Photo by Daria Obymaha

September 11, 2001, is a date that every American knows, remembers, and once feared. And for a young girl who didn’t know better, it can either strike fear within or become a source of inspiration for letting God write her story.

With thousands of unprecedented deaths, 9/11 was a bloody and chaotic event that would change the country forever. Recalling that tragedy from several Americans also comes with the trauma. Since then, the badly shaken nation has united in light of patriotism, shock, fear, anger, and sadness. Yelena`s life story after the 9/11 attack is a testament to the strength of the people there at the time.

A young girl, an immigrant from Ukraine, struggled as she adjusted to a completely different life from the one she grew up in. The thought of being alienated is stifling enough, but more so, that people fear what they do not know. Countless mixed feelings are thrown in at once at every immigrant leaving home with hopes of a better life somewhere else.

The overall toll of being an immigrant

Loneliness may be a universal feeling experienced explicitly by those immigrating to a new country for the following reasons: better socio-economic opportunities that their homeland failed to provide. It’s an entirely different matter when the situation is reflected on a refugee because, above all else, they have no options and no one else to turn to.

Immigrants often struggle to get in touch with their loved ones back home, more, making new friends and building relationships. They often feel the effects of being socially inept, as communicating in a foreign language is difficult. Despite having outside knowledge of the country they will migrate to, it’s a different experience being there to start a new life.

The feeling of wanting to be rooted and grounded

Picture a plant being pulled away from the soil as its roots shoot out and are about to be replanted to a different ground. Bits of the roots are left behind, and there’s a high risk of unhealthy growth in an unfamiliar environment. Being rooted for immigrants means forming bonds that help them get accustomed to the new land they are living in.

What some of us don’t get about the struggles of being an immigrant is the shift of critical aspects in a person’s being. Their cultural, familial, and linguistic ways are drastically changed. That also includes their heritage, homeland, religion, and natural way of life. They must leave most of them behind to risk a new and hopefully improved life on the other side. Immigrants are scared of being excluded in their new community. With that in tow, fitting in becomes an automatic struggle they have to overcome. It costs them to weigh their decisions for the sake of fitting in.

Understanding the loneliness of an immigrant

Immigrants come and go with their own stories of love, loss, sadness, and joy. And this is something that many Americans have a problem with, specifically those who choose to isolate immigrants. For them to feel at home, it doesn’t take much for everyone to let at least them be and make them feel welcome.

We must understand that it puts additional pressure on them to forcibly assimilate and integrate into new territory at the cost of losing what they once were. Let them find their fellow communities so that they won’t experience a lot of loneliness and homesickness. They miss their homeland, for sure.

The stigma of segregation against immigrants should be countered with an antidote of genuine love and care. The last thing they need is a life of constant struggle and endurance from all fronts. Immigrants still bear the imprints of the former society they left behind, particularly how they value their natural-born way of life. With migration, immigrants fear that the generation after them will become a watered-down version of the culture they once embodied.

The grass is greener on the other side but also prickly.

It is lonely to be someone in another place that causes them to drift away parts of themselves. They might be forced to break tradition, learn new cultural norms, meet new people, and reject the unknown. Immigrants also have to face the libertine ways of America that doesn’t know any better when confronting that contemporary society.

Just like Yelena Borichevska’s experience when she was young, immigrants have high hopes in a new environment. All they want is to start anew, even if it means living an uncertain life under a new future.

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