Saturday, September 29, 2012

The point is not to change it, and other musings

My last post was basically a life summary, something I feel obliged to give. Trips, project progress, that kind of stuff. This one is different, introspective. Just a warning.

Peace Corps service has given me a lot of time to sit with myself, especially during holidays when I can't lose myself in schoolwork. Things aren't always sunny in sunny Guyana. In high school I had my busy routine to insulate me from loneliness; in college, with my awesome friends, there was no space to be lonely. Here in Guyana, there is nothing but space, time. I've battled with self-criticism and depression over the past few months, and it's been a tough fight, but I think I'm growing stronger for it.

Another thing: the title of this blog is a lie. The point is not to change it. Make change the prize and keep your eye on the prize, and you won't see anything else. Live to fix things, and everything will look broken. I did that for a while, and it was miserable. (Still do it, and often, but less than before.)

So what is the point? The point is to be here, to be as here as I can. And change is part of this, but so are good conversations, so is giving an honest hug, laughter, watching the sunset. I am here when I smile at the baby staring at the strange lady with white skin, forgive the men sipping me because they don't even realize it offends me, appreciate the teacher who showed up to substitute for my summer school class instead of berating the one who didn't.

Being here means that when I realize that I'm wrong about something, I stop focusing on covering my ass and instead look to see how this new information changes the way I'd been looking at a situation. It means turning off the problem-solving voice in my head for a minute or two to just listen. One cannot be a force for positive change without a commitment to deep understanding, and one cannot understand without being here.

I will never give up on wanting things to be better. The challenge is striking a balance between striving for progress and recognizing that the world, however flawed, is whole, not broken.

Yeah, that's the point. But all that would be way too long for a blog title, so we'll leave it as is.

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