I’m No Superwoman

Blank. I’ve been staring at the computer screen for hours, trying to come up with a kick-ass opening for my travel post.  Still blank.  It’s ironic because there seems to be a lot brewing in my head that my mind is spiraling downward. My emotions are on a free fall and I don’t have access to a parachute!
“I am a mess. I need help” was the distress message I sent to my boyfriend, who lives miles away and who, unfortunately, has to bear the brunt of my unpredictable bouts of depression. He usually understands, but this time, he was even more confused than I was, and every single day that passed I became more vague, irritable, ruthless, and needy. There seems to be no shortage of things to gripe about these days. There’s the bats that’s roosting inside my hut, the endless rains and mud, the constant threat of scorpion and snake bites, malaria, typhoid, the trigger-happy militia men next door who grace our evenings with the beautiful music of their gunfire, the boring meals of rice and eggs and tinned beans, the freezing showers, the smelly latrine, the lack of social life, the recent strike of the national staff, the workload, the chronic levels of low stress brought about by the volatile security situation—shall I continue?

In the normal world, I’m usually Zen about these things. No worries. No problem. There’s always a solution to everything. This too shall pass. But guess what, I am not only eating my words now, I’m gagging on them. My hut is teeming not only with the smell of bat urine but with the disgust I feel, not for my job, but for allowing myself to stoop so far as wallowing in self-pity to the brink of self-destruction. And I know it won’t be long before the place caves in under it, unless I do something.
Humanitarian aid work is never easy, that I know. But no one told me that it is this serious and excruciating. Every day you deal with suffering and become overwhelmed with unmet needs. Too much suffering in fact that you begin to question the universe and even God. Seeing all the poverty and misery around, I started losing interest in religion and God. What I was interested in was to help as many people as I can and at the same time climb out of the depressive hole I’d fallen into. I’ve abandoned my odd attempts at bedtime prayers and early-morning “conversations” with my Maker.
To top it all, I began to question my effectiveness and started looking for external validation—you know, appreciation of my efforts, praises, people telling me how awesome I am. And that is the beginning of the death of my self-worth. I started accusing people of being insensitive, when I was the one who was hyper-sensitive.  Pathetic, isn’t it?
Back home, whenever I feel miserable, I would often find myself in church, and the priest would say, “I know you are lonely, but you are not alone. Look to your right and to your left. Someone is bound to be there to take care of you.” But here when I look both ways, I see a strange-looking reptile to my left and a blank-looking cat to my right.
I am a mess. I need help. I have come to the shattering realization that pursuing one’s passions means there are things to be endured. Things that are often too painful, but when overcome, will make you a better person.
I’m much calmer now after a long chat with one of my strongest support system standing (you know who you are).  Things have been ugly between us in the past week, but it sure cracked me open. And I hope that’s a good thing.
Right now, I am in a phase of introspection, because I need to have faith again in something—cliched as it sounds—bigger than myself.
I did not mean for this post to be an account of my personal struggles and all the drama that comes with it. It’s not cool. But well, I am no Superwoman. And although I want to bury my head under the pillow and cry, I’m trying to comfort myself in the thought that the stories  later will all be worth it.
P.S.: My Uganda series will resume next week. 
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17 Comment

  1. AJ says: Reply

    First off, your opener is a grabber. Blank – who knew?!

    This may sound superficial in light of the angst you poured into this post, but this tops your other posts, enlightening as they were. Most people probably know that humanitarian work is probably one of the hardest, but you've made us smell, hear, feel, and see it the way it is.

    Dunno if this helps, but Jesus also articulated the loneliness of His calling by uttering, "Father, why have you forsaken me?" Ultimately, it was His humanity that connected the Him to us, not his miracles.

    Yes, you may not possess superpowers, but it's precisely your humanity that those people need. May God be with you, Reiza.

  2. awww… i feel the 'humanness' in this post…

    people like me who just enjoy the conveniences of life should be shamed.

    i laud on unsung people like you, whose very charitable acts are the rewards in itself.

  3. Reading your post stirred up a few different emotions for me. The first one was amazement at where you are and what you’re doing. The second one was an urgent need to rescue you…reassure you of the rightness of what you’re doing. I wanted to make you all better, sure-up your faith, pour you a cup of hot tea and offer you a warm towel.
    The third emotion was gratitude; gratitude for my life and all the warm fuzzies within my reach. It sure makes all my complaining seem trite, showing what a spoiled brat I can be at times.
    I’m so glad that you wrote it raw and true, because that is what breaks through our shell of defenses and opens us up to all things real and lasting. You’re an inspiration my dear, in all of your messy splendor! Thanks for posting. I’ll be checking in on you and saying prayers.
    XO
    Leah

  4. It's hardly surprising you are feeling low. You are living in very difficult circumstances and have not only set yourself the goal of surviving them but also helping all those around you. No wonder you are down.

    Just by being there you are doing an amazing thing for this world. YOu are proving that at least one person cares enough to live in such difficulties. You are probably questioning your self worth because you are too close to what you are doing and the steps seem tiny or insignificant, but I guarantee one day you'll see what an amazing thing you are doing in spite of the ups or down.

    It's terrible to feel inspired by someone else's misery, but I do feel inspired by you. You have shown a real human side to you in this post and I can see that one doesn't have to be perfect to do the stuff you are doing, you don't have to be the kind of person who can sail through life with a smile on their face no matter what, you simply have to be the kind of person who cares enough.

    And you care in spades.

    Thank you for doing what you are doing even though it is causing you turmoil; thank you for caring enough. Remember to look after yourself because you cannot care for others if you are sick – even if that means you have to go home for a while. And please do not feel guilty for being vulnerable, a little scared and sad at the moment.

    We have never met but I'm sending you my love,

    Petra.

  5. we all struggle and fight our own battles, some are light but some can be harder like what you might be experiencing right now.

    anyways, good luck on your mission and you make us travel bloggers proud of what you do.

  6. Jenn says: Reply

    Okay–attempt 2 to leave a comment:) Of course, I don't remember what I typed up the last time.

    I think it is okay to feel the way you feel. I think your circumstances as described above–would make any normal person question faith and feel down and out.

    However–you are already recognizing your feelings and why you have them. So–now that you know what it is that is pulling you down and questioning everything–you can do something about it.

    I don't pretend to know your entire situation or circumstances–but I think you need a small break. Perhaps for a day or so–away from the daunting work (if you can) perhaps exploring the cities with your friends and boyfriend–in order that you can take your mind off of things and gain a new perspective. A day away may be all it takes to have a bit of renewal in humanity, faith, and yourself.

    I'm praying for you!! Jenn

  7. Anonymous says: Reply

    Subo ug makaguol. Gin, kaya mo yan…..

  8. i don't know you personally, but reading through your post makes me wanna hug you and tell you you're just gonna be fine, that this is just a phase of some sort. for all you know, a short break is just what you need.

    stay strong. not many people can do the work that you do. keep it up. it's a very important work. i actually envy you 🙂

  9. With the work you're doing and the passion that comes with it make you an extraordinary person already. You may not be superwoman but you are one heck of a strong and kick-ass girl! Looking forward to your post when the storm had passed. *Hugs*

  10. admin says: Reply

    Thank you, everyone, for your kind words, prayers, support, pats on my back. You have no idea how much you've helped me pull myself together. I never knew blogging can be such a therapy until now. I am slowly getting my bearings and getting back on track. Next week, I am booking myself to a wonderful day beside the pool in Juba (the capital). I guess you're right, I should take a time off Bor for now. Hopefully, when I come back, I'll be back to my old crazy self. Cheers! And thank you from the bottom of my heart.

  11. Anonymous says: Reply

    Wow, your post makes me think, and the pics, too. Makes me want to have more "purpose" in my life. Never think your writing (and your mission) is for nothing. It is probably more far-reaching than you think. -Katwin2010

  12. I think you are just exhausted due to stress. I have my unsolicited advise eat lots of banana and drink more water. It can inject you a happy feeling.

    I like what you did ~ your work its just signifies that you are able to do good deeds.

    You're on blog roll daily list!
    thanks!

  13. Jenn says: Reply

    I have an award for you 🙂 Please stop by to pick it up!! http://www.wine-n-chat.com/2011/10/tell-me-about-yourself.html Cheers, Jenn.

  14. admin says: Reply

    Thanks, Katwin. Your inspiring comment made me think as well. 🙂

    @PSYCHABLES: I appreciate your advice. 🙂 I wish I could get hold of some bananas in this bush. LOL.

  15. admin says: Reply

    Jenn, that's very kind of you. Thanks a lot!

  16. This post is so inspiring… Not all people can do the same thing as what you're doing right now…

  17. Manoj says: Reply

    Very nice post. Share of any personal experience inspire others to do more.

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