Natalie comes from Calgary, Canada, and is studying a MSc in Gender, Media and Culture in London. We meet at a popular restaurant at the heart of Covent Garden, we order some tea and scones, and get down to it.
“You can pursue your dreams”
Natalie wants to talk about her family, and most significantly her mother. Natalie’s mum had her at 15, and because of that she was a single mother for most of Natalie’s life while she raised her with the help of her parents (Natalie’s grandparents). From her mother, Natalie learnt that it is possible to pursue your dreams when she saw her mum go to college. She also learnt the importance of being independent. However, she reflects that yearning so much for independence can detriment potential relationships as she finds it challenging to trust others. “It makes me stubborn”, she says.
Natalie’s grandfather is the most stable man in her life. Natalie tells me her mum started dating her husband when Natalie was 8. They got married when she was 13, although he left for about a year when she was 10. As a result, she thinks she has some trouble dealing with the idea of dependency or relying on someone else.
“Crying is not something we do”, she says of her family.
“People don’t have to be happy all the time”
When we think together about her experiences, she tells me that she has become a reflective individual. She tries to understand and embrace her emotions so as to know herself and to be honest to her own self.
I interviewed Natalie in December, when this week we began working on this entry we noticed that her cheerful self did not come across. This is what she sent me afterwards:
“Obviously looking back, I feel I have changed so much since December. I think at my core I will always crave independence. I like being my own person. But, lately, I’ve been working hard to not let that hold me back from life’s experiences. Being away from home, I’ve realized how much I do rely on my family and friends and I’ve realized that I am ready to share my life with someone romantically. I don’t like to take things so seriously. I love to laugh and be silly. But, I can’t be silly all the time. I suppose, this is the other side of me that not everyone gets to see.”