” ― Maddie McGuire, “You Need to Overcome Imposter Syndrome to Own Your Greatness”
I didn’t think I was worthy of my relocation dream coming true, so I didn’t pursue it. I just released it into the sky and I was lucky for it to randomly come true. Deep down, I hold back from pursuing what I actually want, because **gasp!** what if I get it?!
If I don’t get what I want, the reason will be because I didn’t truly try. Not because I’m not (good/smart/talented) enough, which is what I’m the most afraid of. Abstaining from trying is a tactic to avoid REJECTION…a concept so present in my life, I’m writing a book about it.
Fear of rejection is the reason I waited so long to write for Medium, the reason I scrutinize my own scripts to a pulp, and the reason I don’t trust myself to dive into my own life with joy and abandon.
Because what if I fail?
But, in my defense, I made some key life changes that led me (indirectly) to living abroad. This brings me to my manifestation memoir… how I turned my dreams to action and moved abroad:
For the first time, I pursued a relationship while putting myself and my own needs first — Yes, ladies (okay, I’m sure some man somewhere does this too…). It’s actually healthy to put yourself first. I know the trickle down of the 50’s house wife archetype is still holding you back. I’m here to say, it’s okay to put up boundaries around what you’re comfortable with. You deserve to feel good, supported, and secure. Or whatever the hell you want to feel.
I faced my fears — I had lived with my previous roommates for three years and had some trepidation about leaving. I didn’t want to cause any social rifts between myself and them. I also knew from previous moves the cost and stress involved. Lastly, I had never really lived with anyone — what if I sucked at it?!
But in March, the pandemic was getting worse and my boyfriend and I wanted to be in the same place. I bit the bullet, packed up my stuff, and crammed my possessions into his apartment. I was afraid, but we made it work with communication and healthy boundaries. If we hadn’t taken this step together, I don’t think we ever would have left the U.S. 7 months later.
I continued therapy…over zoom — Slowly with the help of my FANTASTIC therapist, I started to view the world as a place of opportunity instead of a place of rejection. I’m still working on EVERYTHING. But having her as a sounding board for most things has truly changed my life.
I trusted the “Big Magic” — Liz Gilbert’s phenomenal book, Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear (read it here!), inspired me to insane depths. Liz discusses how she had a very specific idea for a novel. She’d done some research, but because of a tough personal time, she never wrote it. She did, however, hug a colleague at a party.
About a year later, the colleague called and asked Liz to read a copy of the novel. It was the same idea that Liz had the year before. Liz talks about how ideas and art exist, and we are their conduits. We allow them to come into existence with our good creative work. Liz, perhaps, was supposed to write the book, but she was closed off to creating at that moment. The idea was transferred to her friend, who was ready to write the damn thing.
Additionally, I believe in this phenomenon when it comes to career, life-path, and yes, even location. Someone is going to live in Italy. A great many people will be venerable authors, TV writers, and musicians. If my boyfriend weren’t with me, he’d be with another fabulous person.
Someone has to get the life you want.
I’m wondering, why can’t it be you?
My advice? Don’t whisper to the sky. Shout. Then shout it to everyone you know. Think about the words you shouted when you make every decision. Smile about the words you said, even if you have to wait awhile to see your dreams manifest.
And never forget, (to end on the words of a truly venerable author…)
“The universe buries strange jewels deep within us all, and then stands back to see if we can find them.” ― Elizabeth Gilbert, Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear