My Story: A Piece of Promise, Closure & Moving On

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The right words to write this last month to sum up my experience haven’t come to me until more recently. These last 30-40 days since I made my decisions to leave Peace Corps, to leave Grenada, a place that I had called my 2nd home has been extremely eye-opening in countless ways, but the hardest part was finally allowing myself to follow my intuition to alter my commitments of service. There were a lot of moving parts that went into the good-bye and the final decision because when it came to the core of it all, I knew that staying was breaking my heart more than leaving would. 


I’ve decided to share the trying parts of my story in case it may provide insight or spark connection.


I understand that social media can be allusive, and confusing to what reality is at times, especially since I chose to highlight the highs. Truthfully though, there were absolutely beautiful moments there and my hard times don’t belittle the love and beauty I felt on Grenada. I chose to keep the burdens to myself, and remain resilient through things that were really heavy to carry. I worked so hard everyday to consciously focus on the good, and that resulted in me minimizing my truth, to make it less than what it was. I felt as if I didn’t acknowledge it as reality, it was not happening. My mind convinced me that if I didn’t talk about it, I didn’t have to deal with it. And boy, was I so wrong.


I confided in my closest people because I didn’t feel like myself anymore. I worried my motivation, my mental health, and my being were never going to be my friends again. As I mentioned before, security was a major component and concern for me and it only intensified while I was there, bringing on an array of problems. Some things beyond my control were at play and my situation and placement fell through the cracks because of it. I fell through the cracks.


This is not the reality of every Peace Corps Volunteer at all— everyone’s story is different, special, and unique. Mine just got cut short, and God granted me grace to choose differently. You don’t realize how important your safety is until you feel so powerless and exposed everyday. I knew that PC would not be easy and it challenged me in ways that grew me beautifully, but it hit a point where I couldn’t stay any longer due to rational fears. 


So now fast forward to being home the last two and half weeks, my mind was bogged down with the reality of guilt, grief for the ending of a chapter, and new realizations about my essence that I never dared to acknowledge before. I’ve been getting help and support where I needed it the most, and I feel like I can breathe. There are parts of me that I’m rebuilding and making stronger, but there’s a lingering guilt that I felt since I am no longer in Grenada. I miss moments on Grenada. I miss my school. I miss my kids. I miss my Peace Corps friends. I miss living in another culture.  And it’s okay to miss all those things while also wanting distance and closure. But, I know that God has a plan for me and my Peace Corps journey was meant to be 6 months, no matter how badly I wanted it to be the full-time. I know in my heart that I did the best I could and advocated for myself along the way.


Now I understand the importance of trusting my intuition. So I just want to say my little bit that I wish I was reminded…… know that you’re never stuck. You’re never trapped. You’re never alone, and it does get better when you allow yourself to release, forgive, and accept help. It’s all going to be okay, no matter what season of life you’re in. Thank you for allowing me to share my piece!

6 Life-Changing Realizations I’ve Had During 2019

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There’s only a month left of 2019, and my 23rd birthday is quickly approaching. I’ve had a lot of revelations this year because I am living outside of my comfort zone and experiencing so many differing perspectives. This year, I graduated college, joined Peace Corps, and moved to a Caribbean island. I now know that I don’t have to be who I’ve always been, and I can heal wounds, forgive myself, and move forward. So here are big realizations I’ve had this year:


  1. An eye for an eye (revenge) is not how I’m going to live my lifeWhen someone does me wrong or I get my feelings hurt, I remind myself that it’s not personal; people’s decisions, opinions, and actions are often a reflection of how they feel about themselves or are formed by baggage that they carry. {Whether we choose to be transparent or not, we all have our own hurts, pains, insecurities, and shortcomings that we can either fall victim to or work through and heal; I’m choosing the latter.} When I can forgive and repair, I do it willingly, but there are times when it’s best to forgive, move on, and release the burdensome pressure. I’ve learned it’s best not to have long-term resentment, aggression, or anger towards others, it just hurts more as time passes. All in all, I believe in people and we’re all just doing the best we can, but when we know better, we must choose to do better. When it’s said and done, I know I have the power to remove myself from toxic situations and relationships.

  2. Letting go of things/people that I’ve outgrown has allowed me to spread my wings and recenter my thinking. When I set my mind to something, I invest wholeheartedly, but sometimes, the reality doesn’t match the truth inside my head. I’ve had to spend a lot of time working, growing, and learning about false realities I wanted and created to get to the root of my ideologies and beliefs. When I let go of the delusional of all the what if’s or could be’s, I started to have a clearer picture of my reality and the more positive direction I wanted to move towards. I realized I didn’t have to stay in the same state of mind I’ve always been in.

  3. Saying ‘no’ is so powerful. Setting boundaries is refreshing, and serves so many purposes in my life. Going off into the Peace Corps this year has taught me the importance of setting boundaries early on while also voicing my opinion and considerations. It’s allowed to me to devote my time and energy to my passions and do away with time fillers and wasters. I am not beneficial to anyone when I am over extended or a scattered brain. By setting boundaries and using my voice, I have shown others that I value myself, my time, and the work I’m dedicated to.

  4. Trusting in the season of my life has allowed me to breathe and find peace in my now. There have been many times where I feel unsettled and restless, wanting to know what’s next or why x, y, or z hasn’t happened yet. I have many short-term and long-term goals for myself, and at times that gives me a false illusion like I know what my future holds or what the next stage holds. I’m in an amazing chapter of my life right now, and I’m learning to just enjoy the moments as they come. I still challenge and push myself, but I’ve given up trying to ‘play God’ and map out my entire life. It’s okay that I don’t know what’s next. It’s okay that I’m single. It’s okay that I’m in this season of my life in another country.

  5. Hard work always pays off, tenfold.  Growing up in Indiana, I had many factors in my life that taught me about being disciplined, having great work ethic, and the value of genuinely helping others, and eventually, I developed the work ethic I have now. While in college, I took on so many jobs, internships, and extra curricular activities. I loved being a part of things greater than myself, being a team player. By working hard, I have developed skills and a value adding mindset that I’ll carry with me no matter where I go, and I learned the value of communicating well, showing up, and always doing the best work I am capable of. So if you ever feel like your work is taking you in circles, recenter your thinking and know that being a smart worker is a valuable asset.

  6. In order to grow, I need to invest in myself. As a volunteer working in the education sector, I have fallen in love with learning again. I am gaining knowledge from the time I get up until I go to bed. I apply myself, and believe I am capable in all that I do. That belief has allowed me to get positions within Peace Corps that allow me to enhance my ability to write and edit, it’s allowed me to get accepted in an online MBA program, it’s allowed me to read more books in a month than I ever thought possible. When I invest in myself, sky really is the limit. I hope you invest in yourself too and see just how capable you are. 

 

 

These views are my own and do not reflect those of the US government or Peace Corps.