Unpack Your Memories
“You’re so hard on yourself.
Take a moment.
Marvel at your life.
at the grief that softened you,
at heartache that wisened you,
at the suffering that strengthened you.
you still grow.
The chart above was presented to me by a fellow PCV in January 2016, he said remember this image because you will revisit and see it often. I knew he was right, As I begin the integrating process, I look at this and I am reminded of how grateful he showed me this. We visited this chart during week 3 of training.
After, the chart was presented to us, and explained in a bit more in context, the facilitator then asked us to draw the line based on how we felt simply during our last 3 weeks. My line looked similar to the one above. For some reason, during this particular week I experienced a downward spike. Physically, I was in a different place but all the space in my body could remember were all the previous experiences, relationships, friendships, jobs, previous failures, highs, and lows before arriving at this exact moment. Here, I was stuck and blocked once again.
As I was aware, that this will continue to happen throughout this journey, I opposed the idea of sitting with this energy but knew it would pass. Until then, I would experience pain. I do my best to continue on without identifying the source of the confusion. I continued to struggle with my capacity to open up.
A few days later, I received the opportunity to have lunch with my fellow trainee’s in Antigua. Due to our busy schedules and hectic training environment, it was here I learned a great deal about my co-workers. It was to no surprise that many of my talented, intelligent, creative, hardworking, and inspiring individuals had similar experiences. For example, many had professional experience working with AmeriCorps. I heard many interesting aspects about AmeriCorps from friends in my past as well.
As I was sitting there listening to my friends, tell their stories, one of my mates was painfully quiet. Behaving out of my character, I began to probe a little bit more. My co-worker began to share a little more about his experience working in AZ with immigration agency. In order to make a long story short, he shared a fascinating story about how he met and worked with individuals from Mexico and his connection to Guatemala and women and children from same communities we now live and work. My jaw dropped to the ground, as I don’t know if I could be as brave, patient, and persistent as he was in his efforts to assist others.
I sat there for a moment taking it all in. I knew sitting in front my was an intelligent and strong person but underneath this mask was a story. I could see how painful it was to live this experience behind in his face. It clicked for me that no one person’s experience is greater than another, that we have all lived through and survived pain. But yet, you get back up and keeping going. And learn, “You are so beautifully brave to keep your heart open while it’s breaking.”