*This post should have been uploaded last week, but my brain would not focus enough. So expect the one that was actually meant for this week soon!*
You know when you’re trying to load a website and it just keeps buffering or saying it isn’t responding? That’s my brain right now. I have 20+ tabs open thinking about going back to America, the end of Peace Corps, saying goodbye to the place I’ve called home for two years, my family and friends, my travels before coming home, money, finding a job, which city I’ll be living in, that girl I made out with last weekend, Mexican food, cars, more Mexican food, how different I am now versus two years ago, my recent health issues, driving, relationships, grocery stores, PhD applications, living situations, and how insane life is right now (just to name a few). Suffice it to say, I’m getting pretty used to no focus and having my mind in a million places at once. I don’t think this state of mind is going to end any time soon. I’ll be in quite the flux state for the near to somewhat far future as my entire life transitions.
I’m not terribly upset to leave Botswana. This is not a place that I particularly want to live in for much longer, but I have made quite a few friends here and really made a friend of myself. Botswana will always hold a dear place in my heart as the time in my life where I pushed myself almost to my breaking point, but found so much knowledge and strength in that. I have learned so much about myself and realized that I can handle an insane amount of challenges. I’m not scared to leave Botswana, but I am scared about what I’m going home to. I don’t have a job, a long-term place to live, many belongings left at home (I pretty much just left five boxes of books and a dress), a car, a computer, or much else. I’m coming home to a relatively fresh start which is both exciting and daunting. I’ve changed so much in Peace Corps that I’m not really sure what my American self is anymore. Do I still wear make-up? Do I eat out? Do I have friends? Will living with a roommate drive me insane? What will my days look like? Will I have a job that is actually in my field? Will I be able to get back to a ceramics wheel anytime soon? Or even larger questions: Will I be discriminated against more or in danger because of my beliefs or my sexual orientation? Will my state still have anything left or will it all be ash? Am I coming home or to some foreign place that is just a shadow of the land I love? Coming back to the U.S. poses more questions than it answers. It doesn’t really feel like it’s my home anymore, but neither does Botswana.
I recognize that I won’t really have these answers until I’m back stateside. I can try to find a job while I’m still here and that would answer some questions, but the job market is a hard place to break into right now. I can imagine what my life will look like, but I don’t really have control over it. That’s ok. Control is overrated. That doesn’t stop my brain from wanting it. There isn’t much that will stop my brain though. I can rationally say a situation is over and I’ve learned as much from it as possible, but my brain will still say, “Oh, let’s replay that situation.” That’s just how I function and I realize and accept it.
My life may be chaotic right now, but unlike the last six months, it doesn’t feel tainted by depression. I finally feel like the veil has been lifted and I can see things more clearly. Which makes things overwhelming in a very different way. I never expected leaving Botswana to be harder than coming here in the first place, but it is. It’s much harder because unlike when I came here, I don’t have a plan. When I was coming here, I knew I was going to have a job and a secure long-term place to live. I knew that there were things out of my control, but in someone else’s. Now, I feel all the responsibility to find my independence and that’s great. I should have that responsibility and freedom. I’m just worried that once Peace Corps throws me out into the deep end, I won’t fully remember how to swim. We’ll just have to wait and see. I know I’ve lost a lot of my English skills, but maybe I still remember how to swim.
Overall, this is a thrilling time. I’m in this huge transition that marks the completion of something amazing. I have countless opportunities ahead of me and a beautiful new beginning that I can make into whatever I want! I just have to turn this anxiety into excitement and embrace what feels like the biggest adventure of my life. It’s time to break into self-sufficient, non-student, adulthood!