What started as an awareness raising and ethnographic styled walk through Sierra Leone, this site now details the encounters of a not so academic academic who spends more time occupying Wall Street and squats than a university...

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Forever and a day....

So it actually sees like it has been about that long since the last time I posted, and it has been a tough road to get here.  I ended up taking that job, but went through a lot of unpleasantries before and throughout the transition process.  I've moved, had some family issues, got a car, took the job, spent some time living in the woods, lost a few friends, and on the whole have caved in to some of the realities of the life that one seems to have to live to exist in America.  I must say that I have found a decent amount of difficulty living here in the area that I am - I just plainly do not fit in.  It is tough to spend pretty much a third of your life (almost the whole of the adult part) abroad, living in different cultures, seeing different ways of life.  Simply changing as a person.  I seem now to be half American and half alien. 

There are so many things done well and exemplary here in America, but also so many things that I do differently from people here.  My priorities are quite different as well.  I don't just want to get a job and settle into a life here.  I want to make a difference, I want the life I settle in to too mean something outside my little sphere.  I want to make people in the far reaching corners of the world's lives more fulfilling, give them more options.  Yes, there are of course people here interested in this type of stuff, but the contextualization of it all is so different.  And I will say this as well; living in America is taking away some of my principles, waning on my idealistic motives.  You can't survive living the life of an idealist here.  People on the whole will truly respect your passion, the things you want to do in life, the changes you want to make and people you want to help, but American society is so individualized and focused on the local self that there really is little place for the idealist.  Yes, NGO's, non-profits, etc, but I'm in one now and it is so systemically neutered that there is no way to truly bring about change, and certainly not on a large scale.

American culture is to me very limited, very closed.  I suppose this is culture anywhere though, it sees through its own eyes, colored by its own past, its own social context.  But American culture places American ideals, ways of life, and standards of living as the preeminent ones in the world.  An arrogance that only seems to be found in other current or former world powers.  If we are the best, why change?  Maybe tweak things, but why truly change?  The way I live my life, the goals I aspire to, they run against American cultural streams, and change itself runs against every cultural stream.

When you tell people you want to change a world they feel comfortable with, they can easily become cross with you, especially if you are unapologetic about your views/reasons and assertive - two things I tend to be.  Not that we are all the same in America, and that everyone is included in this, but a social system is just that, a system with main streams and separate outliers.  I am an outlier.  The last several months have shown this to me in even more vibrant colors than ever before.

So now I just put my head down, do my job, and hope/work towards another day when I can do what I believe we all should be doing; working towards true systemic change.  The world is neutering me, but I will not allow it to be permanent.  I will not allow it to take away my dreams or my goals.   

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