‘Why are you like a baby?’ my friend Green asks from across the table. I look up with worried eyes. She clarifies, ‘when you are baby and you are cold or hungry you cry and your mommy feeds you. Now it is tough and you feel uncomfortable and want to go home to your comfort zone. Yes you can go back to America and make a lot of money. You will have your family there that loves you, but will you look back and wonder? What if you stuck with it? What if you dealt with the gossip and the lies? What if you learned what Indonesia is really like’.
I was silent in amazement at this beautiful woman with such heart and and mind. I am in a web of misunderstandings and cultural challenges that are causing me a great deal of emotional discomfort. Though I see the only person to handle this is me. I am the middle child with a tough older sister. She always stood up for me and I would hide from the bullies. Now as a woman I see my interest in pain avoidance as my coping method.
Green follows up with a message, ‘Life is full of problems. You can run from this one but then another will be waiting. Face this situation it will make you stronger. You are responsible to clear your name. Its not a matter of like or disliking the situation. The important thing is action to solve the problem. I will be beside you but this is Indonesia dear. I faced gossip since senior high school and I faced it alone. But I always think positive and believe that no one can destroy me. They cannot make me give up’. It is so easy to feel so small in the midst of challenges, but Green has reminded me of my own strength to overcome and own my feelings. Others can only effect me if I allow them. Progress cannot be achieved without obstacles.