Things I do automatically when abroad, and did here before Reeducation, but have a hard time doing here now.

A large part of the problem, as a local friend points out, is the abusive environment. One could, theoretically, move about as freely as one does elsewhere and enjoy local delights, but one learns that it is not so simple — unpleasantness comes when you least expect it, but often, and “just avoid it” or “just ignore it” or “let it go” are ignorant remarks on that issue.

By way of illustration: a friend wants me to avoid Latin America entirely because of the possible violence. The violence of daily life here is worse, but she wants me to just ignore that, “not let it affect me,” and so on. This is poor reasoning.

In any case, the factor cannot be ignored, must be taken into account, because if not one will feel it is a personal failing when one’s plans fail due to the violence, due to not having planned for it but rather having tried to ignore it as the self-righteous exhorters advise.

If they are in a position to successfully ignore it, that is lovely, but we who live here have to give ourselves credit for being exhausted by it, plan to expect it so that we are not bowled over by it, and have recovery plans.


This having been said, things I used to do, do elsewhere, and do not always do here are: sleep enough, exercise enough, avoid all processed anything, always do something fun every day, always do something research oriented, always put sanity and my own work and pleasure first, and feed my head. These things which sound egotistical and self indulgent because they are not martyrdom but which actually allow me to be the person people like and also the one I am paid to be.

Impediments here are the environment and the responsibilities — I do not have many things but I am tired of having a house and a car and this many books and papers, and I want to get rid of what is practical to do, at least of house and office contents.

But moreso it is the habit of serving I got ingrained in Reeducation, which really does not do anyone any good. The yoga and balance is between and among remembering to do what I would do, and protecting myself from the violent environment outside the house which is where much of what I would do lies, while not always spending the money it would cost to really escape the possibility of violence (e.g. by always going to Houston/Austin or New Orleans, civilized places).

The real issue is having learned to put my own work and life last, and to just provide care and serve.


Also during all of that time, I received many exhortations about how to do academic work. You had to constantly step up the amount of time you were putting in, push harder and faster — for reasons I never understood, since I had always been systematic and organized and done well.

The exhortations were to push harder and faster and also to take more time off and spend more money in hopes of reaping a fancy job later — and also spin more wheels on stress because that was “real life.”

It was the ideas of speed and pushing and suffering and compensating by risk taking with cash that I found so exhausting — and the simultaneous pressure to take more time off, as well as to spend more time on stress and worry. I still do not understand why I got all of these warnings, given that in fact what I was doing was what the wise also advise.

Is the problem called this: being naïve and getting intimidated by people who are self righteous, but also really unhealthy?




Filed under Banes, Resources, Theories, What Is A Scholar?

12 responses to “Things I do automatically when abroad, and did here before Reeducation, but have a hard time doing here now.

  1. Vero


    Are your latest blogs sort of drafts on a new novel you are writing? They sound like a horror type one and not easy to follow.

  2. Z

    Well, in a way yes, but mostly they are just therapy. I have difficulty living in my present conjunction of cultures.

    I almost posted on Facebook this:

    Announcement to world: I massively dislike caretaking roles and pressure to take them on, yet I feel the pressure and the sense of obligation very easily. In my next life I will be raised differently and not feel so responsible for the demanding, for the falsely weak, and for those who claim to suffer and mourn. In this one, my announcement is: asking me to take care of you, to estar pendiente, is not a way to get me to love you, even if it may coerce me into doing you random favors at weak moments, for a short period of time.

  3. Vero

    Thanks Z. No personal experience with your present conjunction of cultures, so I can’t follow but it is ok. The only thing coming to my mind in my little understanding of your “announcements” is el libro ” El principito” and its main argument: Tú eres responsable de tu (rosa), y yo de mi rosa y nosotros de nuestra rosa”. Perhaps the “caretaking role, the sense of obligation, the feeling of responsibility over other people’s need” that you are expressing might take a different color or flavor under the principito’s principle. In any event, no reason for you to feel disappointed about decisions made in the past since they are past. As far as the “present” (time), you might be ready to make the decisions that will make you most happy now and in the future. I wish you did! Take care.

  4. Z

    Principito’s ideas would be fine if one did not get such grief for following them here. I just do not like living here and dealing with people here, yet I must get better at it if I am to be able to leave. It is a true paradox.

  5. Traveller

    Come on Z, Be happy!. You know what?, When I am away and things don’t turn out as I expect, my hubby places this song in our home answering machine, as well as in his cell phone. When I call he lets run the song in its entirety. By the time I get to talk to him, my sorrows have somehow mellowed out. Here is to you and for you!

  6. Z

    I am freakin’ serious — do not like peoples’ behavior around here — sorry — thanks for trying, but this is a post AGAINST the idea of “do not let it affect you.”

  7. Traveller

    Ok Z!. I am with you and AGAINST the idea of “do not let it affect you”. Friends and colleagues in Mexico are looking forward to having you back. So, hurry up!

  8. Z

    OMG, how did you figure that out (about Mex.), this is actually part of the stress, would like to get back sooner than I actually can)?!

    But really, what I am trying to do is name what affects me here, so I can address/avoid it.

  9. carlos

    Go ahead and talk about everything you need/want. I am pretty sure it will be useful for many people other than yourself.

  10. Z

    Well, here is my big issue: raised to feel guilty about doing anything but please/serve, guilty about having own desires, and especially guilty toward those who claim to (a) love me and (b) be sick / impaired / weak.

    This particular culture, the rural Louisiana culture, finds that normal, desirable, etc., and really encourages it, expects it, and also tries to extort it. This atmsphere is very difficult for me to be in; I find it confusing and draining since I am vulnerable to it, yet do not enjoy it.

    And, being or struggling not to be that person, the server, is bad for my real work, and I feel both angry and guilty about THAT.

    So there is one thing. The other is, having favors coerced and boundaries invaded. That last is something people do here and that is really hard to avoid having happen unless you just stay home. I find dealing with it draining.

    So those are a couple of reasons why this particular culture is particularly bad for me. But: breathe and hold your authority, is what I am telling myself; it will be all right and I will prevail.

  11. WI

    “Breathe and hold your authority” sounds like a plan!

  12. Z

    There is also just this, to remember: July is a rough month to be here. It really is the month I should plan to be gone, if I can only have one.

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