LGBT Expat Life in Mexico – How It All Started
I think the best way to start this article is with a description of ‘how it happened’. I immigrated to Mexico a little over two years ago now, shortly after my wife of thirty one years died. We knew I would do this. It was a plan we had. Retired, on a limited budget, Mexico seemed a good choice.
And so it has been. I’d not change a moment. Oh don’t get me wrong, I’d get my spouse back in a hot minute were we able to do that kind of ‘after life’ magic. As I came out of deep mourning, I looked around and realized that I needed support for what I had done. What was I thinking, moving out of the country, leaving everything familiar; new language, new customs, new lifestyle.
It’s no news that complete change in environment and or life styles can be traumatic; coping mechanisms are challenged. I had made all the right connections; new comers meetings here in my little village, kayaking, swimming, biking, caring for my animals and helping them with the adjustments of suddenly ‘living by the sea’. Neither of my cats had ever seen a large body of water and I was amazed at how unfazed they were. We did have to keep an eye out for Osprey swooping down but apparently the fishing is so good here that fifteen pound cats just aren’t worth the effort.
Yet each evening I was confronted with two serious lacks in the folks I was meeting: most were vacationers, good timers, not expats and so could (and did) just drive away from any isolating issues back to the States. The second lack was nary a LGBT person in sight.
It’s funny how isolation from your people will trigger old behaviors. Suddenly I found myself ‘going back into the closet’. And like in the old days, there were a lot of different skeletons in there: ageism, vulnerability, the default response of ‘fitting in’, why I even started avoiding talking about my decision of moving here permanently, right alongside widowhood. In a word, I suddenly felt overwhelming shame.
Not pretty! So that’s when I began really searching for what was missing in my life, the life of an LGBT expat.
Online I found InterNations and knew I could connect there. The only problem being I lived about 2,014 km away from the nearest InterNations community, Monterrey, MX. Still, just reading about what our life is like, and yes we expats are a different creature however modern and bold we may be, soothed the savage beast within.
Imagine my delight and surprise when the very first LGBT article appeared in The Expat Magazine. Oh lovely, here at last the other part of me is met. We all know the number of challenges we must meet on a daily basis living abroad. Heck, that’s easily three quarters of why we go! Challenge, yes! Still, we also all know about that still small voice of loneliness that arrives late in the night. Of course us LGBT folk have no corner on that market; everybody gets lonely sometimes.
But, just as there are special challenges in living abroad, we too have additional challenges to face. So I thought, let’s talk about them!. I contacted the editorial office about starting a LGBT column or forum and got a very enthusiastic response. InterNations is all about being inclusive, and offering a connection and support.
Marcia Diane spends her time writing poetry, short stories, and mentoring others in journal writing groups and online writing groups in Puerto Viejo, MX. Oh and watching the sea rise and fall outside her front door. Before that she ran a therapeutic horse riding program in Petaluma, CA. Afterwards she became a Death Penalty Mitigation Specialist, and a bunch of more ordinary stuff in between. In her sixty nine years on planet earth she has moved thirty seven times and thus is she well suited to be a permanent migrant.