During Pre-Service Training (PST) Peace Corps gave us all a chart.
I took one look and said “NAH”. Because I’m a narcissist with an innate need to be different (AKA human)….I had determined I would not be allowing a generic chart to tell me how I was going to feel about this experience. I mostly forgot about the chart until a few weeks ago.
I was going to cook a healthy dinner when I got home. I didn’t. I was going to study some Thai. I didn’t. I was going to journal in the evening. I didn’t. I was going to do a small load of laundry. I didn’t. I was going to wake up early for a run. I didn’t. I was going to stay after school to lesson plan. I didn’t. Lately, I feel like I’ve been not doing more than I’ve been doing.
My apathy sent me into the spiral of “is this normal? Do other people feel this way?”
And so I pulled out the chart…
And there’s me…
I’ve hit that low.
The low that PC warned me about. The one I was so determined to avoid…yet here we are. I’m hanging on for dear life at the bottom of that sloping line. Down here everything is annoying and nothing makes sense. I live for the weekends. The trips away from site. The rare conversations where I don’t have to edit my language for simplicity. I don’t like it down here in this hole. I don’t like dreading getting out of bed, but here we are.
More than the lows, I hate admitting it. I hate admitting that I’m irritable and unhappy, because then I feel like there has to be a concrete reason why. And I don’t have one. Or maybe it’s that I have many, and then I just feel like I’m complaining. It’s everything. It’s the isolation. The miscommunications. It’s feeling like a burden. Feeling forgotten. Feeling misunderstood. I have brain fatigue from wondering “but why!?” all the time and never having an answer.
I’m cynical to the point of annoying myself. I’m wondering why I’m here. I’m wondering why Peace Corps even exists. Why torture everyone in this way, is it really worth it? I’m overthinking everything and experiencing off the chart mood swings throughout the day all while keeping a smile plastered to my face.
In the midst of the angst, there is still so much good. There are two sweet girls who beg me to stay after school and read books in English with them (if you know me, you know that reading is one way to my heart). I had one first grader plastered to my side for HOURS during a school event a few weeks ago. I told him he could go play with his friends and he just shook his head and held my hand. It’s these sweet faces that are the reason I can weather this valley.
I resented this chart in the beginning. I found it limiting to the human experience. Now, I’m clinging to it…because check out what happens just after that month 12-14 slump. This chart claims that year two of this experience will be worth it, it will get better, it will be less volatile, and if I’m being honest, the promise of “it’s going to get better” plus these sweet kids are the only things getting me out of bed these days.