I guess that means I have not really settled down yet

This is an anonymous story collected from the public as part of the Human Archive Project

I left China to Singapore 2007 and after 12 years later I have established my own family with my husband who is from Australia with our two kids. Though living in an Asian country, I do feel missing home all the time or rather compare things against those back home or anywhere I have been to. I guess that means I have not really settled down yet. And I don’t know where I will be settling down in the future.

A phantom that inhabits me wherever I go

This is an anonymous story collected from the public as part of the Human Archive Project

I am in the cafe and veil myself in the proficiency a cup of coffee and a laptop presents. Today I am ok, but I have dragged displacement about me like a weight or like a phantom that inhabits me wherever I go. Only in the creative process of my work is this distilled and centres me like an internal compass, and I transmute the phantoms in the act of being an artist. I am the daughter of two migrants, each from separate countries who both fled or were war damaged. I was born in England but moved to Ireland over 20 years ago. I have negotiated 4 cultures now but belong to none. I look to what dissolves these boundaries that people are so fixed on. When I make work, I am exhilarated, it is the only thing that dissolves the unbelonging I have felt all my life. The atmospheric silent invisible treacle that can bind me is also dissolved when I meet others like me and it has taught me to find a meeting place and empathic listening in all people I encounter and somehow people give me their stories. It’s like I have been an atmospheric barometer all my life to work out the nuances of what is going on. This habit comes from being a child in situations where you are having to learn ways of being other people have embedded in them from being born in a place of belonging. I try not to dwell on displacement anymore, but it is a dwelling, it is where we , the others, dwell.

It was just a way to delay me and create a barrier

This is an anonymous story collected from the public as part of the Human Archive Project by Nicola Anthony

I had an appointment booked at the PPS office in Dublin to acquire a PPS card to enable me to be part of Irish society, and received racist treatment, judgement, blocking me from getting a PPS number even though I have every right to one, and then a complete change of attitude once they realised my company had arranged the appointment for me after an international relocation.

I do not look Irish, I look Asian. After I have witnessed the rudeness to me, the deliberate obstruction of the office staff blocking me from a PPS number, and the rude attitude to others in the waiting room that I also observed, it is my belief that everyone who passes through that PPS office as an immigrant gets treated like 'scum'.

I felt that every effort was made to create a difficult situation that will block or scare or confuse those who are eligible for a PPS number as well as those who are not. I understand that some may be there asking for a PPS and benefits when they are not eligible, but I believe there is a polite, non-personal, non emotional process to determine this without creating fictional barriers, without judgement and prejudice, and without treating each candidate derisively 'until proven otherwise'.

I don't know if all staff working there have the same attitude as I only interviewed with one person. However, I do know that she had a big sign printed up telling me why I was not eligible, and the information on it was contradictory to what my relocation company (IrishRelo) had told me the requirements were. This means that the PPS office is giving out different and incorrect information, not the factual information that the relocation companies advise on and as the policies are set out.

I will explain what actually happened step by step:

  1. I have moved to Ireland with my husband who works for a corporate here, we are married so I require a PPS for tax purposes, I was also asked for PPS by my landlord (so I think you need it for renting but I am not sure), and I also want to learn to drive so I needed it for a provisional driving license.

  2. My husband went for his appointment separately to me, accompanied by Irish Relo, and he is a tall white guy - rarely running into discrimination! His experience was very pleasant, smooth, and friendly. I was not expecting anything different as I also had the paperwork from Irish relo, had gone through their checklist of what to bring, and arrived with my marriage certificate etc.

  3. When I spoke to the person in charge of my appointment, she was very rude and abrupt, I told her that my husband and I just moved over, the details of his company and that I would need the PPS for marriage tax and tax purposes, as well as to learn to drive.

  4. She said that I cannot get a PPS number unless I have proof that I need one. I showed her the marriage certificate and she said this is not proof. I showed her emails from his company and she said that this does not mean that I require a PPS or am entitled to one, just because he is working.

  5. I mentioned that I would not be able to do simple things like go to the doctors or take driving lessons if I did not have a PPS, but she said I would need proof that I am learning to drive.

  6. I explained again that I need a PPS simply to apply for the Irish provisional license so I would not be able to have proof yet - I asked what would be considered proof in my case, and she said a driving license application form. I said this was ridiculous as it takes 1 minute to download and print one and anyone can print one - it is not proof one way or the other so why did I need to provide this? It was just a way to delay me and create a barrier.

  7. I pulled out the checklist I had printed off, that Irish Relo had given me stating (in the PPS office's invite letter) the list of items I needed to have with me, and I checked off each one as present. She took the list off me and threw it in her bin, and I demanded it back.

  8. She kept saying that I need to go and get proof, and would have to arrange another appointment (which would take 1-2 weeks)

  9. Finally, I managed to point out to her that Irish Relo had sent me, at which point she suddenly realised that I should not be categorised in her mind as 'immigrant' aka 'undeserving person', but as 'high earning expat, working for a corporate'. In that moment her whole expression and demeanour changed, and suddenly she was as helpful as she could be. She produced a blank driving license application form which she had a pile of in her draw, and told me to add my name. She processed my paperwork and issued a PPS number. Why was I getting this different treatment now? Why was I a diffent case in her eyes?

  10. I was grateful that I had managed to break through her wall of prejudice, but I was so saddened at the stark contrast between her treatment of me when she had categorised me as one thing or the other, and the different treatment towards my white husband. It showed me a very two-faced organisation who, given their purpose and their audience, should surely be regulated on their treatment of people and be trained to keep a neutral response.

Whatever is happening here, and whether or not she has on other occasions been right about non-eligibility for a PPS number, there was no need for such an attitude of prejudice, derision and disparagement. I was saddened as I looked around the room and saw others who may have had much more difficult journeys to get to Ireland than I have, may need the PPS number much more than I do, and now have to face the belittling attitude of this woman as one of their first 'welcomes' into the country. Potentially other administrators have the same checklist (it was a printed out list in shouting capital letters with an official logo). I believe the checklist itself was incorrect and should not be allowed as they are the official issuing office of the PPS.

I also observed lots of processes that cause anger, annoyance and dismissive behaviour in the staff and the visitors - for example all who book appointments are given set times, (mine was 10.15), and then told to wait - we have to go in to the booth when our time-slot comes up. There was no communication that they were running over an hour late, they did not call the name of the next appointment, there was no ticket-line system, and people keep getting up worrying that they had missed their appointment or that someone else has skipped ahead. I was lucky that english is my first language and I could approach a staff member to ask, and I could also be brave enough to ask those around me and understand that they were ahead of me in the queue. Others were not feeling so brave - Especially for those who are nervous, or did not have English as their first language, this was extremely confusing. By time people get into their appointment an atmosphere of stress, worry, impatience and confusion has been created in the applicants. Meanwhile an 'observation' of how rude and impatient immigrants are, is being constantly reinforced in the minds of the administrators - surely these processes could be evolved for a better experience for all rather than fostering racism from day one?

I actually like my accent being different. It is who I am.

This is an anonymous story collected from the public as part of the Human Archive Project by Nicola Anthony

I look like I belong here, I think. But I speak, and all of a sudden I am other. My accent is wrong. I have to explain who I am, why I'm here, how often I go "home", what I think of Ireland, what it's like where I'm from, etc. etc. For 18 years now, and counting. Young ones say I'm not Irish even though I've lived here longer than they have. Amazing what the exact way you say words has an effect on how those words are heard. People read back stories, mostly untrue, into what they hear because it is said in an accent that isn't theirs. I don't hear the Irish accents because I'm surrounded by them, work with people with them, have family with them... so I forget I have a different one. But people remind me. Even on holidays to other parts of the world, people point out that my husband and I say things differently. Our accents aren't the same. And the explanations begin again. It's a pain, all the explaining, but you know, I actually like my accent being different. It is who I am. It is my history. It is my parents accent. It is my sister's accent. It's is my school friends' accents. It is an accent that ceases to exist when I go "home" and don't have to explain anymore.

Always on the move

This is an anonymous story collected from the public as part of the Human Archive Project by Nicola Anthony

Always on the move, I have always felt out of place whenever I stand still so I just keep on moving.

I didn't fit in with the culture of my parents or that of those around me

This is an anonymous story collected from the public as part of the Human Archive Project

Growing up to Indian muslim parents in the UK always meant that I didn't fit in with the culture of my parents or that of those around me in the UK. It's always been difficult to fit in with others and I've always felt that it's an ongoing struggle, though am now comfortable to know I'll never fit in and to be content with that.

I ride an emotional roller coaster

This is an anonymous story collected from the public as part of the Human Archive Project

I lived in the same house for 49 years and got married for the first time at 52 . Finding love like this was Grace alone .. to make it work required sacrifice.. much deliberation mixed with trust and faith allowed me to make a big move to the UK.

I ride an emotional roller coaster - harking back to how things were and how some things aren’t the same .. then I get that they can’t be the same even if I had stayed on .. everything is dynamic , and I am grateful for the many opportunities that have come. From my early teens my life was punctuated by farewells, as friends and family emigrated to various places in the world to leave the political unrest and later crime in our birthplace . Our community was diminished and I wept for the loss of potential and indeed the loss of the dreams and vision that we had of how we would be in our lives together.

Thanks to the technology that we have , I enjoy the connection from afar that my grandparents never had when 2 generations before they fled persecution.. when they left , they left everything behind.

A print of myself into your memory

This is an anonymous story collected from the public as part of the Human Archive Project

When I am down. I fall deeply down. I mope in my thoughts. Sometimes I confide in someone. Sometimes I keep it to myself. Last time I used to vomit out the words into my diary. The thing is, I seem often happy. Really, compare me to any other more unfortunate people around the world lacking in food, water and shelter, I am considered well-off enough. I do not need to worry about the next day and how I can survive. But yet, sometimes I feel down. I've seen more than one friendship that I've had fading away in front of me. And sometimes (maybe because I don't necessary ask for it) , I wonder if I mean anything to anyone. If I am gone one day, will I be missed? Will they just mourn for me until a month or a week is over and put it aside in their mind? Why am I here again? Is there a reason I was born? What if I am actually unneeded? Then what is the point? Is my life meaningless? Those questions are the reason why I try so hard to leave something behind to show that I existed. A print of myself into your memory. A good deed done for a random stranger. Reaching out first to help people. But then again, the things you do for others, they might not always remember. They move on with their lives. And that is just how it is. But what can I do? For now, I don't really know. Because the future is uncertain, although I wish there was some way to know.

It would be striking up a conversation with a stranger, where I would share that instant chemistry with and enjoy their attention, connection and the impromptu friendship and vulnerability.

This is an anonymous story collected from the public as part of the Human Archive Project

It would be striking up a conversation with a stranger, where I would share that instant chemistry with and enjoy their attention, connection and the impromptu friendship and vulnerability. That gives me an unexpected happiness - as it gives some sort of hope that this conversation and acquaintance could grow into something more? A guilty pleasure/confession is feeling very satisfying, watching people who offended me and hurt me get their Karma pay-back, which always makes them suffer x10 more than what they did to me. That makes me happy and scared of my own self at the same time. The other confession is that there are some guys that would come across to me as intelligent and arrogant and hard to get - I like to use that chemistry I have with them and act completely uninterested and cold - other times low-key flirt - and just play with their minds. I need to stop doing that though.

I am me, not an example

I am person who really not say been through alot but i would like to say going through times where i got scolded and punished by my parents, i really hope that a have a 2nd personality to cope with me through those times. I have stolen from my family a number of times, some might say i am young.. well i have to agree but now thinking back , Hey! I just wanted to be noticed. I was the oldest out of 3 children, and i was always told since i am the oldest i have to set an example. But now i know, i am me, not an example, i want to try and find the path i want to go and strive towards it, I am not the oldest I am me.

I think I may be happier the other way round

I Have high IQ but low EQ. I think I may be happier the other way round.

But, I still miss her

For 2 years I had the deepest infatuation for her, poured my heart and soul into her, but she didn't like me at all. After 2 years, she told me she told me the opposite. But by then, I left her and I was gone. Ironically, both of us were shattered. But, I still miss her.

Chased after by those I don't want, and rejected by those I do.

I've been through a lot of online 'relationships'. At the end of the day, it was just helping much older men pleasure themselves. I was too young, and I never should've started, but I don't know why I didn't stop, either. Maybe it was the power I had over them- a young child, reigning over an older man's pleasure? The control I didn't have in my life, I had it online. To me, then, it was like I was living a double life. It was thrilling, and my friends would always look up at me for the experiences I had.

Of course, that quickly led to a exposure that happened too young; too fast.

I never saw their face, and they never saw mine, but being in direct control over their pleasure had a certain sort of intimacy which you couldn't find at my age. By then, I'd been hit on, used as mastrubation material, had over half a dozen unwarranted, inappropriate pictures shoved in my face, and even called a slut simply because I refused to sext with him anymore. Recently, someone even tried to blackmail me with pictures that he didn't have- a bluff he called a joke.

I've also met some in real life, and some have lead to experiences that sometimes, I wasn't so sure of. But it was always about the fun, about the stress relief it brought. On the other hand...I've always wondered, if because of these past experiences, I would become undesirable to the people I'm romantically attracted to. Already because of my gender and sexuality, but with these past experiences...who knows, though, because I've always been rejected by them.

The irony. Chased after by those I don't want, and rejected by those I do.

I've learnt to embrace my flaws

I'm tired.

I'm really tired of being happy, enthusiastic and pretending that everything is okay. These were the qualities that enabled me to survive. Some who know who I really am - I'm a terrible introvert. I hate going out. I hate socialising. I dont like to be happy and enthusiastic all the time.

Growing up in a very restrictive and strict family -

There were times when I was younger when I thought about suicide- I was 12 when I realised I had depression. But I couldn't bear it.

Why did I have depression? Well, I had pressure from doing badly in school- Failing math. My parents were so strict, I felt like a bird in a cage. It was suffocating for me.

When I was 14, I admitted to my parents about my disorder and went to a counciler. He told me I was being 'mature', but for me - I had many mixed emotions. Was I really being mature? Wasn't I a coward for not being able to cut or end myself? I had doubts but I just let it slide. (I'm glad I did)

It's been a few years since those dark days. There were definitely times when I thought about depression again, but I think I grew passed it.

I managed to be able to cope with it better. I thanked my 'cowardly' self when I was younger that I didn't manage to harm myself. I learnt to love myself more and began to start appreciating my body. Sure there were times I've wondered why I had my flaws, but then again, it's those flaws that made me who I am. Thus, with that in mind, I've learnt to embrace my flaws. After working at a service job, which made me realise many things, I grew to understand more about the adult world as well.

It's not easy to survive in the real world. I've learnt that I should use my time now and start thinking and planning for the future.

Depression, anxiety, other disorders are sure to come. More in the future.They are the obstacles in my life yet I need to learn to overcome them.

It's a tiring and tedious process, but I hope the ending of my story will end well.

I was once bullied by a group of friends

I was once bullied by a group of friends. They called me names and badmouthed me and I was not invited to any of their programmes/activities. I was hurt but I managed to pull through and I feel that I have became strong and hopefully in the future I will not be devastated if it happens again.

Left out there to survive on my own

I have realised that I've been thrown into a fire by my colleagues. Rather than saving me with water, they poured oil into it instead. No one thought me anything. No one helped. Left out there to survive on my own. Was it wrong to pity them? Was it wrong to help them?

I wanted to be a superhero

I wanted to be a superhero, to save the world and make it whole again. Thinking about it now though, I wished someone told me it is okay to be your own superhero.

I am unable to help myself

I decided to stop taking my depression medication for a few months, and I can feel myself falling back into a bad place again. It has been a long fight and honestly there are so many times I want to give in and give up on everything in my life.

The worst part is that I have to mask my condition, and I managed get through till my last year in university, but I am so afraid that in this final year when it counts the most, would be the time that I will fall again. And the strangest part is that I study in a social science course that is suppose to help people, and yet I am unable to help myself. And I feel most ashamed of that, and that I don't have the right to help others because I cannot even help myself.

I am magnificent and at the same time worthless

I have darkness; a deep malcontent which is always searching and yearning for satiation. I am the darkness, and it is me. But, by nature, it is unseen, which means I go unseen. I feel unheard, misunderstood, unfairly judged by the world and those in it. I feel a desire for objects to hold inside me. I feel like they will keep me safe, or at the least, distracted. But they do not, because they are part of the darkness, and so the more I focus on my acquisition and achievement the most I melt away from the light and become further from my ultimate goal - to be truly seen and understood by someone.

This cycle of madness is unending, and all-encompassing. Every so often it will bring me to my knees, where I will ask God for forgiveness and guidance. I do not know if He responds, but I always end up in the same place so I think not. Or perhaps I just stop listening. I feel empty and worthless. A sense of profound insignificance plagues my waking thoughts and destroys my drive. What's the point? I ask. No reply comes. At the same time, when my ideas are challenged I feel a pain somewhere deep inside, as if someone has not only challenged my thoughts but my person; my existence.

Though I try not to show it to the people I love most, there is a large part of me which believes I am supreme. I think in a way like no other. I come to conclusions that only the best might arrive at. And every thought spoken is backed by a sea of thoughts never uttered. So you see I exist in a constant state of flux. I am magnificent. And at the same time, worthless. And all the time I am yearning for something that I can never know, for as soon as I know my desire, it moves on to something else. So what is it like to be me? Like shifting sands in the nighttime.

I am an unstable isotope

Hello.

1. I beat cancer thrice.       2. I cheat death every day.

***

"I am an unstable isotope—an anomaly; a rogue; a deviation from the conventional elements. I want to glow with radioactive effervescence for as long as my decaying life can last, and go out with a bang in a nuclear explosion."

***

3. Most days I feel suffocated.       4. Anger feels like acid coursing through my veins.

***

"The scariest moment in my life was when I was fully awake but I could not breath, I could not talk, and I could not move. My lungs felt like they had turned to stone and the intense panic from asphyxiation with my eyes wide open made me realise how insufferable it would be to be awake yet dying."

***

5. I dream of love and life

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"June 6: I find myself missing you already. Because you were there when I was most vulnerable and you let me hold your hand until I fell asleep."

***