I don't know what to write or how to explain what I am feeling at the moment. I feel stuck between different worlds, all of which are causing different emotions, making me just confused and worn out. First thing on my mind is all the busyness I feel. I sit in meetings for at least ten hours a week and probably do work for those meetings at the very least another five hours. I also am taking thirteen credits of classes, which qualifies me as a full time student so let's say around thirty to forty hours a week. However, I am missing two weeks of said classes and am currently getting ready to take two midterms soon, meaning I am reading and studying ahead by about three weeks. I also worked twelve hours this past weekend at the farm. I have a social life that I try to maintain and still manage to sleep around eight to nine hours a night. I am constantly fighting that anxiety that is telling me that I do not have enough time.
The second thing on my mind is that I am actually pretty happy right now. I am loving the different classes and conversations I have. I like being in leadership positions and feeling like I am making a difference on campus. I have absolutely fantastic friends, whom I have gotten to spend time with and continue to build relationships with on top of new friendships that I am forming. I am really happy with the person I have become and I really have felt more confident in myself lately than I ever have in the past. I am becoming an expert on recognizing my feelings and finding ways to build myself up even if the situation is not ideal. I find myself being able to smile easily and stay content in the face of busyness.
Thirdly, I am going to Iraq in a little over a week. I don't know how to explain my feelings. I feel so excited to be going on a new adventure, meeting new people, learning more than I ever would in a classroom. Part of me just cannot wait to board that plane! Then there is the part of me that is scared. I have no idea what I am getting into. The news is filled with the Middle East right now and the anti-American sentiment over there; I don't know what I will face going in as a white American. I am also going into a war-zone. I know it is safe for me, but I will be hearing stories that are going to break my heart. I am going to see where devastation has hit a country and torn it to pieces and it is my government and country to blame. I am scared I won't be able to handle all the pain that I see and hear.
Part of my fear of the pain comes from reading Baghdad burning: Girl blog from Iraq for my history of the Middle East class. The book is literally a published version of a blog of an Iraqi woman during the 2003 U.S. occupation. I never realized the reality of the situation there and what a terrible mess the U.S. made of the country. We ruined the lives of so many. Reading her words, I am so ashamed to be an American... I am ashamed of the power and privilege I possess to be able to live in a place with so much stuff and not having to live my life in fear. And I don't know what I can do to make a difference, I am ashamed but feel helpless.
So there it all is. Well, part of it at least. I could go on about my questions on race and gender that I am exploring in classes and other feelings that go along with my different leadership positions. But when it comes down to it, I don't know how I am. I don't really know how to put together all these different emotions and experiences. I feel as if I am living multiple lives and am not sure how they go together. I don't know what to do with feelings of happiness and pride on one hand, with shame and fear on the other. I just don't know.