The Peace Corps is weird. It makes you feel a lot of things, all at once. Joy, anger, gratitude, frustration – you name the emotion and I’m sure I felt it today and it’s only noon. They say Peace Corps is a rollercoaster ride of emotions and they aren’t kidding. During training they show us this silly chart of how most PCVs feel throughout service, it shows a few ups and downs, but a chart can’t possibly depict the every day feelings of a Peace Corps Volunteer. Every single day is filled with ups and downs.
This post is about those ups and downs. It started to be solely focused on a specific down, but quickly evolved into something else. This post is filled with my feelings so if you aren’t into that feel free to skip this one. I wouldn’t say it’s specifically related to Comoros or the Peace Corps, but I think the Peace Corps is about self reflection as much as it’s about service so this is me, self reflecting for your reading enjoyment.
The Peace Corps not only tests your mental strength and emotional stability, but it also tests your relationships back home. Pretty recently a friend told me that our friendship wasn’t important to them. Being so far away from America it’s incredibly comforting to have friends at home to talk to so I really can’t even describe how much this hurt. As much as it stung, it also helped me realize something about myself.
My personal mantra throughout college was “I have enough. I do enough. I am enough.” I would write this mantra on everything, my agenda, notebook pages, sticky notes, as a constant reminder. But here, I often forget this. So when this friend essentially ended our friendship, I was scared. Scared to continue my service without the support of this friend.
But I was reminded of this simple mantra. I don’t need anyone to be here. I, myself, and myself alone, am enough. I spent so much of the last few years relating my self worth to the person I was dating or my best friends. But why?
I am enough.
I am grateful to have people I can lean on, but I need to remember that I am enough. There is something incredibly terrifying yet liberating about this simple sentence. It’s scary because when you mess up you know you only have yourself to blame, but it’s also exciting because you know you are powerful and strong without the crutch of anyone or anything.
I think it’s safe to say it takes a lot for a person to pack up all of their belongings to go to a country they’ve never been, with people they don’t know, to do work they have never done. I couldn’t have done any of that without the support of my friends and family, but something I forget is that I did it. I carefully packed my bags, I said goodbye to friends and family, and I boarded the plane. I did something many people would not do and I did it myself.
Though I can describe my village in great detail to my mother, she will never know what it is like to be me, to walk through my village, to greet people, to simply live here. This is my life. This is my journey and it is my journey alone.
I think it’s also important to remember that people treat you how they feel about themselves. We can’t control how people treat us, the only thing we can control is how we react. I’ve learned that the best way to respond is to be kind and keep moving. At the end of the day we are only responsible for ourselves so there is no point in wasting our energy and time on negativity or unkind people.
So I think the moral of this story is that at you, and you alone, are responsible for yourself and your happiness. You cannot depend on others to constantly be your crutch when you are feeling down. Sometimes you have to pick yourself up.