Tuesday, 11:44 a.m.
Welcome back to another blog post from the inner workings of my mind. I’ve been in a little bit of a funk lately, so I wanted to release my private thoughts into the universe..or at least here on the internet.
So let’s jump right in – shall we?
Something I’ve been struggling with all year long is being a person of color in what seems like a predominantly white world. Now I don’t mean the world in a literal sense. Instead, I am referring to my placement of Asheville, NC. It’s true that in a large majority of the spaces I frequent here that I am often one of the few (if not the only) people of color in any given space – in grocery stores, on the bus, at my weekly swing class, and even in my own household. As a person of color, you may not realize it immediately, but being in a headspace where you always have the color of your skin and how others will or will not interact with you because of it is pretty exhausting. And now I am at that point where I’m realizing just how much mental energy I’ve been consciously or unconsciously exerting on this reality.
And I feel myself beginning to shut down and become more closed off because of it.
I don’t really feel like being bothered with trying to explore this white world any more. I’ve been intentional about doing it for roughly seven months now, and honestly I have to say that I feel quite isolated from my sense of self, from my culture, from people who understand what it’s like to be a young black woman (in a predominantly white space) without me even having to say a word.
I have been so overwhelmed with any combination of change, loneliness, boredom, depression, etc. that for a moment I have seriously considered walking away from this program with only a few months until the end of it all. But I won’t do that because I’m not a quitter. (Truthfully I’m just a really stubborn person and won’t let myself back down.) After some time to reflect and an increased amount of time spent in my workplace, I have found that the most life-giving takeaway from my year of service has been the opportunity to go through a comfortable process of vocational discernment. Through this year, I have solidified the fact that I must have a career where I work to enhance the mental and social well-being of little ones. It brings me so much joy when I step into the community center where I get to hang out with the smartest, funniest, and most loving elementary school kids around. At this point in the year, I have formed a trusting relationship with each of them, and it feels great knowing that they look up to me. They look forward to me visiting them everyday. And they take comfort in knowing that I care for them and will be here to provide emotional support, academic assistance, a helping hand, or a listening ear whenever they need it.
These kids have truly been a blessing for me this year. And while I am eager to get started on the next journey in my life – because I am genuinely excited about what’s next and because it would be nice to not be caught up in the personal struggles of this YAV year – I am also careful not to wish the time away too quickly because I want to cherish each and every moment that I have with them.
“Is anybody else over this year?” Yes, at times. I totally get that. And that’s life. It’s not all good all of the time. That’s how you learn and hopefully become a better person. There’s nothing good to be learned about running away from conflict when it arises, so that’s what I’m trying to keep in mind. Roughly three more months left – I got this. And for those of you who can relate to overwhelming struggles of the YAV year, you do too!