A wise man once told me that I had one problem: me. I am too introspective. While others often ignore their feelings, I am completely in sync with mine. He said I often dig so deep into my center that I lose grasp on how to steadily hold on to, and deal with, the outside world.
This year has been a hard one. My soum is not an easy place for me. I have a strong feeling that at least one, if not many teachers at my school dislike me. Integration, the cornerstone of a successful Peace Corps service, often feels like an insurmountable wall.
Tomorrow, some of the teachers and staff at my school are going on a mountain picnic. It sounds like a nice time. Sadly, when the Technology teacher, who was documenting who wanted to go, asked a group of teachers if they should invite me, one teacher said no. She vocally opened her mouth to express displeasure at the idea of me tagging along. When I learned of this happening, I started to tear up. I was in the teachers’ lounge, so I bent my head over my laptop. None of them were going to see me in this upset, fragile state.
I called a close friend. We had a long talk, discussing many aspects of my life here, and how it didn’t seem to be going as well as I wanted. I felt as though my soum rejected my presence, and how no matter what I did, how many times I invited myself over peoples’ houses, or made small talk in the teachers’ lounge, I was not making any headway. I pondered what I was doing wrong; what specifically about myself others found unappealing.
Tonight, I realized a major problem. I think too much about myself. Peace Corps is about action. Trying different things, and not giving up until something clicks. There is no point in wondering what I did wrong. It’s in the past. It is pointless to dwell on questions such as which teachers don’t like me, and why. The answers won’t help. What I do here is ultimately dependent on me. It is my job to stop over-thinking, and instead start doing.
Cause really, what is there to think about? What is there to be afraid of? I only have one year left. After that, peace out Batsumber. I might as well put myself out there, and forget those inner voices. Who cares if my khashaa family is busy, I will visit them, and they will tell me to leave if they don’t want me. Some teachers already don’t like me, I may as well tell them my mind and forcefully coax them into to lesson planning with me. If it works, then great. And if not, well at least I can say I tried.
So after this revelation, I strode into the Technology teacher’s room and asked if I could go on the picnic. She promptly responded with an enthusiastic yes. I guess she doesn’t mind me. And whoever does, well they’ll just have to deal.