detached day 1

She looked out her window at the river. In a few hours they would tell her that it was actually a road, it had just rained a lot the previous day. The trees she identified as West Indian almond were actually cashew, and for the first time, the ocean lay closest to the west.

She lay down on her bed in front of the fan and spent 45 minutes thinking about taking him to the place where she was born. Then, she began to think about her fickle callousness in love, which made her upset, so she went downstairs.

Downstairs she smiled big. It tugged at her chest uncomfortably but she coaxed it up around her teeth to resemble something more genuine, which it became. She laughed and ate with a family that wasn’t hers, and casually swatted at the mosquitos when they did. Maybe she would get dengue and be sent home (to him). This didn’t feel like hoping for an illness. To him. Is that where she would go?

Never mind, she washed her body with the bucket and ladle. The slow movement of ritualistic rinsing let her mind be occupied with intention for awhile.

Maybe they would go to a French restaurant together, someday. Maybe she would wear something sophisticated to feel powerful, to pretend like she could hide from him what had already been shown. But he had seen everything, so she could hide nothing. Maybe it is better to be so far for so long; she would find things to hide so she would not feel so bare in his presence. The other option would be to find freedom in the nakedness, which she did not yet know how to do.

leaving again

Transitions are difficult in general. Change is difficult.

Specifically for me, the transition of life in the United States within arms reach of my loved ones to Peace Corps trainee halfway around the world is huge. Yes, I’ve left the country for more than a vacation twice before, but this one seems different. I feel untethered.

This year has been the most difficult year of my life. Healing from past trauma, battling significant depression, and getting hit with the worst heartbreak I’ve ever dealt with in my young life has taken everything out of me. I’ve been single (consecutively) for longer than I’ve been in 8 years. The loneliness has been suffocating.

However, I never lose sight of my larger goals and passions. I never stop moving forward in a marine biology or marine conservation career path. I throw myself into my career when I feel other parts of my life to be off-kilter. Not as a way of avoidance, but because it helps me see the larger picture and lessens the significance of my own problems: “I can’t help myself right now, so I’m damn well going to try to help other people.”

Examining my fear responses this past year has been rewarding, and I am hopeful and near certain that this move is not a fear response. I am not “running away” to avoid problems at home. I actively deal with my problems while running towards my passions.

This doesn’t mean I don’t begin to question myself: is it selfish to use PC service to want to first and foremost gain direct career skills? Am I cutting too many people out of my life to do this? Will my grandparents die while I’m away? How will my mother deal with that without me, if so? Will my friends who battle depression be okay without me there to help? Will my sister be okay? What if something happens? What if anxiety overcomes me while I’m there? What if I’m running away from love that I refuse to accept or emote?

Why can’t I seem to trust my own decisions?

I’m excited to leave (a little over 4 days away). I’m also terrified. I’m impatient and also have my heels dug firmly into this Ohio soil. I’m exhausted and can’t seem to sleep. I need to pack. I have manic energy and corresponding intense emotions sprinting through my brain at all times. I’m making strange decisions. I’m wondering how much to share on this blog, and who will even read it. But why the hell write if you’re not going to write your absolute truth? My own insignificance within time comforts me more than anyone’s embrace ever could. I can’t seem to put my stream of consciousness into coherent thoughts.

I’m trying to put all of the Whys to rest. Although it often feels like a force outside myself led me to this point, I believe this feeling to be a form of disassociation, and I choose to trust past Charlotte’s decisions. I’m going to live in a remote area for two and a half years with people and communities currently unknown to me. I guess I’ll just see how it goes.

to leave or to stay

These days pass in a flurry of professional and social duties that entertain but do not feed me. Coffee, books, and good films help me feel creatively alive. Over committing to social events does the opposite. I frequently question if I am pausing to enjoy my one life. The limbo-like quality of this past year, and most likely current decade, makes me feel like I am watching my own life pass while simultaneously getting beat up by its many responsibilities. When I travel and transition I lose my mind. When I find stability, I crave losing my mind. Where is the balance? How do I answer the question of which is more important: discovering myself and the world on my own, or compromising my cravings to form deep human connection by being physically present with the people I love? How can I even begin to answer that, and which is objectively right?

reality

I guess I should start making this into an actual personal blog before I head to the Peace Corps, not just a platform for my angsty writing.

A snapshot of my life right now: I work 7 days/week. Three jobs. I nanny for two different families Monday-Thursday and work the front desk at a yoga studio on the weekends, and various weeknights as I’m needed. It feels somehow incredibly stressful and also fantastically organized and regular. It’s a lot of work, but it’s also a lot of stability. Also, I’m broke and want to pay off my credit card and have at least a small bit of savings to travel with throughout SE Asia and hopefully New Zealand/Tasmania. That last destination is more of a pipe dream.

I usually write in the mornings before work, or read or fill out forms for the PC.

Evenings are filled with work, friends (less so now that we don’t live in the same house), or alone time. This usually consists of Netflix, face masks, and my favorite mead.

I like my life. It’s stable which allows for personal growth. I am also very excited to get going and start my next chapter. This year has been very difficult and not that I’m running away . . . but I’m definitely ready to go.

It feels good to be alone. This is the longest I’ve felt alone since maybe high school. I feel that I’m on the precipice of something big. Something probably very difficult but also revolutionary in my life.

I’m ready and waiting.