Monday, August 22, 2011

Cheering Squad

It's good during weeks like these to know that I have a cheering squad back at home for me.

A long time ago, a good friend once told me, "The world does not revolve around you." It was one of the most defining moments of my life.

Right now, I am sitting in my house, working on my blue linoleum dining table off of my solar electricity, listening to my ipod spew out last year's music, the same albums over and over again because that's what I'm comfortable with. I'm fighting feelings of guilt, frustration, loneliness, anger, and resentment. Guilt because I am here and not outside doing what I think I "should" be doing-- whatever that is. Frustration because I'm not capable of doing more, better, faster; that the food here is so not to my liking that I'd rather not eat, that my projects are at a standstill or the teachers are too busy to work with me. Loneliness because I can't relate right now to the people outside my windows, to the children who climb over my gate despite my threats to call the police. Anger because things don't go as I think they should here, they are always too slow, too inefficient, too many papers have been lost and it's too damn impossible to get anything printed. Resentment, because sometimes I DO think to myself, "it's because of these people that I am here." These people. This term is not something I ever thought I'd utter, yet it pops into my head more often than it should. Every time I look out the window and see my gate left open and a cow munching on my garden plants, I think: these people, every time someone wakes me up in the middle of the night to charge their phone, these people, every time I hear a horror story about a child raped or woman beat up, these people. Every time an obnoxious man hits on me or a drunken woman walks down my street singing out loud to herself, these people.

The reality is, it's easier to be frustrated and point fingers at people than it is to go out there and experience and re-experience the reality that people here live in every day. It's not as simple as the picture that the commercials paint on TV of crying naked children covered in layers of mud and dung, but it certainly isn't the linoleum blue dining table and ipod reality that I live in on a daily basis. On a day like this when the wind is howling so hard that I have to strain to get the door open and chase the windows shut, people have to huddle under a bunch of sticks to keep the sand out of their breath. These people.

The world does not revolve around me. I am just as unrelated-able to these people as they are to me. I sit here in my concrete bubble so sure that the world out there is out to get me, that people are talking about me, why doesn't she come to the office? Why doesn't she like sitting here with us and shooting the shit? When is that grant coming? Why isn't she doing more, better, faster? And maybe some people are, but I'm willing to bet that the majority of people aren't. They're more worried about getting firewood for nighttime, passing the day pleasantly, wondering how their family is. The reality is, I'm sitting here doing the exact same thing, wondering about my next meal, my next vacation, my family at home. It's a horrible experience to realize this about yourself, that you're a self-centered, self-righteous wimp... It's hard lesson to learn, to accept that I'm not superhuman and that I can't and don't have to be completely perfect and happy and adventurous here all the time. Maybe if I finally accept that, I'll be able to be happy and perfect and adventure again sooner rather than later... maybe then I won't be so scared of these people... but for today, I'm going to give myself some slack. Besides, the wind is so strong, I'd probably pull a Mary Poppins the instant I stepped outside.


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