Please check out my new blog, Quelle Belle: The Beauty Blog. I would really appreciate it! [Note: Considering the fact that I don't know any male makeup afficionados, I would say it's safe to say that this site is mainly for women.]

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Journey

I don't hate Panama. Really, I don't. I've lived here for almost 4 years now (though most of that time has been spent at school) and I think I've gotten used to it. For the most part, anyway.

When we first came to Panama, I was 13 years old, leaving everything I'd ever known and heading towards a new life. The unknown void was filled with new and challenging things, like learning a new language and meeting new people (something I was not the best at). And what did I know of the world? I knew a bit about pain; the pain of losing someone, be it a cat, a dog, a friend or a family member. I knew about physical pain, such as what it feels like to have one's arm or toe broken.

I didn't, however, know what it was like to live in constant discomfort. I had never seen poverty. I didn't know what to do with it when I did. Instead of looking at the world around me and observing what was there, I withdrew into myself and focused on my own personal pain. (Which, looking back, was petty compared to what pain there is in the world.)

I missed my friends; I missed my pool; I missed my house; I missed my school. I missed the park behind my house, and the malls back home. The one thing I didn't miss was schoolwork. Supposedly, I was being homeschooled by my parents... this consisted of several weeks of waking up at 9 AM, showering and eating, and then writing a book report. Occasionally, my father (a retired surgeon) taught me biology. Neither of these activities lasted long (and believe me, I didn't complain!)

However, instead of embracing my new life, I set myself in a rage against it. Had I not done this, I imagine I wouldn't have been so unhappy. As it is, I dug myself deeper and deeper into the hole of depression, which is very difficult to climb out of. "Why should I leave the house when I know I hate everything outside it?" I would think to myself. Foolish, I know. Childish, too.

Sometimes I like looking back and seeing who I was and how I've progressed since then... I ask myself, "How have I changed?" and "How am I the same?" I think it's a good thing for people to do at any point in their life; it can provide strength by knowing that you've faced the forces and whirlwinds and made it through them. Or it can show you what you need to work on in the constant quest to develop yourself.

For myself, I know I need to work on my confidence level. One's self-image is more important than people realize. It affects so many aspects of life, like your relationships with people or your performance in anything you do. It affects how people see you and relate to you.

I've improved in that area though. Looking back just a few years, I see a completely different person in that respect: a girl who did not know her place in the world or why she should even have one. Today, I am a woman who knows that she will find her place eventually, and for now needs to just sit tight, work hard and enjoy life.

I think that journey and its outcome are something to be proud of.

33 comments:

virgomonkey said...

You seem like a very intelligent person. This is why I hate it when people judge others by their age as there are some teens out there that are more reasonable than their elders! Your experiences also do make you stronger as well. Those who are given everything they want (in monetary means) never grow up to appreciate anything.

Anyway, I wanted to stop by and thank you for blogrolling me.

I hear that you are living in the US. How are you surviving there?

John B. said...

I have lived in the US my entire life. And the worst poverty I have seen is in Mexico. Spending one day in that country really shocked me about how the poor in the US were the same as the rich in Mexico. I find your post very interesting as I hope to once travel the world.

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