Supporting Others

Call and Response – Supporting others on Social Media

Healing but as readapting to life from living out of the country….different from my normal but perhaps a view into what might come next in my author journey.

Normally in music, a call and response are between two singers or a singer(s) and an audience.  The first offers a part of a phrase and the second offers a commentary, an answer, or a melody responding to the first.  Last night I realized that something similar is happening on certain social media groups. I liken it to the form of “call and response”. Someone might be soul searching, trying to reach out and connect, build community, and put out a thought, a question, a concern, a yearning.  This is like a “call” and then, we, a caring community return the melody back to the one making the call to rally around her/him/them with an answer…. or a potential answer. 

The topic is fascinating, and I would like to reflect more on the parallel as time goes on.  For now, however, I will leave you with the idea and share the post and my response that made me think of the similarities.  In a time when community is lacking but so necessary, these types of calls and caring responses from “sister elders” are important. 

The original poster below could have been me in the past. After returning from various travels either abroad or to places in my own country, I often felt similar feelings during the re-adjustment process.  Reflecting on the past 20 + years I can see how far I have come.  Just as in a typical call and response, both parties gained something from the interaction and wanted to respond to what resonated with me to help them on their journey into the future. 

Original Post.

“Hello wonderful sisters, I’m turning 28 next week, which doesn’t seem old but to me right now it is because I still live at home and currently unemployed after coming back from a year of volunteering abroad. I found it really hard to adjust again, and I now think I’m really incapable of living in my country anymore as I don’t feel a sense of belonging and I don’t feel safe whether in the streets or with any interactions. Coming back wasn’t a choice and finding a job here is not something I want but time is passing and I need to do something but my heart is heavy. Any advice or experiences that I can relate to may be helpful for me right now as the hope I once had is running out of my heart. I used to be very hopeful about my future, it hadn’t been a problem finding a job before, but now I feel unmotivated and not as confident as I knew myself to be. Maybe I wasn’t confident but just too young to know despair”.

My Response

“Good post and some great responses. I lived abroad for 17 years. Moved back to the US 4 years ago. In the time I lived abroad, I only returned 5 times or so. There was a socio-political…conflict where I was living with my husband and son, both natives of that country, I got very sick with first-stage cancer among other things.

We left our home in that country and came back to my home country to start anew with 2 suitcases and a backpack each over a period of 4 years…all traveling here separately to live with my parents…. Thank goodness they let us.

I felt many of the same emotions of reverse culture shock, had a great learning curve, and went through some major adaptations.

Over the past 4 years of having returned I have found community by creating it around me and through groups such as this one, I have used writing and journaling as a therapy to help organize my thoughts and do so much hard work after going through so many hard things. The place I lived in before returning is the country of my heart…not perfect, nor is my home country.

I have learned that it is a matter of looking inwards to be conscious of what I want to create moving forward. I can be anywhere in the world and first must be good inside otherwise I might not be able to move forward at all.

Life is a process, it is so important for me to be able to live in my country as well as in others because, at the end of the day, it is the person you wake up to each morning that most matters and how you feel about that person. Who is that person? You! Your true test of Resilience perhaps begins now.

You have vocalized something and are now on the path to incorporating learnings from abroad into this old yet new place because your perspective is different. This is a fascinating time for you to learn so many new learnings and do exciting internal work for whatever it is that the world opens you up to next.

There is a process and a journey that is just beginning even if your volunteer position has ended.

Getting a job to support yourself, perhaps in a client-facing position would be good for the transition period. Income and meeting people, re-getting to know your former place in a new way, internet search groups or meetups like this improved version of you…all different things that may be helpful. I work 2 jobs to get ahead…

I commend you for writing this post and being courageous to travel somewhere else and now reintegrate back.  Not easy but I see that personally, my life is richer from living abroad and successfully “making it” via restarting my life from almost zero. It was hard to see it for the first 3 years…I struggled but now…at year 4 I am seeing how vital this was for my journey. 

You got this! This is all part of the plan”. 

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