I moved out of my country 15 months ago to embrace a professional challenge with my 6-year old son and my, then, husband.
I am originally from Brazil and moved to Santiago de Chile.
It has been one of the hardest things I ever had to do. I inherited a team that was falling to pieces and used to report to a manager that had been out on a psychiatric leave for over a year. The area manager is an amazing, lovely person, and that usually comes with restricted abilities to set boundaries and face tough decisions.
My husband agreed to come with me because he felt he had to. In his heart he never wanted to leave his parents, grandma, friends (both of them) and sisters behind. He felt guilty because of it and constantly told our son that we had to endure the sacrifice of living here as much as possible so that I could fulfill my professional goals. That meant I grinded from 9am to 6pm at the office and then come home to what felt like a second job. We were a sad family.
By late September I was finally in the right place to end this 11-year-old relationship.
Came October and the chilean people decided to start their own awakening and a social and political revolution kick started. It looked like they had left behind a dormant, acceptant behavior to become an empowered and angry version of themselves. There were protests all over the country and we were advised not to leave the house.
I was grieving for multiple reasons.
Just when I was supposed to start living my life I could not go outside because of fear. Malls closed, offices closed, and suddenly home office was a thing.
By mid-November things started to go back to a new normalcy which was that employees now hated everyone who gave them directions, earned more money, dressed better, you name it. I was being bombarded from all around me.
When it came time for the holidays I just wanted to be alone. My son was going to Brazil with his dad and I was thrilled to be left behind all by myself. I canceled every plan there ever was, disappointment some people but was able to say out loud what I wanted to do: be A-L-O-N-E.
2 weeks of not answering the phone, not working, not going to the supermarket, just doing whatever the hell I wanted. I was exhausted. I needed to rest. I had craved this break. But inside I was miserable.
Came January I returned to work and to a somewhat normal life. Although my son was still away, and I could make the most of my new single life I stayed in all the time. Refused all (little) invitations to go out and just stayed home.
My son got back late February and I went from total lazy popcorn-at-11am-staying-in-pijamas-all-day-routine to the hectic mom life. All I could feel was guilt. I love my kid more than the world, but I would die inside every time he asked me to play and I wanted to sit on the couch and read. I had to be there for him even if it meant erasing my own will and needs.
I was able to accomplish that for the first couple of weeks and then I was exhausted. Not paying attention to oneself is really tiring.
On top of that I had to do everything right because his dad would be watching. From afar but I could feel the pressure to be perfect. He would call our son to ask what he had been eating.
Less than a month later we were in quarantine.
The silver lining is that now it is mandatory to stay home. I am not home because it is dangerous to go outside. I am not home while disappointing others. I am not home because I am lonely. I am not home because I am burnt out. I am home because someone told me to.
No guilt, no pressure, no decision making from my end. Being a victim of a global pandemic can be really comforting.
Boy, I needed that.
I cook whatever I have in the kitchen. I can play with my son while laying down. I can watch Netflix while he is on YouTube. No taking him to extracurricular activities. No coaching the maid. No demands from the boss. No pressure from the team. No firing or hiring. No makeup and bra required.
I am finally free.