I know what I can do. I can just give up, go back to Czech and pretend this never happened. I can just give up. It would be so much easier than anything else at this point…
I’ve reached the end of my wits. After almost four years in the US – and such years those were! – I don’t know what else I can do to stay here. I’m scared and tired of the whole immigration system. But why do I want to stay in the first place?
I found a home here, both in the land and the people.
I found a home in the most beautiful places, places that make me feel safe and sound, places that bring peace to my mind and make my heart flutter. Places I care about that care about me.
I found a home with the most beautiful people, people that make me feel loved and understood, people that encourage me when I’m doubtful and support me when I’m falling. People whom I care about and who care about me.
It wasn’t a smooth sailing to get to that point; instead, it was a rocky road. I don’t love my life here because it would be easy. I love my life here because of the struggle I had to go through to get where I am now. I fought with my mental health, overeating, and crazy working hours. I struggled with visas and the legality of my stay in the country. A lot of time I was lonely, lost and exhausted. It took two years before I would even start to see the life I could have, the life I was working so hard for. It was the past year and a half what I would call the best time of my life.
During this time, I really connected with people whom I know I want to have in my life until the end and beyond. During this time, I found a place where I felt with my whole being how my life could unfold there. I wanted to get a job and start working hard in order to stay there. And I know I could do it. I know I could get a job and have the life that’s calling me, life filled with hard work, loving people, and sense of fulfillment.
So what is standing in my way? If I know I have the potential, if I know I can do it, if I know that that’s my life… why can’t I do it?
Because of the legality of my stay in the place that is my home. I am not a U.S. citizen. I’ve been here on different types of visa. But as much as visas allow me to stay in this country, they are also unbelievably restricting.
I won’t dive into it. It’s a cold and unforgiving river of confusion, trying to explain why exactly I can’t stay unless I go to school, why I can’t keep going to school, or why it’s illegal for me to get a job. And I’ve been swimming through it for way too long.
I’ve been diving into the river, searching for a solution. And every time I thought I found one, a strong current of laws or rules ripped it out of my hands. Sometimes, I thought I had it. I started swimming to the surface only to find it frozen over with thick ice, another barrier separating me from my life. Then the strong currents would start pulling on me again, ripping the life I know I could have from my hands.
The people who I’ve met along the way, the people that are more like my family than anything else tried to help me, tried throw me a few lifebuoys. But even those didn’t make it through the vicious waters of the river. I would grab them and float for a little while until a new current would rip them out of my hands, too, taking away all the possibilities.
And here came the point when I can’t swim anymore. The river is too cold and battling the currents is becoming too exhausting. I know I’m about to start drowning. I don’t know what else to do, what else to grab onto.
I know I could be strong and independent but the laws make it impossible.
There is one thing I can do. I can just give up, let the river take me away from the places and people I care about, take me away from where I could be and was, despite or maybe because of all the hardships, happy. I can go back to Czech and pretend this never happened. I can just give up. It would be so much easier than anything else at this point.
I don’t know what to do. I know what I want to do, and I know what my tired and terrified self wants to do. But I feel like I’ve run out of options in a country that used to portray itself as the shining beacon of new beginnings and hope.
I never planned to come to America in the first place. I never wanted to. But it happened and it felt like the most right thing in the world, even though it wasn’t easy. And now, when I have a home and a life here, suddenly, I’m being pushed to leave it all behind.
I know, hope dies last. It is still in me, I can feel it. But it’s barely alive; the fire is no longer the burning ball of flame giving off heat, a personal sun right in the middle of my heart. Right now, it’s barely a candle trying to bring light to an entire universe.
Hopefully, a candlelight is enough to get me through.
Just don’t blow it out, please…
I want to apologize for this mildly depressing post. I know this is probably not what most of you came here for. But I’ve promised myself that I would keep this blog real, and this is the reality of my everyday life. I promise I have more beautiful posts from trips and nature coming. The world is still beautiful, even with all this. But all this is a part of it, too – and it can’t be left out.
I also wrote a big paper on immigration laws and the situation at the border and in detention centers for my political science class. Please let me know in the comments if you’d like to read it.
This is all for today. Wherever you are, walking by the candlelight or drowning in a river, please, remember that I am thinking of you and hoping with all my heart that you can beat the currents and turn the candle into a sun. I love you and I know you’re trying your very best. Please, whatever it is… don’t give up.