“And any time you feel the pain, hey Jude, refrain. Don’t carry the world upon your shoulder. For well you know that it’s a fool who plays it cool by making his world a little colder… Remember to let her into your heart, then you can start to make it better.” –The Beatles, Hey Jude
As Peace Corps Volunteers, we face rough patches in service. My group is nearing one year on-island, so naturally (according to the all-knowing, ever-correct cycle of vulnerability and adjustment) I’m feeling a whole heap of emotions.
It’s funny, new challenges arise out of the status quo; nothing changes but somehow everything feels different. Things that were ok before slowly start to wear you down until before you know it, you’re ready to yell at someone for telling you “good morning.”
I begin speaking (and writing) in strange abstract sentences (like this one) that don’t say anything terribly monumental but feel so healing to release from my mind. Maintaining a positive, open mind is paramount in my life, but there is a delicate balance between showing compassion and empathy for others and demonstrating those same qualities towards the self.
I was watching Across the Universe this morning, and was reminded by the Beatles’ words that one ought not carry the whole world on one’s shoulders; turning cold will not allow me to heal in the way that letting in love will.
Drawing on advice from RPCVs, I keep a nightly gratitude journal to help me reflect at the end of each day. Despite all of the sexual harassment, frustrating gender norms and constant noise that I may face on a particularly bad day, I am still able to find gratitude for all of the positive things that said bad day may have delivered.
So, I’m focusing on each day as it comes. Each new day poses the opportunity for new positive experiences and conversations. I’ve become much more confident in the classroom and have gotten better at saying “no.” I am living as a full version of myself despite the foreignness that I experience in the Jamaican context. Each day I feel more a part of my world here, and when I focus on that, all of the secondary challenges seem to melt away.
Thanks for reading friends, big up unu self!