• Marina Stepanova

The F*** Word

Updated: Jul 25, 2019

One-way ticket

On the 14th of September 2004 I was at the airport in Tallinn with a one-way ticket to London Gatwick. It has only been about two months since I decided to move abroad with an excuse of going to university. Don't get me wrong, I wanted to study and get a qualification, but that was not the end goal. I wanted to leave, to find something different, something bigger. I didn't know what it was and I don't think I even asked myself that question. As far as everyone was concerned, I was going to study Psychology in England and would return in 3 years. I knew I was never coming back. As I passed through security, leaving my mum and my best friend at the time behind, I went into the bathroom and stared in the mirror. I think it was the first time I actually stopped and thought about what I had done. For a second I considered turning back and going home with the people I loved more than anything. Just for a second though. I knew that it was done. I was getting on the plane.


That is when IT happened. The F word crept in. Fear! I started feeling afraid. The fact that I had to leave a tin of condenced milk behind with the security guy didn't help either. He had no idea how much I loved condensed milk and how much I needed to have it with me in a foreign land! Anyhow, within the 8-week period of preparation for the journey, fear never crossed my mind. I was just very excited and a little bit nervous about going to study the subject I loved and moving to a new place far far away. I did not think of how scary it was going to be. So I was standing there in front of the mirror in the airport bathroom that was full of people, but completely empty to me. All I could think of was that my life would never be the same ever again. I was going to gain something, but I had no idea what. However, I knew very well what I was losing: my family, my friends, my home. With all of that on my mind, I got on that plane.


It took me about 6 months to overcome extreme homesickness. I used to have a big calendar on the wall in my room at student halls and every night I would put a big cross over the day that had just finished. Hometime was getting closer with every cross. I also cried every night to my mum on the phone. How she managed to pay her bills for the first year of my student lifeI will never know. She offered to buy me a ticket home every time. Every time I refused her offer. Thinking back to those times makes me wonder what would have happened had I not gotten on that plane or acted on one of my many urges to pack up and go home. Sometimes I wish I stayed in Estonia and built my life there. Luckily, I haven't felt that way in a few years now.

Fast forward fifteen years

Now I am a mum and I love it. I completed my academic studies and have a job that I dreamed of when I was still at school. I have a long way to go in building my private practice to what I want it to be, but I am on the way. I wrote a book, which was my absolute dream. I met some amazing people and some really shit ones (some of them were funny which made it a bit better). I have travelled to many beautiful places. I have made friends for life. In fact, they are more of a family, because they helped me through some tough times. When I say tough, I mean being homeless and having nothing to eat kind of tough.

On the other side of fear

None of the good stuff would have happened had I not followed my instincts. If I let fear rule me, I would never go to uni or learn to drive, I would never have children, I would never put myself up for the public speaking challenge. Someone said that 'Everything that you've ever wanted is on the other side of fear'. It could not be more true. I know it, because I have faced some of my biggest fears. Not all of them, but quite a few.

Remember, if you are afraid to do something, then you definetely must do it, because you might just get exactly what you want ❤


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