RESILIENCE is what continues to come up for me as I continue to read the articles assigned and watch the videos on South Africa. I have survived through various types of trauma and this class brings up memories where I had felt oppressed, degraded, shamed, helpless …. I am so proud of myself for signing up to challenge myself and challenge the protective walls I have put up to survive as I no longer need them. I am proud (still can’t believe I am about to do this), excited, and scared. An an African, I am not scared to go Africa but this trip will challenge my core defense mechanisms and survival skills and require me to open up, trust, and connect with others. Being vulnerable is a very dangerous thing I had told myself and had succeeded to avoid PAIN as much as possible through masking (smile no matter what), staying busy, being playful, and avoiding deep relationships. Difficult experiences have taught me a lot that I appreciate but today the skills I needed then are hurting me than helping me. When I had my beautiful and amazing children, I promised myself that I would break the chains (slowly) that I had put around me in the name of protection and LIVE. I started this journey mainly for my children. I wanted to show them instead of telling them that no matter what our past is or the mistakes we have made, today we have a CHOICE to live within our resources and means in the best life possible and still give back.
I have never been separated from my children more than a day and can’t even image what I am going to do when I am gone for nearly a month away from them (crying). But I must have faith that they will be fine and take this trip to challenge myself to trust me myself and I, others, and my environment so that I can stop living in fear. I am ready to jump right in for the personal and professional growth that is possible from this trip.
The videos and the readings affirm that we recover from interpersonal trauma and historical trauma through our willingness to want the best for the next generations, our willingness to be vulnerable, and our willingness to work together towards a unified goal. This trip will give me an opportunity to do this.
I wonder though… Nelson Mandela unified people and had communities work together for better tomorrow in South Africa. I wonder, what would it take for all South Africans to unify as one community to address issues such as segregation, unemployment, education, HIV / AIDS, and inequality ….
I do not want to just survive,. I want to live … Helina