I am not adventurous.
One thing I have realized about having a trauma past is that, although it is not “incurable” (if you will bear with me), it is more chronic than acute. While you are working at whatever you have to work at to make things better, you have to live with it. And the time you have to live with it is really indeterminate. I mean, I keep landing in a place that I don’t recognize—there’s growth, in other words—and yet there is still trauma to deal with. I can’t say how long that has been going on, because I am not sure when I figured out how to kind of “do it.” I don’t know when I started doing something that worked instead of floundering around. And does the floundering count? I am not sure.
My point is just that I have learned over the years or decade or whatever it has been that it helps a lot if I don’t do much that is new. Life is unpredictable enough when little stuff sets off a whole train of hypervigilance I may or may not be able to get off of.
So I am not adventurous. New things are very rarely worth the effort. But doing the same thing again and again that I liked before. Well, that puts some sparkle into my life. I don’t know what my personality would be like minus the trauma, but as a coping strategy, predictability and routine work really, really well for me.
And this always sets me up for massive wtf moments here in Country X. Because the people who come here are adventurous. People who know me who interact with me over the fact of my coming here believe I am adventurous too. I was talking to someone yesterday who assumed I was sort of a wanderer type because I had traveled to India.
No, in fact. I am not. Quite the opposite. I run back to Y-town as quickly as possible because I like to be “home.” But what feels like home to me is different than one might expect.
The disjunction between expectation and my own internal experience makes me feel crazy on quite a regular basis.
I have been talking to other Westerners quite a lot these days. I suppose that has set this off. The fun part of this (pardon my sarcasm) is this gets routed through other experiences of feeling crazy. Like shit my dad did. So the feeling of “crazy” is not this little blip it might otherwise be.
But interacting with them has made me aware of our different experiences of Country X. There is overlap, of course. One man—unable to renew his visa for year #4 that I could never decipher—seemed to mainly be in love with the natural landscape and the opportunity for solitude. It made me aware that, for me, the attachment has to do with people. It is the specific people of my little Y-town world that make it for me. It is VP Ma’am and Maths Ma’am and C and the old people at the Holy Site who greet me that most do it for me.
I think there were enough little triggers of “safety” that I calmed down enough to form relationships. I am not really sure what those triggers were. But this is a part of acceptance for me, I think.
What triggers “safe” for the middle-class white child I would have been had my parents not been utterly whacked-out crazy is just not what triggers “safe” for me. Because I grew up in a different world.
I keep reminding myself of this and not quite believing it. Or maybe it just seems too frighteningly unsustainable. It seems to drag me off the path of what any kind of “reasonable” life might be. I don’t even know why I think that. I am not sure why it matters.
But I do need to work it out, because the plan I have for myself is to stay in Country X, make sure C turns out okay, try to help out a bit with the educational system if I can, and drink tea. Lots of it.