This blog generally has two functions. It is meant to both provide a way for my family and friends to continue to be informed about how and what I am doing (not to mention the consistency of my posts are surely reassuring my mother that I am alive and at least coherent enough to write in some understandable manner) and to keep my advisor abreast of what is happening on this internship. I have often felt myself torn between wanting to express my personal feelings and knowing that I need to relay the activities of the day in an accurate manner. For those of you that know me well, you know that I am much better at emoting than presenting accurate information. Information not infused by my personal feelings seems strange and distant to me. That said, this particular post will function only to express the personal feelings with which I am overwhelmed at the moment. My normal confidants are in another country, and so the world wide web can bear the burden of my emotions for the time being.
I have finally fallen into a moderate routine here and I no longer feel unbearably uncomfortable with my surroundings. There are times when my mind is overwhelmed with the language, especially when it is fast and loud. At these times I often find myself unable to connect the sounds with logic, the words with emotion, or the sentences with their speaker. If I let it, these moments feel like there are countless voices in my head that I cannot understand, yet with enough familiarity that somewhere inside I know that I should. It reminds me of being on psych meds, when people would speak to me in my own language and their words would echo in my head without ever taking on meaning until they were too far away to hear anymore. When this happens here, I have to clear my head and at these times I feel the overwhelming need to be alone so that the only voices are my own.
It is strange for me to be so disconnected from the people who I have come to know so well from home. In the times that I have traveled in the past – even though I found myself in foreign countries and often over extended periods of time – I have never experienced these feelings of longing before. It occurs to me that maybe at those times in my life I hadn’t formed any of the structures of life that I now feel connected to. Maybe searching the way that I did when I was younger allowed me to be apart from the things that I knew and not feel anything. Being here in the Dominican Republic is bringing up a lot more nostalgia than I thought it would, and I am not sure where it comes from.
There is something about being here that has made me question all of the things that I thought I was sure if when I was in the United States. I cannot shake the feeling that the things I have been doing are inadequate. That my inability to tie myself down to things is no longer freedom, but failure. It seems that all of the emotions that lingered behind the swift and guillotine-like decisions I have made in the past six months or so have caught up with me in this place. I have found myself lying awake at night and wondering if I could have saved my relationship, if I am really cut out for graduate school, and if I shouldn’t just forget all of this and devote myself to painting for the rest of my life. I wonder about the current state of my relationships with those I care about most. Why do I feel such a strong desire to be connected to my family when I thrived on my apparent independence from them before? Who, of the many people I know, are really my friends? In an unguarded moment, have I let myself fall for someone I will never really have? I left a lot of things undone when I left for this country. I am not sure where I want to live when I return. I am not sure where I will work or even what I will do. All of these thoughts have been swirling around in a mess of uncertainty for the last week or so. It is so far outside of my character to worry about things like this, and I am no longer sure how to handle it.
I think often of my return to the states. Three months is not that long in the grand scheme of things, but it is long enough for things to rearrange themselves in ways that are significant. The idea of walking back into my life and having it be unrecognizable is one that I find unsettling. I know enough to know that the answers to all of these questions will not come to me now, and I do not expect them to. I know enough to know that worrying about them is futile at this point in my journey, I just wish I knew what encouraged them to surface with such a vengeance.