A Year of Cruel Uncertainty

Lavender plants
The EU referendum was a year ago today. How different life was then.

I still can not fathom the stupidity of it. I get that a lot of people feel/felt like the government don’t care about them, but still to vote to leave the EU is just insanity. Why would you believe that politicians would give the ‘EU billions’ to the NHS? Of course they wouldn’t. Especially not the Tories, they only care about rich people. And the whole Leave campaign was based on lies and xenophobia.

The lies are just one of many things I find it hard to forgive.

Children and young people won’t have the same opportunities and freedoms as my generation. Freedom to live, study and work in another EU country. Maybe fall in love. Start a family. These things, which so greatly benefit a whole country, a whole continent!, will be a lot harder.

I find it hard to forgive that grievances with ‘London politics’ is a reason to vote to leave the EU. But I guess the Leave campaign did their job properly, making people believe that the EU was the root of all the problems in the country.

The economic fall out has already begun. Big financial companies are leaving, or preparing to leave. EU applications to UK universities are down. Nurses and doctors are leaving or not coming here. I guess that’s one way to reduce immigration!

But that has real life economic repercussions. And those who will be most affected are the most vulnerable. Young people, old people, poor people.

Lavender plants
I find it hard to forgive the xenophobia of the Leave campaign. People who seem to think that being in the EU causes a massive influx of terrorists from so-called Islamic State. The recent terror attacks in London and Manchester have shown very clearly that the terrorists we need to fear are masquerading as neighbours in this country. So another lie.

I find it hard to forgive how hate crimes against EU citizens have risen, emboldened by the result of the referendum. People ask Europeans “when are you going home?” like it is a given that all Europeans must leave.

I find it hard to forgive that little children are afraid that they, or one/both of their parents will be sent ‘home’.

I find it very hard to forgive that we are being used as bargaining chips. I find it hard to forgive that to obtain proof of our legal right to permanent residence in the UK, we must fill in a 85 page long document, along with numerous types of documentation. A document which even solicitors have trouble understanding.

It is hard to forgive that a third of those applications are turned down on technicalities and people are then sent what must be terrifying letters telling them to ‘prepare to leave the country’ (although apparently that wording has been changed, but still).

I haven’t submitted the application yet. I was waiting to see what would happen once the Brexit negotiations started. Yesterday Theresa may told the other EU leaders of her ‘generous offer’ for EU citizens. You can read about it here, and read why it is not good enough, and frankly a bit worrying.

Lavender plants
On a personal level, I will probably never forgive the sleepless nights and the panic attacks, worrying about my future. I can’t forgive how I feel like I have no control over my own future. We are not able to move to Denmark because their immigration policies penalize people who aren’t flush with cash or have a job on arrival. And of course, that’s only made more difficult because I have lived abroad for so long.

And even if we were able to move there, if Tony weren’t an EU citizen that would make it even more complicated.

It is so cruel to keep 3.2 million people in limbo like this. Even Amnesty International are speaking up on our behalf!

The thing I find hardest to forgive is that, for the first time in my life, in some very dark moments I have thought “this is too much. It would be easier if I didn’t existed.” Because in those dark lonely moments, I can’t see how I can stay in the UK without being a second rate citizen, or be allowed to stay at all. But I can’t imagine having to live apart from Tony.

I have no plans on acting on those suicidal thoughts (it’s crossing a big mental line, even using that word!) but I know I’m not alone in feeling like that. I will never forgive the Leave voters for bringing me to such a dark place.

It may seem like life is carrying on as usual, and in some ways it is. I take Blake for walks, plant lavender in the garden, we do the shopping and go to the gym. All normal things. But underneath the day to day, there is a lot of worrying about the future.

The worrying doesn’t stop. The tears are never far away. Nor is the fear that someone is going to attack me, verbally or physically, just because they hear me speaking with an accent or speaking Danish with Tony.

The government could easily have done away with all this, but instead cruelly chose to use us a bargaining chips in their political games.

I am so exhausted by this subtle mental torment that I can’t escape. I wonder if I ever will…

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  1. June 23, 2017 / 2:10 pm

    Similar rumblings of discontent happening here at home too. Mixture of anger, disbelief, disappointment and sorrow.

    • June 26, 2017 / 9:46 am

      All of those emotions! Sorrow, especially. Until you mentioned it, I didn't realise that in between everything else, I am mourning what this country used to be like. What my life used to be like…

  2. June 23, 2017 / 6:47 pm

    I am so sorry you have been struggling. It is tough to feel powerless and afraid. Here in the US, we of progressive persuasion are dealing with our own brand of disbelief and anxiety. My only solace is to practice gratitude and kindness, which can be really challenging some days. Wishing you every comfort in the love of family and friends.

  3. June 24, 2017 / 3:55 pm

    These are troublesome times for all of us, no matter what side of the pond you live on. We've been bombarded with so many fearful things coming at us on a daily basis. I feel your pain and anxiety, but you need to keep your faith and hope. For ourselves, refocus, move forward, and worry about what's in your control. Wishing you peace and comfort.

    • June 26, 2017 / 9:51 am

      Thank you. xx It seems like this past year our two countries have decided to let loose all the worst things in them. It makes me very sad. It is very difficult sometimes, but I do try be hopeful. I am a positive (or naive!) person usually, but this year just has been ugly in so many ways..

  4. June 24, 2017 / 4:09 pm

    My heart goes out to you Carina. I have always thought that Theresa May should have protected the rights of EU citizens living in this country from the off and not used it as a 'bargaining chip'. I am not very proud of my country at the moment and it upsets me greatly to say that. I agree with all you say but please stay positive – most of the ordinary people of the UK love having a mix of cultures to draw from and learn from and welcome you. xx

    • June 26, 2017 / 9:55 am

      Thank you, Angie. Ugh, Theresa May is an awful person. On Friday it came out that she, as the only one in Cameron's last cabinet, had blocked guaranteeing our rights straight away. And now she's using us. What a b*tch. :-(

      I know that most people like a diverse UK, it's just disheartening when the people who are shouting the loudest are the ones who want to get rid of us. xox

    • June 29, 2017 / 10:39 am

      I know it's actually no comfort at all, but these idiotic people who want to get rid of you don't understand the difference between EU migrants and Syrian refugees… Their problem is all these "millions" of "migrants" (asylum seekers) "flooding" "our" country and being given million pound houses… and you can blame the press for them thinking that.

  5. June 26, 2017 / 6:12 pm

    I have more than one relative originally from the EU and share your feelings that this is a totally shameful situation. You're right – nasty people are loud which gives the impression that there are more of them than there are. Anyone with half a brain (whatever Brexit camp they fall into) must consider them an embarrassment. I'm glad you're here! :-) Hang in there. xx

    • June 28, 2017 / 6:44 am

      Thank you, Catherine! :-) xx

  6. June 29, 2017 / 10:37 am

    I am so, so sorry. I am not one of the Leave voters. I am passionate about us remaining in the EU. It gave me the chance to study in France, but as I studied EU economics and business at uni, I saw immediately that to leave is utter madness, in all aspects of life. I can't bear the disgusting racism that has reared its ugly head in the wake of the leave vote. I'm disgusted by my fellow Britons and horrified at their choices, their selfishness, their willingness to vote on something they did not and do not understand. I'm disgusted by our "government" (not that they officially are yet…) and that horrible, vile woman in charge.

    I'm so sorry.

  7. June 30, 2017 / 5:45 pm

    I was listening to R4 this morning driving in, and they were saying that suicides on the railways had dropped because the Samaritans had been training rail staff to talk to people. Talking to a person, making a connection, hearing each other is so important. As a country we've lost this, we don't talk to each other, we don't find out we just see external signs and fear is generated. So many people who voted out have been so manipulated and hoodwinked and have voted for something they don't understand. Such a sorry state of affairs.

  8. July 1, 2017 / 7:15 am

    I'm a Brit and firm Remainer and I was (and am) devastated by the vote and (as you've rightly noted) the bigoted and xenophobic rhetoric of the Leave campaign. I can only imagine how awful it must feel, the uncertainty, and I daresay you are being a lot stronger than you think. My partner is also British but a translator who works almost exclusively with European partners and he too has been deeply affected by the vote. It should never have happened, and I'm so sad to see such regression in my lifetime. I hope you find that the burden eases soon, and you both figure out a way forward. x

  9. July 6, 2017 / 6:55 pm

    *hugs* I'm so sorry. The world is a hard place to be in right now. As an American, I feel your pain. We must persevere!

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