Day 14: Work at Lisburn PSP inlcuding sitting in on a Resurgam Trust Board Meeting and writing up more financial reports. The evening entailed traditional Egyptian and Irish food and a presentation by Ama on the January 25th Revolution in Cairo and her experience living there during that time.
Sam and I sat in on the Resurgam Trust Board Meeting today as they discussed and debated matters from appraisals to preschool. Amidst all the words and ideas that were thrown around, I caught a glimpse into my Irish culture. Adie briefly mentioned a problem going on in the office and came to the decision to confront the people involved and sort it out. And so he did. Leaving a problem untouched only allows it to fester while confronting a problem, although it may result in some fighting, will end resolved with all parties in conjunction, he explained.
I grew up being taught this same belief. And so I grew up learning how to fight with my siblings. We would race to the front seat of my mom’s mine-van, shoving each other and yelling “Shotgun!”. We would tackle each other for the remote and the best spot on the couch. Most of the time, the fighting was harmless. On other occasions, not so much. When I was eight-years old, my brother Jerome and I got into a fist fight that ended in him bleeding all down his back because I scratched him so hard. On not one but two other occasions, battles between my brothers resulted in hospital visits and stitches. As I got older and stopped growing at my 5’6 stature, my brothers kept growing well past my height and I realized I had to change my fighting tactics. I could no longer equate being the oldest with being the strongest. And so we moved on to verbal fighting. We learned how to string together words as deadly as venom and to shoot them at each other in a second’s time.
When I came to Duke, although the peace and quiet was nice at first, I began to miss the yelling, punching, and screaming. Yes, my siblings and I fought, a lot, but once we were done, it was over. We got everything off our chest and were grabbing ice cream or laughing together watching Wedding Crashers moments after. At Duke, I learned that not everyone fights like I do. Confronting someone about a problem and dropping a few f—k-yous does not end in ice cream and a movie. So I’ve adapted. I avoid conflict. I keep things inside and let them boil because telling someone exactly how I feel will not end in a smile, but rather a broken friendship. But is that the right way to handle conflict? Are we supposed to put on a fake smile and pretend everything is okay? How are we supposed to develop real relationships based on superficial feelings?
I learned today where my confrontation and fighting tactics come from. They are part of the culture and tradition that my family has passed down, rather unintentionally, throughout the years. And it is a tradition I would like to continue. There are people like me who do not shy away from confrontation and fighting. Those people are just across the pond.