Some Secrets Are Meant To Be Kept

It makes me wonder if anyone is feeling like me

Infinite blessings, but a deep bottomless dark cavern swallows everything up. I can’t feel any of it. All I feel is the drop, never finding the bottom of the roller coaster

I wonder if anyone else feels like they are being rocked by never ending waves. With no help in sight, empty and unfriendly seas battering against the beating of my fragile heart. All I feel is the breaking, piece by piece

I’m alone in the solitude of this depression

Daily waking, working, and existing in a world that doesn’t know what is inside me. The pain and the heaviness is only mine to carry, a burden that can’t be shared

But oh, do I long to share it… share anything with anyone. To tell the truth of my soul. To scream to the mountains and the valleys of what I manage, but those mountains will be tossed on top of me if I utter a single word.

Shhhhhhhhh…. Some secrets require a crypt. Some secrets are meant to be kept.

Quiet quiet now, don’t tell about the stirrings of your soul. Don’t tell…

Posted in Complaining, Again, Feeling Old | Tagged , , | 3 Comments

Raining On My Goodbye

I think it’s very fitting that my last day in Florida before I move is filled with thunderstorms and rain. It’s like Florida knows I am leaving and knows that while I was in Sudan THIS was what I missed the most… rain. It’s lovely to listen to the sound of rain falling outside my window right now. You don’t know how much you miss it until you live in a desert and here it is. It’s an all day rain with thunder (and a touch of lightning.) I’m in love with it. Somehow, maybe it’s because of the early hour, I’ve managed to not go out and dance in it. For now, before the world wakes up and I have to continue on, I will just pause to listen to the pouring rain and remember how long I used to dream of this sound. The perfect farewell from Florida…

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Welcome Home

It’s been a long time since I have blogged and for that I apologize. In my line of work, when things become complicated, it is often easier to just get stuck in than air the details on an open forum. It’s ultimately better for my job too as everyone is monitored all the time. So, let me get you, my dear readers- if you are still there, up to speed.

I have now been working in my Sudan position for over 2 1/2 years and lived in Khartoum for two years. I traveled to areas like Abyei and Darfur, learning about the amazing Sudanese people and what they need to live a full life. I was part of 5 emergency responses within my first 6 months there and learned quickly how to do my job in an emergency context. The past 2 1/2 years have been a buzz. I have been constantly overwhelmed and managed the best that I could… my brain for over two years has been on overdrive. And now, I am home…

Home, what a funny word… there is so much that is implicit in this tiny little word. It implies safety, family, constancy, and so many other things. For a world traveler, aid worker, journalist, etc you learn to do without these things. You learn to expect a lack of safety, to never be constant except constantly traveling, and most of the time you are alone. You steel yourself against the thoughts of family that may come creeping into your mind late at night, the things that you are missing. The friends you grew up with are all married and have children. You are in a context where this is impossible… you can’t even imagine how you would even meet someone, let alone allow yourself such a conventional dream as to become a parent. Then all of a sudden you are plucked out of this place and are back with your family, the house you grew up in, and some of your friends from childhood (albeit for a short time.) The juxtaposition of these two extremes, so fresh in your mind is a daunting thing to process. Going from the store in Sudan where there are limited options of groceries to buy to the stores here where I have 20 different options for salad dressing and what feels like a million different options for toilet paper alone. The consumerism and capitalism here is overwhelming, but it’s home and there is something solid about all of this.

Then, of course I never stay put, I am moving in about a week and a half to Atlanta to begin another Master’s Degree. This one will be a Master’s in Public Health (MPH) at Emory University. All of this with the goal of providing better, more informed, emergency health and nutrition programming in emergencies once I am done with school. You know I have to get back out at it. That is a little over two years from now though. What will Atlanta be like? What will studying for my MPH be like? Will it be really difficult, will it conquer me or will I enjoy it? I don’t quite know, but I do have now my constant companion. I have my little Sudanese cat named Maafi Mushkala (“No Problems” in Arabic) and brought him back with me to stay here in the States. He is a sweetheart, but sort of wild too. He’s really the perfect reflection of me in cat form and I bet that’s why I love him so much. It will be great to have him on this Atlanta adventure with me.

Well, honestly that is about it for me… I have 6 business days left of work with the employer I’ve worked for 7 years, move to Atlanta, and then let the fun begin. Life is an adventure. I love that. More blogging now that I am States side. I promise!!

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Being Alone

It’s amazing that at 29 years old, I hadn’t mastered the skill of being alone. I typically hate it, I mean really hate it. I prefer to be busy, both physically and mentally. It’s not always possible, of course, and in times like this where I am traveling to remote areas it is impossible. Internet is something scarce where I am at right now and distractions like television, music, or friends aren’t available to take your mind off things. So, what is a girl to do?

Basically, I have to become comfortable with myself, with silence. I am having to learn to still my mind, calm the chatter, and to be flexible with the emotions that surface. You can’t distract yourself from being alone, you are alone. So, I sit with it… sit with the experiences I have had over the past few weeks, sit with experiences I have had in the long ago past that come bubbling to the surface, and be gentle with my exploration of these thoughts. It’s not an easy process that is for sure and it’s not guaranteed that it leads to healing, but I hope that it leads to strength. All of this has also helped me realize how “normal” I actually am. I used to think that I was always too sad, too analytical, too this or too that… I am what I am and that is okay. Heck, it’s more than okay… it’s good.  I’ve got my best friend here with me and we are good.

So I come back to my positive affirmation… I am pure love and pure strength. Everything I am and everything I want to be are right here in this moment. I am like the trees that bend with the wind and never break.

Posted in Complaining, Again, Travel | Leave a comment

September 11th

It’s still dark outside, but the wildlife outside the windows of this little compound is already coming alive. The sounds of birds welcoming the day is what woke me this morning, far before my alarm would. I went out to look around and a hedgehog went scurrying past my foot barely recognizable in the shadowy darkness. It’s September 11th and this space in time has caused me to reflect.

It’s been a long 10 years, a life changing 10 years. The way we travel, the way we think, the vernacular we use (who doesn’t know what code yellow means now?) and even who we are at the core of ourselves has been changed. Changed not just by September 11th but all that came afterwards… For me, at least one thing has remained constant. I have always thought and will always think that key to unlocking such hennous acts as those that occured on September 11th is aid. Delivering aid to the most impoverished people on this planet, regardless of their nationality, politics, location, gender, religion, or any factor other than need, has always been in my opinion the clearest way to bring about peace.

So, instead of remember where I was, who I was with, and what I was doing (which of course I remember clearly) I want to comment on where I am. I am now an aidworker doing exactly what I always thought was most important. Some people out there got different callings from September 11th… but for me, being there for others, ensuring access to education, healthcare, and a way to make a decent living is the goal of my life. Now, 10 years later, I am living it out. It’s not what I thought it was going to be in some ways and in others it has far exceeded my expectations.

So, today on the 10th anniversary of September 11th I am going out to deliver aid, to extend a helping hand to women and children who need it, and with it I will dish out servings of hope, understanding, and one day maybe this will lead to peace. I hope…

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Sudanese Morning

So, today is the first Thursday of Ramadan (towards the end of the first week) and I am up before the sun. I do have problems sleeping but during this month, it is a bit strategic so I eat breakfast before sunrise and then fast (or attempt to fast) while I am at work. It’s a difficult experience but an interesting one. So, this morning as the sky is still pitch black I went out on my balcony to just sit and think. The lights from the American Embassy and the golf course twinkle in the distance. The stars are still shining bright, a cool breeze gently blows past me, and the morning call to prayer softly begins in the distance. A rooster even crows in a neighbor’s yard somewhere.

These are the times where I am able to appreciate where I am. I’m in a foreign place that has its own beauty, its own moments of still quiet peace. With all the difficulties that come with living in Sudan and with my work, one has to appreciate a time in one’s life that will never be repeated. This is an experience that is truly once in a lifetime. So, as I listen to the sweet and quiet morning prayer I say my own… thanking God for this time in my life and asking for the strength to continue my path with calm focus. These moments are rare for me here. So, this morning during Ramadan I am letting go of the worry that plagues my mind constantly. I am peaceful and I say my positive affirmation…

“I am perfect love and pure strength. All I am, all I want to be is right here in this moment. I am like the trees that sway with the wind and do not break.”

Namaste my friends, namaste.

Posted in Sudan | Tagged | 1 Comment

The Lingering Affects of Fear?

So, I’ve been doing an “electronic” deep cleaning … I use the same email address from when I first started it in the 1990’s. I am also horrible about going through it. So, when I did finally sit down this morning I found a file folder I saved back in 2000 called “wedding.” It was clips of bouquets, dresses, cakes, etc for a wedding that was being discussed at the time and that I (only 18 at the time, young and stupid) had every assurance would occur. Of course, those of you that know me well know I have never been married. Looking at all of these tiny little broken dreams made me in the course of about 2 seconds fill with pain/fear and within another 2 seconds press the “delete” button actively choosing to release these emotions, as quickly as they arrived.

I know though, that there is no real delete button for life’s fear… fear of pain, hurt, and even death. Don’t we bring that fear with us or does it live just below the surface? Doesn’t it sneak up on us when we least expect it and affect the decisions we make, connections created, the way that we create, as well as resolve, conflict? I’m just beginning to explore all of this, particularly the connection between personal/inter-personal relationships and conflict (my theory is that the way we fight on an inter-personal level is similar to the initiation of conflict on a macro-level.) This is really a new thing for me entirely and who knows if I will explore this much further externally, but I find it interesting anyway. I know I have a personal goal of conquering my fears, which are based on past experiences, pain, hurt, etc… I’ve begun an exercise regime and meditation practice to bring positive thinking into my daily life. It’s so easy here to obsess on unusually small negative occurrences and then wildly connect them through abstract thinking to something in the past. I think that might be human nature in a sense, probably animal behavior related to self-preservation. Whatever it is, I am willing to explore it…

Dear Readers, I’m a “thinker” so contemplating human nature vis-a-vis my own is sure to be an interesting trip. Are you willing to go along with me on this discovery? Your choice, but its sure to be a wild ride. 🙂 Namaste, my friends.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment