When you try to carry the world, but it feels like it is so broken and messed up that you can only carry a couple of pieces. When you pick one up, you drop another. And you will have to walk over all the pieces you didn’t pick up to carry on following your path. But you can’t choose, because all the pieces feel equally important.
Written when I was living in Sri Lanka, in 2017
Everyone who knows me personally, knows that I am always trying to make this world a better place, and striving for that with everything I have in me. So I had a mini-identity crisis last week. When you travel, you face yourself more than being in your own environment. On one hand it’s good, because you are the only one to decide who you want to be and what you want to do. On the other hand, it can be hard, because who is it exactly you want to be? Which values are the most important to you?
I enjoy writing my blogs, and I had a feeling in this way I was creating some awareness between both Sri Lankans and western people, or in general between people from different cultures. And that’s what a lot of comments were about, people liking my blogs, being inspired.
But some people didn’t like my blog. They told me I was generalizing too much, because “not every house has those flipflop rules”. Or they told me I didn’t check my white privilege; “This country is ruined by colonialism by countries like yours, and now you come bashing that our country isn’t well organized. But that’s because colonialism messed up our country.”
And I thought, naively, that I was only creating some awareness by sharing my view… But apparently I was criticizing and hurting a lot of people, creating the opposite of what I wanted. I wanted to create a positive flow of respect and understanding of people with different views, cultures or habits. I didn’t want anyone to think I was bashing about this country, I didn’t want to hurt them by making them feel like I know better because of my skin colour.
Because I don’t know better, I just know different.
So it made me feel like I should never write anything again. I started to doubt all my values and choices, feeling insecure about everything. I didn’t know how to do good anymore… How can you strive for equality if you are only looking at one side of the story? But how can you change inequality if you don’t recognize it and don’t pay attention to it? I don’t want to exclude or hurt another goal or value equally important. It’s the same with feminism. I truly believe that everyone should have the same opportunities, and women all around the world still don’t have the same opportunities (also in Western countries, send me a personal message if you don’t agree 😉 ). So we have to empower them. But by only striving for feminist goals, I feel like I am separating women and men even more, which is the opposite of what I want to do. So how can I ever strive for something without creating another bad thing, in my own eyes or in the eyes of others?
Conversations help to sort out your thoughts and worries. After doubting my whole existence on my own, I luckily started talking (and crying 😉 ) with some friends. They helped me to figure out the following:
I can’t pick up more pieces of the world than I can carry. I try to pick up as many pieces as possible of this world. I am aware that I am only picking up some pieces. Only by following my very own path with confidence, I can be strong enough to carry some pieces and make a change. And I might generate some strong responses with my choices, but at least I make people think. I might make mistakes, but I can make at least a small difference.
Respect is the key.
Everyone has a different version of a better world. Only with a combination of striving for your values and respecting other values we can reach something. Listen to both your heart, and the heart of that other person who is trying to pick up one of those other pieces of the world. This doesn’t mean your pieces aren’t important. It just means that other pieces might be more important for other people.
By respecting and understanding the other side of a story, you might be able to learn something and to see where your pieces connect
Because it is impossible to carry all those pieces of the world alone, but together we can!