Tuesday, March 25, 2008



Though I pride myself on giving you all a pretty realistic glimpse into my PC life, I do not publish all of my writings. I do try and save some for myself. But I think it’s important that you all understand how much time there is to think, and over think the entire PC experience. And you all seem to appreciate me sharing my experiences so honestly and have commented positively on my ability to self-reflect (is that proper English?) so I thought I would include this little blurb that I recently wrote to a friend in an email:

I’m in such a slump right now. I know it’s normal to have a 1 year bummer, everyone in PC goes through it and we usually lose a couple people at mid-service, but I just can’t help but feel like I’ve accomplished absolutely jackshit here, and I’m starting to panic that I wont end up doing anything substantial with my two years. And it makes it so much worse when people from home are like, “ You’re so inspiring, I’m so proud of you, you’re changing the world!” and I just shake my head and think, “you are so unclear on the concept. I’m not doing anything you couldn’t do.”

And of course I know (better than most probably) that change is SLOW, and frustrating, and development workers make mistakes, and there are setbacks, and inefficiencies, and that you just have to have faith that what you’re doing makes a difference even if its not tangible and you can’t see the fruits of your labor until years down the line…blah blah blah, and usually I do…(you know me, I’m eternally optimistic, sometimes annoyingly so), but there are so many flaws with this program, especially the Health program, and it’s endlessly frustrating because PC has so much potential, and really its still pretty incredible (or else I wouldn’t be here) but my expectations for what I would accomplish were low coming in here, but I secretly hoped that maybe they wouldn’t need to be.

And I think that the real problem is just having WAY too much thinking time! You know? Like always being by yourself, but never alone? It’s something that I don’t think anyone can fully understand until you’re thrown into another place and made into a television show, but still totally isolated from all things familiar. It’s just bizarre.

And my god how I love it most of the time!
I really do, and some days I sit back and think, “wow. I’m awesome. Look at what I’m doing. Not just anyone could do this.” But maybe my own standards are too high also?

I just miss feeling like myself. And being on malaria meds, and constantly hot, and sleep deprived, and never feeling quite right, and lacking good food, and not having the control over exercise or a routine…or control over anything can just make you feel so helpless and confused.

But at the same time I absolutely adore my little life, and have gotten used to the slow pace of things, and feel comfortable just doing nothing some days, and being busy and needed other days, but then the guilt gets to you. That’s the worst part, the guilt that I’m not absolutely maxing myself out every single day and busting my ass to help my community, like I was at home, or at least in academia I was.

You know that it’s in my nature to operate on full force at all times, and so here because I can’t operate like that I feel like a failure. And logically I know that that attitude and attack just doesn’t work in this kind of a program (I tried at the beginning and it almost killed me and sent me home), but some days it just eats away at you, especially knowing so much about development work and its good and bad sides. And I’m thankful that I do know so much about it, because I feel like I’m so much better able to understand the complexities of the challenges this country and the people in my community face, but man, I’m so tired of thinking all the time. I do wish I could just be mindless sometimes. It’s enough to make a person crazy.

I just miss feeling like super-healthy, on top of her shit, bubbly and energetic, confident, do-gooding Caitlin. That’s all. And I’m not entirely sure how to get her back? Or if I’ve even lost her in the first place?

And like I said, don’t worry too much about this rant. I have it with myself probably 3x a week and I ultimately end up convincing myself that I am happy and everything’s fine, but it feels nice to share it with you, because I know you’ll read this and be thoughtful and honest about it. I may post it on my blog at some point just so that people understand what goes on in my brain…


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Oh, my dear Caitlin. If you were here I would hug you so tight. I don't know that I could find words to make you feel better, but I would hug you. I could say that you are "one in a million", and "Oh, you do make a difference,"
and "noone could do your job the way you do," but they are all words, and sometimes, words are not what we need, or want. But if you were in front of me right now, I would reach out and hug you a hug that would probably hurt eventually, and I would tell you that "my life is so much richer having you in it, and I love you for who and what you are." That's it, hugs and love, from someone who cares so deeply........
east coast mom