You just do it.
How do you fight a battle you know you cannot win? It’s a thought that’s kept me up for the past three weeks. I’m pretty much a zombie by now, hoping the coffee I just made which awoke my roommate, will give me the energy boost I need. But I know it won’t.
Fighting against air, it’s an overwhelming feeling of powerlessness and weakness, two feelings that I do not like but accept in this human life as they will allow me to enjoy my victories in the future.
I’m faced with one of the biggest decisions in my career right now. Two options, one choice. As a Belgian actress I have been dreaming of working in the movie industry of Hollywood for as long as I can remember, little did I know how tricky it would be to get access to the paper we call “work visa.”
We, international students, start out with great energy and thrive until we are introduced to “The Visa Proces.” Starting with the Student Visa we work our way up to the OPT (Optional Practical Training) and eventually apply for the work visa, which in my case is the O-1B Artist Visa. Even harder to obtain ever since we allowed a psychopath in the Oval Office.
Only a few weeks ago it has come to my attention that a massive amount of O-1B Visa applications have been denied from Europe under the disguise of the travel ban. The country is only allowing visa’s for people who are of “grand national importance.” Meaning, if you’re not the European Brad Pitt or inventor of the COVID vaccine curing America first, then the rest of the world… you can forget about it. It’s an immediate, unapologetic and brutal denial.
You might ask yourself “why am I still reading this? What does the headline have to do with what I’ve read so far?”
Well, this is my unfightable fight. I find myself at the crossroad of staying or going home during my visa proces. On the one hand staying in the United States means I will continue stagnation and compromise my mental health for another six to nine more months within my personal four wall prison. On the other hand, going home under the current political circumstances means I will not be able to return to the United States for most probably the next four to six years. Mind you, I’ll be thirty by that time. It’s a situation many friends of mine and other internationals are faced with today.
So is going home giving up? I always thought it was, until I decided it wasn’t. I thought I had to keep struggling and suffering for my dreams, which I did and would continue to do but I realised that this is a battle I cannot fight as my future here is at the good graces of the one man in office who doesn’t want me here. The upcoming elections will therefore be of utmost importance to anyone looking to work and stay in the United States without fearing deportation on a daily basis.
Having compromised my mental health now for at least six months I decided that enough was enough. It is better to take a step back and to grow in a healthy way than clenching onto a situation completely out of your hands.
A friend once told me, “your goal stays the same but your journey has to be flexible.” Though I’m not fond of the overused influencer word “journey”, he has a good point. You can fight the unfightable by taking a step back instead of clenching onto it, because the tighter you hold onto something the more it slips away. Let it breathe.