Larissa Delgado, 130 YinD
First night: I innocently open the door to my second floor bathroom. Yes second floor, I lucked out and live in a spacious bougie two floor home that I coin as “the pink castle.” It has a second floor balcony, a gate, fish out front, and a maid that comes to clean once a month. Truly a posh corps abode. Immediately upon opening the door I catch something scurrying across the floor at the other end of the bathroom. I freeze. There it is. The thing that I discovered I have a phobia of upon our first encounter in my home. I used to think that I didn’t have a phobia of anything. The thing that I’ve panicked and have had irrational meltdowns over. The visitor that I normally only have to deal with during a certain season of the year, and that I have been forced to face over and over in that season due to forced exposure.
Even when I do have to face it, it always visits on the first floor, never the second. “How did the waterbug even get in here?!”I panic. It must’ve crawled up the drain in my bathroom. I close the door, I can’t face it. I can barely be in the same room as these creatures. Plus I ran out of bug poison, the only means that I’ve learned to face them, at a distance, always at a distance.
Fight or flight? FLIGHT.
“No big deal,” I think.” “Just close the door so it doesn’t get out, and use the bathroom downstairs. It’ll disappear in the morning. They don’t like mornings right? They usually hide or go back up the drain in the morning, right? Right?!? ” I reasoned.
I think to myself, “Lala you COWARD, what if you didn’t have a second bathroom?! What would you do then? What a privilege to ‘just use’ your second bathroom in your two floor home.” But I do, and downstairs there were luckily none. Sweet. I enter the second floor bathroom later that night only to brush my teeth quickly before going to bed. “It’ll be gone in the morning.” And it was. I’m relieved and have a normal day. Second night: it is nowhere to be seen. Then I have another normal day, until that night. Third night: I open the door. Scurry. It’s back! “What do you mean it’s back, it can’t be back! You can’t just come back! What are the odds of that?! That it would crawl up my drain again?! And surely it’s the same one right?!” I don’t even want to fathom there being more than one. Do I even know? I didn’t even buy bug poison because I figured it was a fluke, that I wouldn’t see it again. I can’t face it because I don’t have bug poison. I think of how if it was the same one, I wouldn’t be having this problem again, had I simply mustered up the courage to kill it the first night. I could’ve biked to buy the bug poison that first night and gotten the job done then.
Fight or Flight? FLIGHT.
“Close the door and use the bathroom downstairs again.”
I get so paranoid that I use the second floor bathroom only during the morning the next day, not during the next night. Fourth night: Although I don’t use it I get curious to see if it’s in the bathroom at all. I see it attached to the toilet scrubber and get the heck out of my bathroom. Now it’s getting onto stuff?! It’s getting worse! We’ll burn the scrubber! Or we’ll get a glove and throw it away! We’ll buy a new one, or explain it to the maid. I have to get this dang bug poison!
But the hideous creature did inspire some thought. Great, some good came out of this. What a metaphor to where I am in my life right now? Choosing fight for certain matters, and flight for others. Choosing flight a lot more than I used to. I used to be great at confrontation, but after two years of living in a non-confrontational culture I’m not as adept at it anymore. And even then there have always been things that I’ve closed the door to. But I think about right NOW. I think to the topics that consume my mind, stuck battering in my head like a dance. The things outside of my control, that I shouldn’t be worrying about. The questions that scurry like that darn creature, BOTH taunt me. The unresolved issues with friends. The apologies never given. The things left unsaid. The things I still wanna say. The things that seem like history, but that my soul knows and nudges that I need to talk over, pray over and resolve. “Shhh soul, I can’t. It’s too late to say sorry to them.” Or “Shhh soul, we’ll have that conversation with that person but not now. We just gotta wait for the right time, and the right place. They’re not ready to talk either. It wouldn’t be fair. Let’s sleep on it. Let’s pray on it.” But a delayed fight is still a flight, right?
I think about others. Others who have traumas they don’t want to face, or not even traumas but problems that they don’t dare to attempt to resolve yet. Close the door and go somewhere else, because you have that PRIVILEGE. Others don’t. “Lala you COWARD,” what would you do if you were one of these people, who have no choice but to face their problem today? Just as the waterbug came back when I opened the door a few days later, the fear comes back when you leave you an issue unresolved. The waterbug now gets attached to the scrubber. My fear begins to grow, and this unresolved relationship issue begins to affect my peace and my interactions with others. “You would feel so much better if you resolved it,” says soul. “And your friendship would be stronger,” it reassures. “I will, eventually,” I mutter in return. “In fact I really do, I look forward to have nothing left unsaid someday,” I dream. “You can just buy bug poison to kill it. You can get it right now. You have the money.” “You can message them right now, call them right now, and they will listen. They have the heart.” See the bug poison is the only method that I can face and defeat that creature. The bug poison is your tools or resources you use to resolve your traumas or your problems. They’re friends, they’re family, they’re therapy— Therapy I wrestle, “Is it ok to go to therapy in Peace Corps to talk about things that are not Peace Corps related? Can I argue of its’ indirect effect of taking up time in my brain as I’m in service, is that valid?! Shouldn’t I take advantage of free therapy? I wouldn’t even know what to say, I’ve never “therapied.”The bug poison is healthy communication, it’s love, it’s trust, it’s God, it’s honestly sometimes the bug itself. “What are you so afraid of?,” says soul. “Don’t you know you’re not alone? Don’t you know that God will help? And don’t you know that they love you too?”
Read Larissa’s previous articles and contributions.