The opinions expressed in this blog are mine, and mine alone. They do not represent the views of the Peace Corps or the United States Government.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

The Big Caveat

There is one big caveat to all the realizations about how to control our reactions to frustrating situations.  You can understand as much as you want and be as zen as you want; yet, you can still have such a bad day that you blow up anyway.

Of course bad days happen everywhere.  The difference is that everything we normally do to control those is no longer available.  We cannot ignore everyone and walk down the street listening to music.  Even when I am in Gabs, I run into people I know all the time.  We cannot go to our favorite bar and spend time with friends.  We cannot call people and talk for hours, take a spur-of-the-moment trip if we need to get away, or really show anger at all.

We do not have our normal support systems.  And although it is said often, its impact is immeasurable.

We are never OFF as Peace Corps Volunteers.  We have been known to hide in our houses when people knock on the door because we can't deal with seeing anyone at that moment.  Maybe we were watching TV.  Maybe we were stuffing fudge into our mouths.  Or maybe we were just crying.  We used to be able to feel "alone" even in public, like sitting at a cafe drinking coffee and reading.  That is gone.  We can't walk to the grocery store and be anonymous.

I also know that we chose to do Peace Corps.  We chose to put ourselves through this challenge.

Nevertheless, the caveat to self-control is that sometimes it just goes out the window.  Sometimes our emotions and our frustrations get the best of us.  And no matter how often we try to control it, sometimes it's not possible.  And I have found that the emotional fallout from this is greater than it would have been if we were home.

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