Coming Back “Different”

Okay, I’m going to be really honest with you.

I have a quite a few fears about coming home.

One big one being how people are going to interpret/feel about me coming back “different” or “changed”.

Now, I totally understand, that no matter what, I’m going to come home to people who love and support me.

But, I know I’m going to be coming back changed. A different version of Sydney that boarded an airplane to Chicago last August.

I’m going to voice my opinions more because I’ve grown in my confidence in taking space in a conversation.
I’m going to have new opinions of topics I might have had a different opinion on before I left.
I’m going to say something instead of rolling my eyes when something inappropriate is said.
I’m going to proudly stand with minority groups because I’ve seen what happens when no one stands with them.
I’m going to talk about privilege a lot because it’s my responsibility to recognize/acknowledge how much I have and what I can do with it.
I’m going to value the importance of self-care because I’ve been living in a culture that values it and have seen the fruits that come from it.
I may not commit to as much activities/things to do as I have before because I’ve recognized that how much I do will never give me more value as a person.
I will be more open-minded about a lot of different topics because this year has taught me to “lean into ambiguity”.

Though these are only some of the changes one might see in this “New Sydney” that will return to the States in July, I don’t want anyone to think that I think I’m “better than them” because now I have this “worldly experience”.

I’m so beyond grateful for this opportunity, and I understand that not a lot of people have an experience like I am having.

But this year has really been a jumping off point into a deeper self-acceptance for me, and I want to be clear that this “New Sydney”, the latest version of me, is here to stay (with no apologies).

2 thoughts on “Coming Back “Different”

  1. Sydney,

    This is SO true! You have lived another life, for almost a year, and it has/will change you forever. While my experience was much smaller than yours, I remember coming back from 3 months in Turkey and feeling very different. Everyone was still talking about the same things they were talking about three months prior to my leaving…and well, I had so many more experiences and feelings that it seemed impossible to “connect” again. You’re right—you are not feeling better than the others, you are just feeling MUCH more globally. To this day, I cannot tolerate the condemnation of all Moslems, because I LIVED with them and loved them. I cannot, and will not, forget that.

    You are different, but you are STILL Sydney, whom we all love. You may need to “cut us some slack”, not by ignoring our comments/thoughts, but by helping us to re-frame them and re-consider our biases. I want to see the “new” Sydney and learn from you.

    I think I am going to love the new Sydney!




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