27 November 2015

Finding Harmony with Life

I had a question about why other people were dead and I was still alive when I read news about the terrorist attacks in Paris. I wanted to die instead of them if I could exchange my life for theirs. Apparently, I do not enjoy my life for now. They have families, homes, and dreams while I have no one in my life, and my dreams fade away. I do not know exactly when I became depressed, but I feel certain that now I am on a roller coaster of culture shock. I cannot help but scream while going through the emotional stages of culture shock.
Actually, I was happy in the United States, at first. This is the first stage of culture shock, and it is called the honeymoon phase. Everything is new, different, and exciting for a woman from the Third World. I think American people are good, kind, and helpful. I travelled from the west to the east of the United States. I visited from Seattle to New York. I was delighted to visit Los Angeles and Washington D.C.
Unfortunately, I went into the next stage of culture shock, a crisis period, after I had started to attend Philadelphia University and I had moved to a dorm. I felt annoyed all the time. The food is salty, and everything is so expensive in the University. I felt all the people around me are mean like cold weather. I felt angry when a waiter from the university cafe intentionally did not put my food in a plastic bag and I had to do it by myself. I just realized that it was discrimination. I do not think he will treat white students or black students like this.

 It is really hard to cope with the disintegration stage, the process of losing strength. I started to feel homesick, depressed, and helpless. I am afraid to dream and I feel anxiety in my chest whenever I am confronted with different behaviors and values. I feel terrible when I pay dorm fees and meal fees. What I am doing here? I became confused. If I donate this amount of money to a poor student in my country, he or she can study for one year. I feel guilty when I eat a variety of food in a dining hall because this amount of money for my meal can provide meals for one full day for a whole family in my country. When I could not find my place in the environment, I wanted to escape from this bitter situation.
I walked in the shoes of Marcus Mabry because in the essay “Living in two worlds” he writes, “As I travel between the two worlds it becomes harder to remember just how proud I should be – not just of where I have come from and where I am going, but because of where they are.” I totally understand the author that it was difficult to be proud of himself when his family was poor and he had a comfortable lifestyle. Although I have not gone back to my country, I saw everything happening there on Facebook. Should I celebrate my life here while the longest civil war in the world is still being fought in my homeland?
I literally became a person who lived between two worlds, but I did not belong to any world. I almost forgot about why I came to the United States in the first place. Is it to study Sustainable Design or English or democracy or American culture? I have lost my way and self-confidence. My sleep has been affected and my happiness has melted.
Although Marcus was not happy, his family was proud of him for his education. Sadly, I do not feel satisfied while studying here. Is my family proud of me? Absolutely not. Actually, nobody cared about me when I decided to study in the United States. Marcus writes that he was proud of his family for surviving in their worlds. Should I feel proud of my people for surviving under a military regime? Yes, I am enormously proud of their resilience but I feel worthless, useless, and hopeless because I am not helpful for any society.
So the question remains: should I live? Should I be proud of myself for being alive? What if I cannot be proud of being myself, should I die? I wonder if I die, will my savings help other girls' lives? However, my friend persuaded me not to die here because she was afraid that if I became a ghost, I would meet unfamiliar, scary and hostile ghosts.
Unfortunately or fortunately, it is harder to die than to live because we, humans, cling to life. And there is also a little excuse that if I live longer, I could help people better. Or maybe I will recover from this brutal situation if I get a professional job or an internship. Better yet, when I enter the adaption or adjustment stage of culture shock, I might be happy again.

 Well, that is why people say “ You reap what you sow.” I followed my dream which made me very regret. In Buddhism, it is called karma, the law of cause and effect.  I have got a pain as a result of my own action. After all, it is a universal truth that everybody hurts sometimes. It is my turn, my experience and I have convinced myself that the best is yet to come.

Mae Coe


Anonymous said...

I don't know who you are. But I want to ask why you think your life is valueless. I don't know your profession but I found that your English is good. If you finish your education or have a chance to come back to Myanmar, please share your English with other youths. Do you know only 10 percentage of children born in Myanmar can go to University and among them, not more than one percentage is good in English. Now English language is huge barrier for them to improve their lives.

Me said...

I went to all the stages in last 8 years that you are in. You have every right to study n happy about what you are doing there.

Depression is not a good friend to keep while you should focus on your everyday life. Adapting a different lifestyle is not easy but it is not impossible.

Hope you are fine :)

Thwin said...

မမ ကို အားက ် လိုက္တာကြာ။

shweyee win said...

I will be with you from 2013 to until now.
I am waiting your new poem or feelings.

meemee said...

Ma mae..Be happy...