‘Finding My Energy’ – A Blog From European Solidarity Corps Volunteer Polina Smirnova

Finding My Energy

Recently I was talking to my mom on the phone, telling her about my life in Newbridge and volunteering at Crooked House. She was glad to hear my excited voice, but she still asked me; “Do you have time for yourself? For your hobbies?”

This question surprised me. I realised that everything I do here, I do for myself. These are my hobbies, the things I love to do just for fun! I’ve never felt this before!

Before coming to Newbridge, I spent 4 years in constant stress, anxiety and procrastination, because at university I had to study something that I did not like at all. Even for the simplest tasks I needed a huge amount of energy, and I cried myself to sleep every night. I felt so weak and helpless, so useless!

When I found out that I was going to work as a volunteer in the youth theatre, I was very happy, but at the same time scared. By that time, I had already forgotten what it was like to be energised and productive, and I was afraid that I would not be able to cope with the tasks at Crooked House. To be honest, even the process of collecting documents for a visa almost forced me to give up on the idea of volunteering. I was so emotionally exhausted that I didn’t know if I could handle all the paperwork.

Fortunately, I got so much help and support from Crooked House, without them I would not have been able to come to Ireland.

And now I’m here in Newbridge. My every day is very busy, I have a lot of tasks and projects, but I have never felt so free and energetic! Every evening when I come home I feel physically tired, but at the same time I have this emotional fullness and power! Facilitating workshops, working in schools, communicating with other volunteers – all those things energise me and I begin to feel needed. I had a feeling that I finally found a place and work that allow me to feel that I belong here.

I feel good, like I am on the right path.

I think this is the most important thing for every person – to find work that will feel like a hobby, and not like hard labor or punishment. I want to believe that I have found myself here, in the Crooked House.

Polina Smirnova,

European Solidarity Corps volunteer from Russia.