How I didn’t overcome my fear
People have often told me to let go and not be afraid, but when you’ve built a life around fear based decision or impulses, this isn’t the easiest thing to do. My parents have taught me to always plan for the worst. When I’ve told them that I’ve wanted to do something, they usually think of all the various “what if’s” to make sure that all bases are covered. While, I appreciate their desire for me to always make the best choice, considering all the negatives first only highlights the difficulties and has often talked me out of doing things. Unfortunately, I have even taken this farther; not only have I learned to plan for or consider the worst, I’ve sincerely believed it might happen.
All this goes without saying that I still have made a fair share of wrong decisions, even if I have considered the bad things that could happen. My impulsive and stubborn nature has often fought so wildly against my fear or wisdom that I just sometimes dare myself to try. On the other hand, this fear of things going wrong or not working (ie. applying for a job, or being asked to do something I don’t want to do) has also resulted in me not doing anything at times.
Presently, my biggest potential case for fear is around my relationship. First though, I want to express how blessed I am for my relationship with B. He is incredible, loving, absolutely attractive and so fearless. After 2 years filled with some very irrational and unjustified fears, I’ve finally realized how ready I am to commit to him. The odd truth is that even though he might say that he’s been unsure in the past, he has always, always embraced me with open arms. He’s never once shunned my affection or dodged talking things through. Never. Ever.
A couple of factors have made our situation a little tricky. When we met, I had already committed to teaching for one more year in Korea. The distance stood against us. We felt very distant and emotionally separated from each other at times, but we somehow persevered.
The other justified angst: our citizenship. I’m American, he’s Swedish. Jumping from visa to visa to legally be together can be expensive and draining. While having a flexible and unpredictable plan seems freeing, it can also be unreliable and tricky when planning ahead. We’ve heard how difficult it can be to get a visa to another country, not to mention the waiting time for a decision. We had attempted to start the process when I was in Korea, but since he wasn’t and still isn’t presently living in Sweden, it was a bit more challenging as we didn’t know at that time when he’d be returning back. All this is necessary information for the National Migration Board (Migrationsverket) in Sweden.
Though we’re together now (I’m on my tourist visa), I’ve committed to going to Taiwan for April and May. My plan was then to head back to my family in California. While we felt like this would be good for me, we’d been concerned that it would only delay processing my Swedish visa due to all my traveling about. I’d heard that one had to be in the states when applying or in one location (outside Sweden) during the waiting time. Regardless, we’ve had high aspirations to move to Sweden by the end of summer, but I’ve been beginning to wonder if maybe it was being a bit too hopeful.
So, how does one get a visa to Sweden? In Sweden, there’s the infamous SAMBO visa, which is a common law spousal and partner cohabitation visa. The government is recognizing the union of the couple, without actually requiring them to be officially married. In my opinion, this is practically like marriage though, just without the white dress. I mean, the state or country is granting permission for the two to be together, which I think is wonderful!! I hear its a nightmare getting a visa for a partner/spouse in the states.
Good news is that you can apply online for the visa through migrationsverket. We considered submitting my application now (January) and crossing our fingers that maybe, just maybe, I’d be able to interview at the Swedish Embassy here in Oslo. It’s not like I’m doing much else for the next 2 months. But, how long would it take for me to hear back to get an interview?? Were the rumors true: would I have to return to the states when processing a visa of this nature?
Questions in hand we called the Swedish Embassy in Oslo, which is much easier than calling Migrationsverket in Sweden and waiting in the queue for endless amounts of time. The woman cheerfully told us to bring in our application to the Embassy in Oslo, but that I’d still have to interview in my home country. At the end of the conversation, she told my boyfriend in Swedish that since I was American, a visa would be no problem.
Ahhh, how hope rises….
Interviewing in the states didn’t make much sense to me though as I have my US passport and am legally in Norway. It’s not like I’d be interviewing with American’s in America. I still would have to interview with a Swedish person at the Embassy in the states.
Luck was on our side, or maybe it was charm, but the woman was so enthusiastic at the depth and organization of my application (thank you Mom for the good preparation skills) that she wanted to see if she could expedite the process. 3 minutes later, I was getting my biometrics completed and penciled in for an interview within 12 days.
Of course, there’s always that underlying fear: what if my application is rejected?! I can’t find any reason why they would reject it, but that’s an honest fear. As B’s flatmate said, “when you’re afraid of something, just press forward fearlessly and face it.”
By chance, I happened to revisit a post I’d written, nearly two years ago. After looking through old posts I’ve written and my present state of mind, it seems that I haven’t overcome any amount of fear. It’s all still there. I suppose the difference between now and then (being 7 years ago before yoga and all this travel), is that now I’m still moving. Albeit, sometimes its been blindly going forward, but I don’t feel stuck in one place. Whatever the future, I am still so grateful for what my relationship has brought to my life. Though fears arise, I pray to maintain peace, clarity and faith…it will be alright, it will be the way its meant to be.
I am ready, I was born ready :-). Details of the interview to come after tomorrow!!
- Sweden sets new immigration record in 2012 (icenews.is)