Quote from,

Third Culture Kids- The Experience of Growing Up Among Worlds
David C. Pollock and Ruth E. Van Reken*

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Swimming in a River

Have you ever been swimming in a river? You step in and the first sensation you feel is the slippery smooth of the rocks underfoot, soft heat emanating off of them, the water warm as it is too shallow to veil the river's bed from the sun's reaching rays. As you wade further in, the water becomes more and more cool, it's pull grows stronger and in its comfort you begin to relax. As you grow accustomed to the gentle tugging of the current you step out farther, into the the deeper waters of the river and suddenly the river isn't a friend anymore. It's a swirl and a rush pulling you along and you world goes from peaceful to chaos. You look around and see people on short, some you know, some you don't. You cry for help. But all they see is you swimming in the river. They don't see the current that's sweeping  you off your feet, or the branches and rocks that are scrapping you as you struggle against nature. Al they see is you, swimming in the river, where you're supposed to be.

I moved away from my homeland with my family and returned stateside. I attended school and when the time came, I began working full time. Each small progression, while being a general standard in the world I lived in, was more than just a meeting of a bar for me. For me, it was a constant struggle. I had had socially appropriate time to adjust and yet the continued feeling of internal chaos, disconnect and the general feeling of just being lost and disorganized despite being involved in consistent school, and eventually work, routines, I just wasn't cutting it. I had gone from standing on the shore, to daring to step into a river I thought I could handle, to suddenly finding that the river I thought I could swim in, was nothing I could have ever prepared myself to face.

I look at the shore and see people I know and I am surrounded by them. I am swimming, trying to find my way but this current is pulling at me, disorienting me. I look at the shore again and it is as though time is moving, but not for me. In the river time stands still, but on shore the people are coming and going and I am here. Floundering. I want to be back on that time line. Laughing the way I see them laugh.

Where in this river can I find waters gentle? How do I create stability where there is seemingly none?