Usha Grace Balamanoharan

I don’t feel like a foreigner, not at all. I never made a conscious decision not to return to Sri Lanka, but the war carried on, time passed, and before I knew it I had graduated from college, become married to a man who did not wish to return, and I had become the mother of two kids not speaking my language. All of a sudden I had become Danish.

When I was in my late 30s, I went down with stress. When it was at its worst, I couldn’t even manage taking a shower. Stress is a widespread national disease caused by the quest for the perfect life. You have to be the perfect mother, the perfect wife, the perfect employee. You have to do the shopping, pay the rent, be in control of your pension. You end up out of breath, all whilst you are constantly bombarded with all the misery in the world. But I don’t want to watch videos of people being tortured, because there is nothing I can do about it. I feel sad, powerless, unable to stay focused on the immediate world where I can actually make a difference for others. It makes me wish for a single ticket to a desert island. I long to get my childhood back. I lived at an asylum centre and actually was extremely happy. I didn’t see the uncertainty and I had no worries. I identify myself with Pocahontas. She adores the nature, talks with the animals, and she is innocent and naive. She is unaware of the violence in the world. She lives in peace and accept and is tolerant with outsiders. It evokes a longing in me for something more authentic. A smaller world with more presence.

47 years / female / in a relationship / children / medical secretary / Frederikssund / from Sri Lanka / came to Denmark in 1984 / residence permit in 1985