Archive for October, 2015

A Sorta Fairytale

October 19, 2015

(apologies to Tori)

My therapist says I’m carrying a heavy emotional load, bottling things up. This is such an old, old story. When I crack open the bottlecap what wells up is just this tremendous sadness. She gave me some exercises to do, to start letting it out little by little. I need to find/make the time to do that. The next 2 weeks are pretty packed. But it’s so much closer to the surface these days.

I had a delayed reaction this morning to our weekend drama – I cut Illyria’s hair on Sunday, at her request, but I cut it too short and she was upset. This morning she went to school in tears, afraid of what the other kids might say. Haven’t we all had this experience? I know it’s a rite of passage but I feel consumed by guilt. If I could give her my own hair I would. So this morning we did yoga together, and I was cheerful and supportive and encouraging, but after I dropped her off at school I kind of fell apart a little bit – I felt her butterflies in my stomach, I felt her fear and embarrassment. I know this over-identification is not good for me or for her.

I feel dull and deadened inside. I have so little motivation or energy for work, for anything. This feels like the leading edge of a bit of depression maybe.

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Forgiveness

October 7, 2015

When I think about the day we left Albania, I still feel like crying. How do you forgive yourself for leaving someone? How do you forgive yourself for leaving? How do you forgive yourself?

I don’t know what the mechanism is, what steps to take. How do you do it?

Thinking, always thinking

October 1, 2015

It’s feeling more and more definite – our vision of the future. Neither of us can see staying here past the middle of next year. And that fills me with a sense of buoyancy.

If there’s any sadness, it’s more the flavor of regret. Regret that we didn’t manage to fall in love with this country, as so many others have. Wondering if it’s some deficiency in ourselves, some cold-heartedness, some failure. Feeling that we’ve deeply disappointed our staff, our partner organizations, in some intangible way. Our predecessor in this position was so well-loved, and so passionately involved in everything – it was a hard act to follow no matter what. We knew that coming in.

We just had a team retreat during which we said goodbye to eleven people leaving now; five of whom are staying in the country either to continue working in the same area, or moving to a different position in our organization. The Colombians on the team always feel deeply moved by those who stay, who fall in love with this country, who form a deep attachment and commitment to the cause.

We haven’t. We’re putting in the time, at this point.

I can attribute some of my feelings of regret-failure-disappointment-guilt to the issues that I’m dealing with in myself in general; it’s the same emotional pattern that swirls around my graduate work and parenting. It never feels good enough, and anything short of perfection feels like failure. I hope that at least being able to identify this pattern in my psyche will help me disengage in healthier ways.

I also wonder, though, if our enduring attachment to Albania was the thing that kept us from fully engaging here? I still cry when I think about that last day, the airport, the last cup of coffee, the last goodbye.

If Illyria was happier at school here, that could change our decision. If we could live somewhere other than Bogotá, that would make a huge difference. But ultimately… it doesn’t feel like staying to the end of our term in 2017 is a very good idea, either for our mental and emotional health, for our family, or for the good of the program and the organization. They need – and deserve – leaders who really love this place. And that’s just not us.