I didn’t think leaving my job here would affect me as much as it did. It’s not going to stop me, but it hurts to leave. The people I worked with, the kids I taught, even the friendly faces at the corner shops. Everything is replaceable except the people.
I know I’ll meet new people, I find new people I care about every place I’ve ever been. I don’t collect much in the way of things, but I always seem to attach myself somewhat to the people I meet. As antisocial as I’ve always been, it’s strange that I would look for others more than anything else.
The boss said they were considering singing to me as my class ended, but that I was grading and looked too serious. A decade of anger and despair still leaves it’s scars on me. I always look angry when I’m at rest, even more so when I’m focused on something. I’m kind of glad they didn’t. I still pull away from things like that, even though I want them. I don’t know if I could have kept from crying, at least a little. What little pride I have still wants me to be the stoic.
It’s easy to deflect with humor, but holding on to silence and calm is hard when faced with true kindness. I don’t know that I should even hold back from that, but I still have a wall between myself and true emotion. It’s like hearing when your head is stuffed up. I can feel it, but it’s muffled, and I know it should be more.
It should be more. I should feel more. I should show more. I should do a lot of things, but the reality is that I’m not there yet. I don’t know that I ever will be. It’s like this blog, a combination of who I am and who I want to be seen as. I don’t edit these. I don’t rewrite. I don’t even check for spelling or grammar. I do my best to forget that there are people on the other side of the screen because all of that changes how I write.
I am not here to entertain. I am not here to guide people to places unknown, or to get them to leave their comfort and seek out their dreams. I am always glad to know people read this, but remembering that while I am writing changes what I say and how I write. My pride doesn’t stalk me very often, but I can feel it whispering to me as I write, warning me of what could happen. I don’t want to worry about what my boss might see, what my sister’s kids might see, or any of a thousand fears that make me edit myself. I love that people read this, but I cannot think of them while I write.
I write for my mother, to show her the things I see, to tell her what I have seen. To examine the thoughts I’ve had, and to tell her what I think I’ve seen. That focus allows me to say things I might not be so free with. I like to think it lets me write without worrying about my image, but it’s hard to really let that go.
I look back at the last year and I can’t believe how fast it has passed. The strangeness that has happened, how normal and comfortable life has been here, and the self-inflicted stress of joining the Peace Corps. I sometimes wonder if I hold back so it won’t hurt as much when I leave a place, but I’ve been doing that my entire life. I lived in San Diego for a decade and it didn’t hurt any more or less to leave than a year in Mexico, or a year in Taiwan.
One of the best things I learned from Buddhism was the idea of loving things with an open hand. Don’t close your fist and hold on, just keep your hand open with your palm to the sky and let things rest there. Some things leave quickly, and some last so long I start to believe they have become part of me. In a way, maybe they have, but in the end even the hand falls away.
My path is set for now. I have made it through the worst of the hoops, and in a few months I’ll be in China. Each step I take draws me further from the world I once felt so comfortable in, and from the person I was. Some days, I don’t even recognize who I am becoming, but in a way that’s good. It’s nice to be surprised sometimes.
And some pictures from Cloud Heart Waterfall last weekend.