April 2006, Mpls: Immediate Reflection

so i was sad to see that my journal ended abruptly after my breakdown about forgiving my mother, and myself for the way i reacted to her. there should have been descriptions of the village, the badagry, different relatives, my last minute breakdown at my dad, leaving. honestly now it’s been so long that the purpose has been lost – fresh insight on the experience. the next entry i found came a couple of days after i got home.

“so i’m home now and it’s good to be home and it’s good to talk to people about it. that makes me understand that the experience really has changed me…

“so yeah, there’s just so much that i want to take care of and so many layers to it. i need to meet with my adviser, fill out 2 fafsas and get everything financial figured out. i want coffee. my gas tank is empty and i need to fix that. there’s unpacking and laundry and the bank and figuring out what i owe and where i’m at. and for not spending any money there, i sure did lose it once i got here. i miss my dad. and i feel bad that i flipped out at the end and i still don’t know if we’re fine yet. and how much is that form to file and i really want that to be one of the first things i do as i’m home. i’ve just got to get everything all together. i was thinking i should make a list of things to do but i think i did make a list of things while i was there. yay!

“so my peeps. it just strikes me so much that people really did care so much and really were deeply interested in my feelings about the trip and my dad and everything. i think katie was crying a little bit with some of the things i told her. i have to drop off my film, too. i was talking to katie about drinking and feelings and the idea of ‘too much.’ and sometimes when i start talking and get into it, i wonder if people can still follow me. it’s just so much and it’s still new and i just started speaking out loud about it yesterday. imagine that – it was contained until i saw mom and auntie barb. it really is so amazing and i’m so happy to be sharing the experience with the people that i’m being honest with about it. i can’t wait until my pictures are done, it’s so exciting. gosh, my dad is just so cute. and people’s faces are so cute when i talk to them about it. just seeing people and knowing that they care about the experience that i had and it’s touching them, too. it’s wonderful. it’s wonderful to recognize love from people…

“it was very interesting last night being out drinking. the old thoughts still came in but i was able to catch them before i reacted in the same way. and oh boy, on that trip was i frightened about how these situations would be. and i got to face them all – out with a bunch of people, alone with katie, going outside to smoke, people lighting up after work, drinking after work while shots are being poured. just catching myself in that moment where my brain says, ‘drink faster… take a shot even though it’s inappropriate to ask for a shot… everyone else is drunk… catch up… uh oh, i’m having uncomfortable feelings and this is not the time to deal with them… better drink them away…’ that was a real light bulb moment, and that’s how katie and i got to talking about ‘too much’. i’ve been through ‘too much’ now and i know that ‘too much’ isn’t real. God never gives us more than we can handle and i’m ready to face things again – or rather, for the first time. i’m ready to be honest and to care and to take care of business and to have boundaries. when i realized i wasn’t even going into the imagination of smoking that’s when i realized i had set a boundary and i liked it. and i COULD do it.

“i just looked at my dad’s pictures that i’ve had on the wall forever. and i realized that i was saying to myself – seeing him not smiling just isn’t right. he’s better when he’s smiling. of course we are.”

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