There exists this place where you are neither here nor there. A constant state of transit with no real timeline. A world lost between extremes, cultures, and norms. This place exists only to confuse outsiders. You are both part of a group and a fleeting thought in the wind. You are only here for a short time, but you don’t know how long that time period will be. You are always just passing through.
It can be hard to reconcile the need to feel accepted and part of a group, with the desire to be constantly on the move. As a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer, I’ve had difficulty leaving my Peace Corps family for my own. It has been over six months since I’ve returned and I still have trouble finding where I belong. People don’t understand Peace Corps, how can they possibly understand me? The people I knew before Peace Corps remember the old me, the person before I had this life-changing experience. The people I’ve met after Peace Corps only know this quirky person who went to Africa to do something in a village and who is now moving on to do something overseas again. I feel like when I say Peace Corps these days it’s a curse word. I’ve stopped trying to explain my experiences. I’ve stopped talking about them, period. I live in the grey area where I am both still here and moving away permanently at the same time.
Some days it feels like I am making memories, just have them slowly erased in a few months. An old school movie reel slowly starts to crank up. The black and white movie appears on screen after a few seconds. The sound is blaring and the picture is punctured with splotches where the reel was slightly damaged. As the movie plays, at first it is in bright contrast. As the movie progresses, the picture starts to wash out, to fade, until suddenly there is nothing left but reel after reel of grey tinged screen in front of you.
So I live in the grey area. A place where I try, but also accept defeat. A place where I am always looking forward, yet still peek backwards from time to time. A place where I am both a person and a job title. A place where I belong, yet don’t.
For the next few weeks I’ll continue to live in the grey area. I will transition to a new grey area with new contrasts. I can’t wait to see what shades of grey are in store.