Settling in

While this week contained some beautiful moments, I have to say it was also pretty challenging for me in many ways. Most everyone I’m meeting is interesting and kind, but it’s disorienting and isolating to be disconnected from nearly everything familiar and comforting to me.

I also think having clear plans for the future — whether in terms of location, of tasks I’ll be doing, or of people who’ll surround me — can be stabilizing, because I get to think of whatever’s happening in the moment, however uncomfortable, as somewhat temporary. I can say to myself: Sure, the present is like this, but in [x] amount of time, there’ll be [y]. It’s hard sometimes not having that to hold onto. I know it’ll teach me something, but right now it’s definitely uncomfortable. I always want to stay conscious of the privilege inherent in what I am doing, and maintain gratitude that I have the opportunity to learn these lessons at all. That’s important. But the hard days still come!

Last night, though, was a blessing. Sometimes, being lonely or sad makes me wall off even more…I think because I feel fragile, or because I want to hide this ugly sub-par version of myself from other people. But last night, I went into the kitchen for dinner and was just wrapping up when another resident walked in. I had noticed some pain and depth behind her cheerfulness a few days earlier, but hadn’t had a chance to get to really talk to her. This time, I closed my book and pushed aside the wall, and really tuned into what she was saying, getting to know her story. She was so genuine and open, it made me want to match her, and we ended up having a beautiful moment of connection. When two other residents came in, the energy carried through. Sitting there with the three oldest members of the residency, I got to learn more about what they’d all been through in life, and they gave me some wonderful perspective when I told them about some things I’d been struggling with. We were all just raw and supportive of one another, and they reminded me it’s normal to feel weak and confused sometimes — it won’t last.

All of that left me feeling so connected and at peace, the most hopeful I’ve felt since I got here. And I wanted to take a moment to document and be grateful for that.

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