Brexit. It actually happened. The UK has decided to leave the EU with whatever that brings. I knew the votes on the opposing sides were going to be neck to neck, but I never anticipated that the leave campaign had been influential enough to persuade people to leave – quite frankly I thought the campaign was a laughing matter not to be taken too seriously. Yet here we are, the UK had its say. But where does this leave us economically and politically? We do not yet know. All I know is how it has left me emotionally.
London to me was always the city of dreams. The place you dream of at the age of 10, sitting in your room in a small village in Sweden. I always knew I wanted to see the world and I always knew there was more to life than just growing up, getting married and having a family and then die, all around the same people in the same city in the same country. And London was my ”ticket out”. Moving here at the age of 12 was a little nerve wrecking, but I was never scared. London welcomed me with open arms. It may sound stupid to some, but the fact that complete strangers referred to me (and everyone else) as ”darling” and ”love” made me feel like I belonged. I find myself years later using the same phrases and when I catch myself doing it I smile because it is just such a lovely way of spreading happiness and love around. And that’s what London has always been about for me – happiness and love…
…and tolerance. Tolerance for people of different backgrounds and nationalities. The multiculturalism is truly the beauty of London. Once again something I had not really experienced in my home town in Sweden, but something I was deeply appreciative of being a part of in London, because I find myself 10 years later an international, open minded citizen of the world with friends across the globe – something I would not have been given had I never moved to London.
That is why I decided to invest in London as my home. I turned my back on Sweden, and embraced London with everything I had. I went to private schools during my younger years, I engaged in several rather expensive sports (horse riding especially is a real bitch) while my parents worked and paid for all the other grown up stuff. Reaching the age of 19 and hence being a grown up myself, I decided to invest my own money (through a loan) in a university degree here. I was going to study Law and become a proper English solicitor. So I embarked on this legal adventure of mine, which just so happened to cost me 9000 pounds a year in tuition fees, minus any other university fees such as reading material. But I was happy doing it knowing it was an investment in my future in this country. When I graduated not long ago, I could not have been happier having received an offer to study Human Rights at UCL. Although with a slightly higher tuition fee, I did not care and accepted the offer, because once again I knew it was going to be an investment at the end of the day.
It pains me to say this, but I regret it all now. I regret my stupid open mindedness and optimism because quite frankly everyone else in this country seem to be on a different wave length than myself. I have invested so much money into this country. I have invested myself in this country. Without ever asking for anything, such as benefits, in return. I have invested my time and money into a degree which is only relevant in this particular country, and now I am being told I should not be here?
It is frustrating to me because I had such high hopes for the UK. The UK was like my idol whom I looked up to immensely. And the Brexit is like meeting your idol for the first time and realizing they are not what you imagined. And it is a huge disappointment. I am Swedish and carry a Swedish passport and I am hence a member of the EU myself, so I can easily move to another EU country and continue my life there. But the saddest part is that I do not want to. I have my life in London. My mother, my friends, my work, my degree, my Mayfair (lol), and my heart. I know I can get a VISA etc but that to me is like a slap in the face. Because I am not a foreigner. None of us are in London. Once you move here, your background does not matter. Your skin color does not matter. Your sexuality does not matter. Once you move to London you are a Londoner, and that is that. So for the government to tell me I can get a VISA to be able to stay in my own home – are you having a laugh mate?!
I am scared of what the future holds for this country. Genuinely scared. Just looking at what has already happened since Brexit, the Pound is the lowest its been since 1985 as a result and politicians are admitting they used lies to further the leave campaign. However, for me it is truly my emotional ties to London that are having the worst effect on me. I feel like I am having break up withdrawal symptoms – I am upset and angry with everyone and cannot stop crying. Why? Because, United Kingdom, I thought you were different.