Life marches on. The seconds tick into minutes, the minutes become hours, the hours fall into days, and the hours stack themselves neatly into weeks. I’m happy, despite the fact that the war inside my head isn’t over. Based on the life I’ve lived so far, I doubt it ever will be. It’s relatively easy now for me to drag Meatsuit down to the basement and force it to sweat on Le Monstre for 30 minutes at a time. But it never happens without SOME mental dragging of feet, without SOME internal resistance, without SOME effort required to get myself moving, to change into workout clothes, and to pay what I owe.
It’s easier, but never quite automatic, I suppose you could say that for work, too, and for anything I need to do here in French. It’s easier, but never quite automatic.
Except for the phone greeting. “Merci d’avoir appelé l’hôtel Delta Saguenay. Mon nom est Megan, comment puis-je vous aider?” That rolls off my tongue now so easily that I can actually continue doing something on the computer or continue with some other task while answering the phone. I remember repeating that greeting aloud in the shower, so scared of the moment when they would start to expect me to start answering the phone. That was only four or five short weeks ago. Now, it’s just something I do.
It’s funny how huge changes arrive one tiny, almost imperceptible increment at a time. Living life second-by-second, minute-by-minute, day-by-day, week-by-week, it’s easy to miss the changes. However, from my vantage point in the Now, I can easily look back and see how far I’ve come.
I started this blog two years ago, as an unemployed housewife with no French, with no immigration status, living alone in a predominantly French area while my husband was on course 600 km away, when I didn’t have much to do except look forward to the start of a very part-time French course and try to pass the time. Now, I type into the blank space as a Canadian permanent resident who can call myself bilingual, who thinks nothing of making 5 or 6 phone calls to strangers to talk about a problem with a car, who can do pretty much anything life requires in my second language, including working in a service position.
Sometimes it’s hard to see the progress we’re making, when the strides we make are so small, each one so insignificant alone. But each step we take adds up. When we keep making decisions, moment after moment, day after day, progress accumulates. Even when some of the steps we take are backward, as long as more are forward, and as long as when we stall out, we find the will to start again, things happen.
If it were easy enough to call automatic, I don’t suppose I would feel the immense pride I feel right now, just for being me and meeting the challenges that life places in front of me. I’m changing, and not just because I was uprooted and planted somewhere else. I’m changing because every day, I make decisions. I decide to exercise. I decide to greet life head on. I decide to go to work where they don’t often speak “my” language. I decide to try to make a little joke in my second language with someone who seems outgoing and friendly. I decide. And by deciding, I become, each second-minute-hour-day-week-month-year, more of who I want to be. By deciding, I’m becoming, and I LIKE what I’m becoming.