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Journey of Understanding

Not that I didn't have a happy childhood, but as I entered my teens, the verbal and physical abuse at home escalated. My parents separated. The turmoil of the adult relationships around me was confusing and painful. I felt a lack of stability and lack of control over the situation.

My mother made my education a priority, and wanted me to learn creativity and passion for learning. She made it possible for me to take part in a high school exchange program and I chose to go to Central America for 10 months. There I began to gain a broader perspective on the world, to see the impact that my country of birth has on the political economies of other countries.

I didn't consciously make a connection between these macro-level injustices and the micro-level violence I grew up with, but at some level I wanted to save others the pain I had felt. In the jobs I held after college, I was most satisfied when I helped to overcome bickering between two of the company's departments or encourage several kids to cooperate on a project and listen to each others' ideas. I decided I needed to go back to school and I spent several years learning a great deal from my fellow students and colleagues. I intentionally looked at how race, class and gender affect my life.

After completing a graduate degree in Conflict Transformation, I took a job in social services, and found a great deal of meaning and satisfaction in helping people. I pushed myself and my colleagues to go beyond "good enough" when providing services to help and support vulnerable members of our community. I challenged myself and others to listen openly even when we didn't agree with how our clients viewed society or government agencies or even us as individuals. But one day I realized I had completely given myself over to my job and I wasn't enjoying life. An opportunity for change came and I joined a peacebuilding organization in India.

Everything is so strangely similar and yet so different from working in an office back at home. I happen to like the image of myself as someone who can easily build relationships across borders and cultures, yet I sometimes have visceral reactions when I am outside my comfort zone. I know from experience that those feelings will pass with time and it is an adjustment process.

I'm in a stage where I'm realizing I have to very clearly understand my own motivations, weaknesses and needs in order to provide any assistance to others. I will continue to work for a world with less suffering, and I will try to have fun while I do it. I am applying to Voices of Our Future because through writing down my perspectives on the world I also hope to shift, if ever-so-slightly, the way my readers think about people different from themselves and about who is to "blame" for conflict.

Comments

Sharontina's picture

Relationships!

Building relationships across borders and cultures. i wish i had that ability. But WP has put us together that we build a bond betweeen each other. Keep sharing more dear. its amazing.

Love

Merlin Sharontina

Klaudia Mexico's picture

need has the face everywhere

Not long ago, I lived in Canada and I realized need has the same face everywhere. I wasn´t naive, I just didn't realize human suffering hurts the same everywhere. While, I was reading your piece I thought of the tons of challenges Mexican and Latin American women have yet to overcome, They´re embracing motherhood without being prepared and we must stop this cycle. I know we will.
All the best
Klaudia

Klaudia González

Mmaefia's picture

Nice Piece

This is a nice piece that is worth reading. However, there are other people in the other parts of the world who can not afford to travel from their village to another village; hence such people need interventions from various programs, grants and aid in order to be able to have the exposure that you have.

I love it when I see people appreciating the roles of mothers and so I am personally impressed with your write-up.

Keep it up dear.

MARY

Falchemist's picture

Visceral Reactions

Those reactions can certainly throw us off, can't they?

I would gently suggest that you dig into the whys and wherefores of those reactions and do some further exploration. Don't just allow them to pass with time. Engage them with openness and intent, and you will find out why they arise and how to head them off.

Good going.

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