09 October 2008

Rao gin tao rao

Rough summer.

I think I'm more or less recuperated now. At least I find myself smiling pretty often again, instead of spontaneously combusting in tears when someone asks me if I'm okay. (Embarrassing, no?)

I think I spent a lot of the summer trying to convince myself that I was happy. I mean, I had every reason to be having a good time. For goodness sake, I was working on a dream project with one of my heroes, why shouldn't I be happy?

I really hate admitting it, but the part of summer after couch boat tore my soul out of my chest and staple gunned it to a bed of rusty nails. My jaded level has tripled.

Imagine a purely hypothetical situation: You have a friend from Zambia. A really good person whom you trust. You invite him to apply for IDDS and he's accepted, mostly because you championed him and his skills when the committee was going through applications. Needless to say, you feel pretty responsible for his well being.

Now you're standing in his room, half communicating because his English isn't that great and your Nyanja is worse. He tells you he needs help, that his job has stopped paying him back home because they've run out of money (you know it's true) that he can't support his family and he doesn't know what will happen when he goes back. "Maybe I die," he says, "Maybe I die." He asks you for money, and all you can do is stare at the shoddy laptop he bought at Swapfest. He's worrying about his family starving and he bought a laptop at Swapfest.

Do you give him money? Does he mean it? Is he using you? Do you give him money as a friend (you have before), or twist the system to extend the scholarship you gave him as an IDDS organizer? Then again, why did he spend his original scholarship money on a laptop? (It was for food expenses.) A frickin lousy laptop, does he even know how bad it is? Who in bloody hell sold him that festering pile of electronics, anyway? Who buys a laptop when he's worried about his family?

What a twisted system to be caught in, money for electronics instead of food, instead of family. Flaming cows.

Multiply that situation by 3 individuals, add 3 hospital visits, smear on some tough decisions, and lather with 18 hour working days.

Huh. I cracked.

I think there were only a few days where it was pretty obvious, but I've seriously felt very off-kilter for a few months now.

After a few very awkward conversations where my parents innocently asked how my summer had gone and heard only stony silence as I choked back tears on the other line, my mom half-jokingly sent me a book about depression. My immortal brother sent me a care package: a black wifebeater with a ghost ranch white cow skull silk screened on a triangle of recycling arrows: "RECICLE O MUERTE." I wore it for three days straight.

Haha, oh man, I never would have expected to be so scarred after this event.
Now I think I'm gently drifting back into status quo, instead of trying to shake free of the feeling that all my vitals were torn apart and only my skin was holding me together.

A lesson re-learned for the 567th time:
People are great -- Sean and Jona kept me in one piece.
As much as I want to picture myself as a loner, it's other people who pull me out of my darkest places.

A lesson I've always been learning for the first time:
It great to be in love. Even though my life is as up-and-down-and-struggle-against-apathy as it ever was, it's pure bliss to wake up and fall asleep with the same person. And hey, now I can do chin-ups, pull-ups, and write with my left hand.
As much as I want to picture myself as a loner, it's other people who push me to soaring heights.


Gui C. said...

So, I totally read this all as one unit:

"it's pure bliss to wake up and fall asleep with the same person. And hey, now I can do chin-ups, pull-ups, and write with my left hand."

Which got me thinking:

"Man, she must've been seriously working that left hand if she can do chin-ups and pull-ups with it. Maybe she always slept on the right side of the bed?"

And then I realized my mistake.

We should dance soon. Some Blues for the blues?

Eli said...

I wish I could do a pull-up or a chin-up with my left hand! Guess I should switch sides.