Interview with Kasia: The Girl Who Gave Up Everything And Started Again

Some FI’ers prefer to move overseas as part of their FIRE plan. In one such post about moving overseas, I talk about this girl (not Kasia) who gave up a healthy relationship with her boyfriend, a good job and a relatively decent life to live her dream overseas. The truth is, it was just something I read on the Internet. Never the less, it still made an impact.  

Well, today I present to you ‘this girl’.  Not the random girl I read about on the Internet, but a brave young lady from Poland.  Someone I connected with recently, on one of my Meetups in Budapest.  Someone who divorced her husband of three and a half years, left her toxic family life and dissolved her business to make a better version of herself. What’s more, she even changed her name in the process… 

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1.What is the Kasia May backstory and how did you find yourself in Budapest?

The story of me starting over happened around two years ago.  This is when I realised I wasn’t happy with my life and I wasn’t myself. I felt I was living someone else’s expectations.  

I had a husband, a successful company, and a small handful of friends. It all looked perfect from the outside, but there was no me and it sapped most of my time.  Over time, I slowly realised this setup was just an escape for me. It created this image of a happy successful woman, but here’s the thing. I wasn’t happy at all. 

It was around then I had an emotional crisis and started therapy.  I started connecting with my sorrow and slowly recognised what I really wanted in life. And more importantly, what I didn’t want. This is when I created a plan of changes in my life. 

First of all, it was a case of getting rid of all the things that would make me unhappy and to create space for the new. I didn’t know what I wanted at first, but all I knew was everything I had, made me unhappy. 

So, I started to follow this plan with baby steps. First of all there was therapy and personal development work, a lot of that.  In between, I cut contacts with toxic people around me and I divorced. 

I learned to be open with my self and my emotions.  And there were ‘those people’ who didn’t accept me as I am. So, I cut those relations. It was very difficult at first, as they were my family.  Hence, these were tough decisions to make. 

That’s the cost of being yourself, living your own life and not succumbing to someone else’s expectations. That’s when there is no space for dialog and respect to transform the relationship. Step by step, I went through the motions of divorce, to having no family in my life, to selling my company. 

And the final step was changing my name. This was something symbolic for me.  I felt very deeply with this step. Firstly I had my father’s last name.   And I didn’t relate to this at all, as there’s a very tough story with my father. All my life I didn’t like that name and was sorry I didn’t have the name of my mother.

When I got married and I had the last name of my husband, I felt like it was something I borrowed. It wasn’t mine.  I needed to call myself something else to signify starting again.  It took a lot of effort and paperwork, but now I’m officially Kasia May.

This name change was the trigger point for moving overseas, after dreaming about it for so long. I changed my name, I made all the new documents and I was able to move abroad as I always wanted to do. But I was too attached to everything in my life to let myself make this step. I was finally free of every attachment. And here I am in Budapest.

Why Budapest? I was in Hungary a year ago having holidays, so it wasn’t a very rational choice.  I just felt good here. It was very much like home i.e. the same stores, similar people’s attitude, and I’ve just felt well here etc

So I added Budapest to a list of cities I wanted to live in. It was the more cost-effective option to start my life over, not earning money for some time at the beginning. So I put it on the top of the list and here I am.

2. What was the most difficult aspect for a woman starting over again?

It’s not so much about the most difficult aspect, but about a pattern that repeats. You could say it’s about the fear of changes.  It’s the moment when it turns from a decision to a plan of action. And you feel paralysed, because it becomes real. 

For me, the only way to deal with that is to allow you to feel it. Then it will let go, return to you, but like a wave, which is less strong. If you try to ignore the fear, it is only going to get bigger and bigger.  I had this fear making every step in my plan. There were always moments of being overwhelmed by my fear. 

So it is hard to point the most difficult aspects. I can only tell you the easiest moment on my path. That was changing my name.  A lot of people ask me about this, as they think it’s something monumental. This is because it’s my identity.  However, it wasn’t difficult at all.

All the other changes were physical, hence more real.  The name change was just something on paper, and I felt it was already mine.  

So, in terms of difficulty…if you want me to recall ONE of the most difficult moments, I think it was the divorce. Divorce is like not being attached to someone, and not being dependent on someone. And not having someone to share my life with anymore. Being alone. Being totally responsible for myself and not being supported by anyone on my path. 

It was a very emotional time, as I was in that relationship for 10 years.  What’s more, I cut ties with my family.  So, I truly felt I had no family, no husband and no one to help me in my case.  Don’t get me wrong, I do have friends.  But it’s just not the same when you share your life with someone, or you can always stay at your parent’s place in a crisis situation in your life.

I also had a tough time feeling guilty, as I left my husband and family.  It was that feeling of, “Am I hurting them?” That was difficult to deal with. But I saw this through a different perspective. When we’re not respected, when we need space, we have every right to say, “No, stop!” I’m setting a boundary here.  We can always find a way to respect each other, but if I don’t receive the respect in return, then I’m out. 

And then both sides suffer. But isn’t it about creating a space for something new, more deep, more true, more healthy then? I asked myself: is it ok to be with someone only because I don’t want to hurt this person leaving? And how could I know what is better for both of us? I can’t know what life brings to anyone, and changes always create the space for something new. For example my ex-husband can meet the love of his life now because we divorced. 

And first of all, we owe ourselves to be happy, in peace and in doing something good with our lives. 

3. With regards to income, how do you support yourself now?

The sale of the company has given me some downtime to create the life I’ve always dreamed off.  

I had a marketing agency.I felt comfortable in marketing and in management. It was what I knew, a safe space. But I never planned this consciously.  It just happened in my life. It came to me because I followed my intuition and instincts. 

I studied Polish linguistics, but for me it was all about communication.   

After that, I did some post grad studies (Public Relations and online marketing). So, this gave me some tools and I started working very early. One of my teachers at the university offered me to replace him, in the marketing school. So I became a lecturer there and taught people more or less the same age as myself.  So, that was a big challenge for me at the beginning.  I was always very focused on building skills. 

I took every opportunity I noticed on my path. I invested a lot in learning and gaining experience and my career just developed itself. But I never asked myself what I wanted. I never had time for myself, to discover what would be my dream job. 

I feel privileged to have worked in marketing and to have built up years of experience.  However, I don’t want to pursue this anymore. I gave myself enough space to realize I have other dreams and goals.

I had this huge vision, connected with the therapeutic work I did. It’s about letting people have more access to the knowledge in this field and how to work on themselves effectively.  There are lots of tools and approaches I can use.  I can provide training of people, in creating a therapeutic schedule to help others in need.  I have a vision for this big idea. Hence, I will need investors for this.   

I have an established blog already, where I interview therapists and publish findings.  Findings about different approaches in therapy and personal development tools too.  I plan to create a community globally.

Finally, it takes courage to stand in front of people and reveal who you are and what you believe in.  In this current moment of my life, I’m ready to do that. I want to be open and honest about my self and my life story. To create ways to help people, to give them access to firsthand information and to help them move forward with their lives. And to be happy in myself, feeling that I am doing something meaningful. 

4. Can you tell us more about your vision with the ‘Empowering Women’ group you run?

I’ve created a group in Budapest, called ‘Women’s Empowering Group’. It’s about sharing our experiences, our stories and creating a community where we can feel we are not alone. It’s also about sharing who we are. It’s not a feminist movement by any means. It’s about empowering through being your self, through feeling hurt, feeling listened to and feeling part of the community.

It’s something not many of us experience in our every day lives. It’s scary to open up in front of new people. But opening up in front of your family and being rejected and judged by them is even more frightening.  

So, what I’m trying to do is create a safe space where we respect each other and simply be ourselves. And to feel we’re not alone and we can share our feelings with each other.  Why women only? For many of us, it’s easier to open up without men around and naturally relate more with women.  Maybe in the future, I’ll open it up to men too!

Finally, I feel this space requires a leader and a voice, and everybody deserves a space where they are not judged.  I can fill this gap.

5. What advice would you give to readers who wish to start again?

Listen to your heart

List what makes you unhappy

Create a plan with baby steps with what you can change, one step at a time

Accept you’ll be very scared. 

Allow it. Feel it.  

Have this understanding, that this is your survival mechanism and be grateful for that.  This is the part that tries to save you.  This is our instinct, which was created millions of years ago when we were primates and everything new could have been dangerous for us. So it was better to stick to what we had.

It’s not dangerous to change the place you live in, to divorce, to cut relations with your family. It’s not dangerous to quit your job, to start a company, to find a new job in a different place in the world.  

You can do anything you want with your life.  Just be aware, there’s this fear that tries to save you because of your instinct.  And be grateful for it, hug it and accept it. Give yourself the time to feel it and let go.  

Being free of fear means accepting fear and not fighting the fear.  But not being scared of the fear. I always say ‘Feel the fear and do it anyway’. 

And at the end, Dream big.

6. Where can my readers find you Kasia May?

I have a blog called kasiamay.com

There’s a lot of material on there, such as interviews with therapists and coaches.  It’s where I also share my stories.

You will also find me on Facebook, Twitter, You Tube, Instagram, Pinterest as ‘Kasia May – Less Stress, More Joy’. I’m everywhere:- )

Check Kasia May’s blog – she shares her life experience on this platform and talks about personal development and therapeutic tools. Soon you could find a lot of useful materials to download when you are interested in changing your life. And meetings Kasia is going to organize. You can also read more about the project she mentioned:

Follow Kasia May on social media: 

Fanpage – facebook.com/KasiaMayLessStressMoreJoy/

Instagram – instagram.com/kasiamay_less_stress_more_joy/

Twitter – https://twitter.com/Kasia___May

Pinterest – pinterest.com/kasiamay_less_stress_more_joy/

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