I’m Afraid to Tell You

May 3, 2012

Today I’m participating in a blogging challenge organized by the wonderful Ez of Creature Comforts. Inspired by this post, Ez rounded up a whole bunch of bloggers and challenged us to share what we’re afraid to share. 

When I visited America for Thanksgiving last year, one of my best friends commented that she was surprised to hear I was struggling in a few areas of my life because it seemed from my blog that life was just great. At the time, I was unhappy in my job and trying to decide if I should leave it to pursue other opportunities.

I suppose I must have been complaining a little (sorry Beck!), and for the most part, I try not to do that on my blog. Every once in a while I talk about my struggles (like herehere and here), and writing about them here on FCV helps me to process and see the solutions. Often those posts that start out as a story about a struggle turn into a story about a solution. 

But today, for me at least, is about sharing a few of my struggles and insecurities without worrying about the solution just yet. So here we go, three things I’m afraid to tell you.

I’ve acquired a little Irish accent.

I don’t mean to do it, but I say certain words with an Irish accent. In my day job, it makes it easier to blend in if I’m answering the phone, and it keeps the focus off me. It’s easier if I’m not the center of a conversation about where I’m from, how long I’ve lived here, do I miss my family, and all of the inevitable questions.

But some days I don’t recognize my own voice. I hear myself say certain words and I can’t even believe they came out of my mouth. Some days I miss the old me – the old sayings I must have used, and even my American accent. I hung onto words like trash can (not bin) and sidewalk (not footpath) for years, but now I can feel them slipping away.

I’m scared of moving back to America, and I’m scared of never moving back to America. 

We’re not planning to move back to America. For now, we’re settled and happy here. When people ask if we’ll ever move back, I usually say maybe we will in a few years. But if I’m being really honest with myself, I’m not sure if that will really happen, and I’m not sure which scenario scares me more.

It scares me to think of myself, fifty years from now, still living in Ireland and only visiting America in the summers and at Thanksgiving. But the thought of moving back to America is scary as well. Over the last few years, I’ve felt this growing feeling that America is full of people who are smarter, edgier, hipper than me. What if when we move back, I don’t know how to play the game anymore?

I was raised Catholic, but I now consider myself Christian.* 

I was raised in an Irish Catholic family, and I made my first communion and confirmation but as I grew older, I felt that being Catholic wasn’t a good fit for me.

When I married Michael, I started learning about his faith. After a few years of exploring, praying and studying with kind friends, I decided to get baptised as a Christian last summer. It was a wild day, with lashing rain and hurricane winds, and a group of our friends gathered on the beach to witness me getting dunked into the Irish Sea. (It’s the one time I’ve ever been in the Irish Sea!)

My faith isn’t something I talk about very much, but it’s a big part of how I live my life and how Michael and I live our life together. Religion and spirituality are very personal and often a little tricky. I sometimes worry that my family and friends back home think I married Michael and blindly adopted everything he believes. But I think that’s a worry I’ve made up on my own; I think they just want me to be happy.

***

Thanks to Ez for pushing us to do this challenge – my heart is thumping knowing that I’m about to click publish and you’ll all be reading what I’ve written. That last one was especially hard to share, but I know that’s a lesson in itself. Thanks for reading and accepting! 

*Thanks so much for all of your comments, they have all been so encouraging and informative! I did want to note that I understand Catholicism is a form of Christianity. However, in Ireland (at least in my circle of friends) we would think of ourselves as Christian. Perhaps technically, it’s more like evangelical Christian in America. But I do accept it’s changing denominations, not religions. Either way, it was a big leap for me!

48 Comments

  • Reply Debi Livsey May 3, 2012 at 5:57 pm

    How generous of you at such a young age to be so honest. You are a very enlightened women of this Planet. Ireland is blessed to have you….for now. There will be more changes before the curtain goes down, not to worry about critics, they are people affraid to live…..?Debi

  • Reply Amy Renea May 3, 2012 at 6:01 pm

    I would hasten to say that most Americans think that Ireland is FAR cooler and that the “game” is nothing but a show :)

    …and I’d love to hear your Irish accent…I wish I had an Irish accent…of course that is me — a living in America American and I can understand the clinging to the words of your home. Makes all the sense in the world.

    Now the real question is — ummm – when can I come visit in Ireland??

    • Reply emily May 3, 2012 at 10:29 pm

      Please do come visit! It is truly beautiful and fun and funky, even if that accent is taking over! :)

  • Reply Mike Murphy May 3, 2012 at 8:09 pm

    Very brave of you to take part in this project. I tell my secrets to nearest and dearest and occasionally to strangers. I am glad you wrote about being brought up a Catholic and that you now consider yourself being Christian.

    I enjoy whatever you post and like the photos of your trips.

    • Reply emily May 3, 2012 at 10:30 pm

      Thanks, Mike, for your encouragement!

  • Reply Things I’m Afraid To Tell You. : :: plurabelle calligraphy >> a blog May 3, 2012 at 8:27 pm

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  • Reply hannah singer May 3, 2012 at 9:26 pm

    you’re so lovely! thanks for sharing this post.
    sounds like your faith is your own, that is such a blessing and a thing to be proud of. also? i would love an irish accent:)

    enjoy your day! xo

    • Reply emily May 3, 2012 at 10:33 pm

      Thanks, Hannah! Sounds like it might be time for a little primer on the Irish lingo. Who knew!? Thanks for making me feel like I can own my Irish accent now!

  • Reply Chelsea C. May 3, 2012 at 9:57 pm

    Love, love, love this, and I’d love to be in on it next time! Some of my favorite blog content to read is people getting real. xoxoxo

    • Reply emily May 3, 2012 at 10:34 pm

      Thanks, Chelsea! Been loving your real-ness on Lovely Indeed lately as well!

  • Reply Anita May 3, 2012 at 11:39 pm

    You were very brave to be so open & honest. For what it worth, I support your wording regarding your faith and I “get” what you were trying to say.

    As far as fitting in in the US, you’d be fine. Things here haven’t changed THAT much!

  • Reply Emily May 4, 2012 at 1:47 am

    Way to go Em! Very honest and open, and wonderful to read. Made me think of my own “things I’m afraid to tell you” list.

  • Reply ashley // chasing heartbeats May 4, 2012 at 8:09 am

    i am loving reading these posts! Now i am thinking of writing my own, which terrifies me a bit. I definitely also have really conflicted feelings about moving back to the US, part of me loves my life here, but i feel like part of my heart is left with my family and friends back in California. I guess I hope I can somehow come into enough money to live in both places part of the year forever :)
    and the accent I totally understand! Here in Germany things are better, but when I lived in France and had lots more British friends I felt myself emulating their speech all the time- it felt so strange!

    • Reply emily May 4, 2012 at 3:36 pm

      I think living in both places is a great solution! Travel, travel, travel will work for at least a little while longer, right?! Look forward to reading your list if and when you’re ready!

  • Reply Rachael May 4, 2012 at 9:06 am

    I just found your blog and love it! It’s so nice to read the adventures of other expats. I can totally relate to your being scared to never move back to America and to move back at the same time. It’s coming up on my 4th year in Amsterdam and moving back is what I want and don’t want at the same time! Newest follower :)

    • Reply emily May 4, 2012 at 3:33 pm

      Thanks, Rachael! So glad to hear another ex-pat who will share my worry! And so glad to have found your blog!

  • Reply Brandi {not your average ordinary} May 4, 2012 at 10:35 am

    Emily, I think this post is so very fantastic. I’ve definitely heard that little bit of an Irish accent slip in now and then when we chat. It’s so cute. And I can understand that moving back to America/not moving back to America dilemma. It’s hard when you love more than one place so very much, especially when there are people you love involved. I’m sure you will figure it all out though, even if it means traveling a bunch.

  • Reply Things I’m Afraid To Tell You | May 4, 2012 at 11:28 am

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  • Reply Sarah Kingston May 4, 2012 at 12:28 pm

    lovely post – way to go em!

    • Reply emily May 4, 2012 at 3:31 pm

      Thanks, Sarah!

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  • Reply Jennifer May 4, 2012 at 5:18 pm

    I’m loving this blog challenge! I’m discovering amazing blogs in the best way – by meeting the person first! Thank you for this post. I’ll be following along from now on!

    • Reply emily May 5, 2012 at 9:11 am

      Thanks, Jennifer! I feel the same way – added lots of new blogs to my reader yesterday. It feels so great when you instantly feel connected to the blogger!

  • Reply Birdy May 4, 2012 at 7:48 pm

    What’s the difference between a “Christian” and a “Catholic?” Catholics are Christian… So did you become Presbyterian? Non-denominational Christian?

    • Reply emily May 5, 2012 at 9:10 am

      Hi Birdy, I suppose I should have clarified. There are lots fewer options over here – really only Catholic and Church of Ireland (Protestant). I think technically we’re evangelical Christians, but we just call it Christian over here.

  • Reply Leslie May 5, 2012 at 3:48 am

    I am enjoying reading through all the blog posts as a result of Ez’s challenge but I relate to yours the most. I live in Australia but I am originally from Scotland and I worry that I will never live in Scotland again but I am not sure if I could go back. I am guessing this is just part of the expat life. I also get kinda upset when people from back home think I am sounding a little Aussie.
    Anyway, thanks for being honest. It’s good to hear I am not alone. Oh and I really enjoy your blog, I found it first via Poppytalk.

  • Reply Meagan May 5, 2012 at 9:01 pm

    Ahhhhhhh lady! First off – I have a ridiculous odd brogue that confounds most that talk to me. And you should chat with me once I have had a few glasses of wine! Dear lord. I always said some words different growing up with an Irish mom (friends would DIE in fits of laughter about how I said ‘Ireland’) but when I lived in N.Ireland it got WAY worse. Before moving there – I swore I wouldn’t pick up their colloquialisms – minging, mizzle, cuppa, carriageway, carboot…. The list goes on. But eventually I gave up – I found myself turning on the charm at the local butcher JUST so he could understand me. It’s just easier. I totally get it – it is generally just easier to blend in. I hated when people stared at me because I spoke differently. Oddly, I have only been gone 9 months and I have already ‘lost’ many of the words (that I was trying to think of to include in this comment). I know when I step off the plain I will be right back there…
    People laugh at me all the time about my brogue – and whatever! I don’t care anymore. I even get asked what part of Ireland I grew up in :) hehe.. Or better yet, what part of the North am I from! That makes Brian die of laughter :) Secretly, he loves it.
    Anyways Emily – love this post – I am slowing getting through everyone’s, so many amazing honest posts were spawned from this very real topic.
    All the best – have fun in Clare!!!
    Meagan

  • Reply FashionableLena May 7, 2012 at 9:11 pm

    Actually, Catholicism is a form of Christianity. Just like Baptist, Episcopalian, Methodist…You haven’t changed religions. You’ve just changed denominations. In order to not be Christian, you could, for example, be Jewish. Then you would be a non-christian.
    As someone who was born and raised old-school Southern Baptist, I get what you’re saying. We’re now Episcopal, and I feel more comfortable with this denomination than what I was raised.

    • Reply emily May 9, 2012 at 9:58 am

      Thanks, Lena. Over here, we don’t have so many denominations as are recognized in America. What we call Christian would probably be evangelical Christian in America. Sorry for the confusion!

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  • Reply Danny Faloon July 9, 2012 at 10:31 pm

    Hello Emily; I follow your posts with a greedy eagerness but seldom respond because my comments seem so dull and pedestrian.
    I was so moved by your comment: “Often those posts that start out as a story about a struggle turn into a story about a solution.” I just HAVE to send you something to show my gratitude and appreciation. It was a “eureka” moment for me. I finally understand why I write incessantly and follow my friends’ posts so intently. By writing about my “situations”, I am able to step back, clarify, distil, and resolve most anything.
    Oh, it seems simple now but this concept had completely eluded me.
    Thanks and keep up the stellar writing!

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