Happy Tuesday kids!
It’s been an action packed week for me; after being at the salon full time this week, I also had my first weekend doing overnight with the girls at the safe house and I think it went well. When I came in on Friday afternoon all done up in my salon alter-ego, the girls told me I looked like I belonged on the ‘bad girls club’, which I’m choosing to believe means something positive.
As usual, I’m really enjoying my day off, which is only in the very beginning stages at 11 am, curled up at a corner table in Starbucks, sitting still and thinking.
I’ve been writing almost every day this month, whether it’s little nothings on my computer, or my journal, but it’s a different sort of feel than my usual blogs. I’ve really come to love expressing myself this way. It’s gotten to the point where I’d almost associate myself as being a writer sooner than I would a film student graduate.
“We write for the same reason we walk, talk, climb mountains or swim the oceans – because we can. We have some impulse within us that makes us want to explain ourselves to other human beings. That’s why we paint, that’s why we dare to love someone – because we have the impulse to explain who we are.”
There’s something powerful about images though, especially when paired with words. This week I’ve been revisiting favorite photos from last year, in all the difference places I had a chance to spend time in. I think that’s something that really keeps me grounded—I never, ever want to forget how easy I have it here and I never want to take for granted all the privileges I have. Beyond that, I just miss it.
I feel really annoying on Instagram especially, because I’m constantly posting pictures of Africa or the kids and how I miss it. I don’t know how I could react any other way. I can’t pretend I didn’t live there for a year. I can’t hide the fact that it was almost a year ago now that I came back, and that my heart still yearns for that life, even though God is mercifully allowing me to be content exactly where I am.
It was a big deal to me, and I don’t know when it’ll stop being a big deal. I don’t know when everyone will be tired of hearing about it, but I’d imagine that after a year being back in America everyone is probably pretty done with my nostalgia.
But when I’m sitting here in stylish little boots from Forever21 that I bought with my own money, looking at the remainder of my iced caramel machiatto, listening to ‘Ballroom Blitz’ by Sweet and checking my iPhone every few minutes the days of dirt in everything I own, and freshly butchered chicken remains and my littles climbing up to peek in my window to ask for biscuits feels achingly far away.
It’s hard for me to be here, some days.
Right before I started working at the salon, when I realized I wouldn’t be going back to Tanzania, I spent an afternoon sobbing on the couch with my dad about how I didn’t know how to forgive myself for being here and having what I have, when I know so many people that don’t have. How are you supposed to adapt back to standards of living like they’re the only ones or the most desirable?
It’s not bad to have a few cute pairs of shoes, but living in Tanzania I was ashamed to have more than one pair of sandals because all my friends there lived with one or none at all. It’s not bad to enjoy cute outfits, but living in Tanzania taught me that your clean shirt is for church on Sundays and you wear your one other each day until there are holes in it—and even then you’ll still wear it. It’s not bad to ‘not feel in the mood for more chicken’, but in Tanzania chickens are expensive and kids don’t usually get any, because it’s all for the adults and if you get it once or twice a week, you are affluent. It’s not a bad thing to make decisions based on what you personally need in situations, but Tanzania taught me that if something affects you, it affects your family, your friends and your community… so make sure you think of them when you make decisions.
I can’t undo my experiences, and I wouldn’t for anything in the world.
I just can’t turn it off and compartmentalize it sometimes.
I can’t forget my little ones.
I can’t forget their faces, and how much they taught me about a new way to live.
I can’t accept that the American way of looking at the world is always going to be the best.
And I just miss my kids.