Well, we're two weeks into the trip. That blows my mind. I feel like I've been on the road at least a month.
Its a funny time in the adventures. One and a half to two weeks seems to be about the duration of my short term memory. The recognition of my identity is based on the foremost level, by my lifestyle over any give two weeks. Its like my brain takes into account all of the engagements over that period and assigns the average to be "my lifestyle." I am now a traveler, or perhaps, a temporary Guatemalan. Being Guatemalan isn't entirely a foriegn experience to me. Indeed, upon hearing in New York I neither owned a car or watched television, my Spanish teacher told me I was more a Guatemalteca than I was Americano.
I'm a guy whose spent a life establishing a reputation. I come from a community of love. My family, friends and coworkers have blended into one group. The group is composed of the most exquisite people humanity has to offer. They are warm, and protective and nurturing in every way. I had comfort and confidence aplenty, as my lifestyle kept a harder, colder world at bay. Then I left the nest.
As a traveler, I'm having some adjustment trouble. I really had, and still do, depend on that positive base for my strength. I miss home terribly. I miss my loved ones terribly. I miss my job terribly. I miss my Mom, and Dad terribly. I'm accustomed to ruling my roost, so to speak, and am finding myself in a much bigger henhouse. I am still Tyler. Those people who meet me today meet the Tyler you know in Albany, New York, but I see a difference. For the first time in five years, I am shaken. My self preservation instincts are faltering, and for the first time, unsure. I have not been able to get restful sleep. I'm losing my appetite. I catch myself looking to my sleeping bag, as it's the only place I can call home, to escape the pressure of not measuring up to the world in which I live. I feel mostly hollow, and even amung friends, lonely. I had prepared myself for difficulty, but not this. This is a HARD adjustment. I am unaccustomed to being a guest in someone elses house, and don´t always know who I´m supposed to be. My identity is taking a battering. It is very scary, and very painful.
Through this, I must remember what I could so clearly see from my life before. It is only through adversity, that there is room for growth. I am, without a doubt, still Tyler. I build friendships. I build my life, and i build the lives of those around me. I love and cherish people for being precisely who they are. I make their lives better, and allow them to make mine better. I appreciate what life has to offer me, and genuinely invest myself in offering everything I have back. I am strong... very strong. I belong to communities, and maintain connections. I still am Tyler, and although he still isn´t the man I want him to be, I love Tyler, and I think he´s working hard, weathering much, and doing pretty damn well.
Those of you facing challenges... remind yourself of who you are. If you can´t, let me remind you...
You are beautiful. You are capable. You are loved. You are blessed.
above all, you must realize... YOU FIT.
Hey Tyler! It's Leigh here, Micah's friend. I don't know how to e-mail you, so I'll just post here a big thank you for your honesty and vulnerability in this post and in others. It's beautiful and - well - helpful!ReplyDelete
Also wanted to let you (both) know that I am going to Puerto Rico next week, by myself! Talk about fears and anxieties! I have not travelled alone in a foreign country since becoming a mother 10 years ago and my self preservation instincts pretty much drive much of what I always do, now. I'm looking for lodging and trying to decide what kind of experience this will be for me, (as if I can know!) and I know this trip will do a lot for me, as there are multiple purposes: to learn about and enjoy the history / culture / music / language / Taino / people, etc... and - be by MYSELF totally removed from my life and my regular routines and regular cultural identity. (oh, and be refreshed by the rainforest!) I don't know where I will be teaching history in the fall, but I'm hoping it will be 20th Century US, and I will definatley have some Puerto Rican students, and the job I want will have a majority Latino (mostly Puerto Rican) students actually.
Oops - I didn't sign off the right way with this - I'm new at this - sorry...ReplyDelete
I will be thinking of you and your challenges and how this is going for you. I want to wish you luck in dealing with your lonliness and missing home, and you have a compatriate as I'm sure I will all but step onto the plane before my first panic attack about possibly dying on another continent while my 7 and 10 year old are half orphaned while staying with their grandparents! (should I re-work my will?) ha ha... anyway - thanks for the sharing here, and I will have much to share upon my return, july 14, (two days before I turn 35! Talk about an "identity" year! ha ha!)
be well you guys! stay safe and happy and open and loving yourselves -