Here’s some more reflexive writing a la my anthropology university courses…
Sunday afternoon and I’ve had a pleasant day pottering around home on my own, cleaning, doing washing, whatever I like… doing my own things in my own time in my own space – times that I treasure here at Ngukurr.
Then a guy that I sorta know and 5 other people arrive (2 I also sorta know) asking to buy and burn some CDs. I do this occasionally for people – sell them blank CDs and help them burn them. Anyways, that was cool – I said yeah, they stood on the doorstep hesitating, I told them to come in. I helped them out and asked if somebody could learn to burn them and then go on and do it. That was all cool. It all was all cool really. They burned CDs and were here for about 20-30mins. But I realised that even this seemingly simple exchange stressed me out. After they left I realised that I’d tensed up and was breathing shallower and needed to relax and take some deep breaths. I’m trying to work out why I was stressed … here’s some thoughts…
- My stress levels automatically go up when people arrive because I know they want something and I’m never sure what, so I’m always dealing with the unexpected and thinking on my feet.
- Maybe I’m still hanging on to my white v. black and us. v. them racist attitudes and just getting scared by having so many black people over and feeling scared and stressed because I’m not in control of the situation
- Is it just naturally uncomfortable having a group of people you barely know come over for a while, especially when they’re so rambunctious?
- Is it partially because being left-wing and socially-conscious and ‘politically correct’, I get stressed because I put pressure on myself to act the ‘right’ way and to always question my actions and feelings.
- Maybe it’s just the noise and mayhem that descends after having an up-til-then very quiet day
During that half hour though, I was still myself – friendly and helpful, cranky at the one girl who was being annoying and disrepectful. Maybe it is just the unknown factors and having the situation out of my control that I find stressful. I think that’s what Sophie found stressful about being here. In today’s example, the unknowns were not knowing what this mob wanted, how long they would hang around for and then the cross-cultural factors of not really knowing the proper etiquette and politeness of each other’s cultures to deal confidently with the situation. That means that we’re either tip-toeing or stepping on toes…
Curious. I just wish I could relax a bit more. But sometimes I think too much. This blog entry being a prime example.