View Full Version : I'm feeling contemplative...

07-26-2009, 07:04 PM
Backstory: A little over a year ago, I began working at a wilderness camp (i.e. in the woods without electricity at the campsites sleeping in open wood-framed tents) for troubled teens. I lived there five consecutive 24-hour days a week. It was a therapeutic environment...a lot of these kids had mental issues, and all of them struggled emotionally. Prior to this, I taught elementary school for a year and a half. I left camp in mid-April because I just couldn't do it anymore, and have been jobless since. This is basically me waxing about my current situation - I don't even know what else to do at this point.

With all my free time lately, Iíve been doing quite a bit of reflecting. Iíve always been kind ofÖcontemplative is a good word I suppose, but I feel like this is different from before.

When I went to camp, I knew it would be a life-changing experience. However, I had NO concept of how life-changing it would be. I always considered myself ďgoodĒ at things, friendly, people-oriented, a hard-worker. Camp kind of turned my impression of myself on its head. I saw myself strugglingÖlike REALLY struggling for the first time. I couldnít manage to get the hang of it, and every time I thought I was starting to, something would backfire or a situation would explode. I began to question myself Ė my abilities, my motivation, my shortcomings. I realized that I was in a place that I totally didnít fit. Iím OK with not fitting in Ė Iíve never completely fit in anywhere. Iíve always been a little loud, a little weird, a littleÖeccentric I suppose. However, Iíve always been able to find my niche (well, more like carve my niche out) somewhere. I donít fit stereotypes, presuppositions, ďshould be-sĒ, etc. I am my own person. Camp has left me questioning that though Ė who am I really?

Since coming back, Iíve had such a hard time meshing with people and situations. Connecting with people feels foreign, even having something as simple as a basic conversation. I guess that part of it is that Iíve been largely solitary for almost 4 months due to my unemployment and lack of financial capability to do anything, but things feel weird and different. At church, I feel awkward. LikeÖreally awkward. Iím too old for the life group Iím in, but I feel inferior to be in the next one up. I donít have a careerÖI donít even have a stinking job right now! I donít really have meaningful relationshipsÖI feel like I should be a kid or something. I have a really hard time feeling like an adult. Really the only time I do is when Iím babysitting, but thatís because Iíve always had that role with those kids. I feel like their surrogate mom when Iím around, so thatís ďnormalĒ for me.

A year and a half ago, I was (relatively) carefree, loud and obnoxious, a little crazy, and OK with it all. I wasnít financially stable (have I ever really been?), but I was happy and I felt like I was successful. Now, Iím not entirely sure how I feel about myself. I havenít figured out if I feel like a failure or a flower not quite ready to bloom. Itís almost like Iíve forgotten all the social skills I pushed myself so hard to learn. I guess living under a microscope for a year will do that to you, but Iím not entirely sure how to get myself backÖor forward. Itís like Iím stuck in a rut and canít get out.

Iím trying so hard to get a job that it consumes me. It gets tough though when I keep getting rejected or totally ignored. I wonder if maybe some of it has to do with me? If maybe they can sense my lack of confidence or that Iím questioning everything in my life right now? People I know see me as a teacher Ė and Iím a good teacher, but Iím not entirely sure that I want to teach. Iím even questioning how much I like kids. A year ago, kids were my life!!

I was introduced to camp for a reason, Iím sure of it. I think I needed a wakeup call, to be smacked around some. I just wish I knew what to do with everything I got as a result. My lack of social contact right now doesnít help, but I donít have many opportunities due to no income and constantly searching for a job. Some of the responsibility does lie on me though. I donít put myself in social situations. At church, I say approach people that I know, acknowledge those I donít but say hi to me, and donít really talk to anyone else. Itís uncomfortable to talk to new people, which is totally unlike me. I avoid situations that put me around people Ė especially those that I donít know Ė because I question my ability to handle them. Camp required me to question myself and the core of who I am. I donít think I found any answers though, and thatís the confusing part. I keep thinking that itíll get better once I get a job, but what if this has to get better for me to get a job?

I donít think I even want to think about thatÖ