All the positive intentions in the world - and it is now been a year since I wrote a blog, 16 months since I returned. I originally wrote this blog in April as I crawled out and had a few days of strength, vision, and comfort, and then it all quickly went away again. Yet not much has changed.
I have been dancing with the ‘why?’ behind my absence for the last few weeks. I am not the person I was before I left, no matter how much I portend to be. I am not the person I lived as in Thailand. I have these fragmented personalities that are more visible and I feel more acutely than ever before in my life.
As I reflect, not writing makes sense because I lost my voice. Upon our return, re-establishing myself in today and processing /sharing about the past were all there was to do. The effort I felt writing abroad now rings hollow: hindsight reveals it was effortless as I wrote about all the unique and new experiences of my life. So what I thought was interesting - was everything.
Upon return, we assumed a trajectory and role in this society that are similar to before we left: as if we completed a single orbit around a celestial body and then were catapulted at an accelerated rate back to the previous course, or a parallel course. And many days I feel passive as unknown forces act upon me - overwhelmed. exhausted. afraid.
Speaking publicly (even as limited publicly as this is) about my thoughts on American society is also much more intimidating now that I am home. I am not protected by distance nor exempt from action. But I do not know where to start or where I fit in, or if I will fit in. Actually, I know I will never fit in and for the first time I am okay with that.
Still I feel this as pressure and weight on my shoulders. I have run a thousand marathons away from my shadow in the last year. I think it is time the sun burnt my back as I face the sad realities that shaped my country and continues to be a part of our unspoken history, unwitnessed story, and our children’s unintended formation. Until the people who control the levers of our power are completely transparent, we will be unable to see beyond the long shadow before us. Perhaps the sun is setting and night will soon be upon us all, but I am hopeful the sun is on the rise. That’s heavy - I know.
We took a vacay to joshua tree
My reflections reveal that I need this writing and reflection space in my life: Mostly for me. Part of the joy of this blog is that I force me to engage the world and process/ prepare my thoughts for public consumption. I have much more confidence talking about the challenges of and to our society, not because I have become well-read on the topics, but because I have taken the next step to collect my ideas into an organized and cohesive construct that I can verbalize. Since the blog’s inception, I have revealed a lot of my thinking and my ignorance - as embarrassing as this is, it has been a place of learning and growth. I think this country needs to stop living in denial and admit shame in order to grow. It is difficult to engage in growth when you’re preoccupied running a ruse or living a guise.
I love to be creative. Each year, I seem to have more demands on my time or less energy to keep them all going. The simplest things to drop off the list of accomplishments seem to be those that give me the most life. Reading. Writing. Social Action. Photography. Exploring Music. If I am not intentional, the grind pulverizes how I want to define my life. Creativity takes many forms in my life - this blog is a key to help unlock it.
I understand that the voice of individuals who look like me are not under-represented on the internet or in our society. I selfishly feel my voice varies from the dominant in that it is my own. As someone who doesn’t tend to dominate conversations, I do sense that people who listen to my thoughts, hear my words and vision as being different.
A short update on the situation of our life. Susan and I have resumed living in the northwest side of Chicago in Ukrainian Village. We have a small apartment that we love and we continue to try and simplify our lives - get rid of all the things we have not used in many years. I have been working in the Emergency Department of a children’s hospital since June of last year. Susan is working as an Administrative Assistant for Catholic Charities. And the really big news is: We are expecting an addition of our first child this September!
On What’s Next
I hope to be back soon:
- rehashing many of the themes that I struggled with in Thailand and sharing how the struggle continues differently in this home
- processing and sharing some of what it means to continue to transition to whoever I will be here
- at some point soon sharing the typical parental quandaries that have been written about in a thousand books
- sharing photographs of old and photographs new and hopefully some videos too.
Stay Tuned -
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