Lenka Lee

Writer, Small Business Owner, and Social Media Manager in California

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By the time I turned seventeen, I longed to leave the Czech Republic, my mother land. I fantasized about a happy, fulfilling life in a faraway country. I wanted to find a place that I could call home.

It wasn’t my native country that I despised. Rather, it was the memories of my childhood that I wished to leave behind. I yearned to become a new person, to reinvent myself away from my dysfunctional family that stifled my every step forward.

I didn’t realize that I was packing my suitcase with all the drama and trauma of my short years, and faithfully carried that burden with me everywhere I went. Living with my parents was hard. Being on my own, harder.

I attempted to settle in Italy and later in Switzerland. Did I mention I didn’t speak the pertinent foreign languages, and I happened to be very strapped for cash?

My adventures were quite dangerous and borderline stupid. Due to my youthful naivety and recklessness, I gambled with my life. Although I survived my trips physically unharmed, my heart continued to shatter and fragment into million pieces. I wasn’t finding the life I wanted, and my hope dwindled.

At the age of 21, I boarded a plane to Chicago with $500 in my wallet. My riskiest escapade yet. Unbeknownst to me, I was meant to live the American dream!

For nearly a decade, I struggled on the brink of poverty, fighting to overcome the odds that lined up against me. I learned English. I put myself through college. I managed to find work.

I refused to cheat and cut corners. I think I must have popped a few veins in my neck, as I strained to survive my self-induced, masochistic roller coaster ride.

I eventually arrived. I relaxed, and settled into my suburban life. To my surprise, it didn’t last long. I crashed full speed into my very own mid-life crisis. I didn’t have the stamina to suppress my unresolved emotions any longer. I fell apart. Despite making it in this great country. Despite becoming a proud, if ‘only’ a naturalized citizen.

I took myself out of that damn country but I neglected to take the country out of me, you know?

I engaged in a heart wrenching self-quest, and revisited the dark and painful places inside of me. Thanks a lot for that, my dear destiny, it sucked but I kept at it.

Anyways, I am better now. Glad you asked. I found a way to let go. I became a writer.

I also built a website where authors showcase their books for free. It's a gathering place for those who write, those who read, and anyone in between.

It's called Lenka’s List.