The 10 Question Challenge continues:
What challenges am I facing… Plenty :D
But this week has concretized the main challenge that stands between me and a life worth living here in Estonia; my personality.
I have to say, as much as I dislike the unsocial and oftentimes even hostile nature of the Estonian and Estonian-Russian people, I have to take my hat off for their undisputed honesty. I really appreciate it when people speak their minds to me and in the past two weeks I have heard honest, albeit at first hard to accept, reasons for why I struggle to find a decent job in this country.
To sum it up I’ll borrow the words of a certain HR person who very sweetly put it like this: “You have this sunshine around you and it can be intimidating for some of us shy people.” I gotta admit, she’s correct… Now I know what bittersweet feels like.
I have a tattoo on my shoulder, a butterfly. Basically it’s my growth story stamped in my skin, the story of an ugly duckling; an akward girl who grew into a beautiful, confident woman just like a worm transforms into a gorgeous flying… bug.
But more to the point, unfortunately confidence is a very scarce resource in Northern Europe. Actually worldwide if you think about women and how many of them unnecessarily struggle with confidence issues, but in the North it’s embedded into our DNA and taught to us at home and school. “Be quiet, be unnoticeable, stay out of the way.”
My issue is I’m extremely bad at taking orders (I would’ve done very badly in the army!). Great at giving them but very poor at taking them. If you give me an order, especially with a wrong tone of voice, it’s more likely I will do the exact opposite. So no, I never settled for the stereotype of a Finn. Which is why, in the end, I didn’t feel I belonged there. I was called names at school for being the only person wearing high heels but I wore them anyway. I always embarrassed my family in public places because the volume of my voice is much higher than what you would find the average volume of a huge crowd in a market place in Finland to be.
So, not a tiny challenge to handle this personality issue.
Solution: go somewhere else. After all I know from experience that there are countries and cultures out there, not even that far away, where I feel completely at home and I don’t need to hold back who I am at all.