Heavy….ignorance might really be bliss

It’s been about a month since I last posted. I’d just returned from my first trip to Haiti and was mentally exhausted. I didn’t know it would take me so long to readjust to the life I led before I touched ground in Cap-Haitien, Haiti. The feeling was surreal. I was numb.  Whenever someone would ask “How was Haiti?” my response was “Good but intense.” Those were the only words I could think of that would give the individual enough not to ask very many more questions. I only talked about it at length when I felt I could. A few people asked how I was processing the experience, again I had no coherent response. I’ve studied human behavior and response to trauma. I think my prior knowledge made processing more difficult. I sat on my couch for two days, not wanting to talk to anyone. It was a week before I could muster the strength to look back and really reflect. I’m a naturally sociable person, it doesn’t take much for me to work a room. However, those who know me best know that I’d much rather stay home. My introvert leanings didn’t help much either.

So what next?

Well….I don’t really know. What I do know is that with every piece of information I collect in my mind about this world makes me more upset. I internalize what happens around me, not just what happens to me. I’ve always been an information gatherer. It’s a part of who I am. An organizer I respect, who is also a very good friend of mine, reminded me that it’s not about me. Yes I have to take care of myself, and I do (for the most part). The question I find myself asking a lot lately is how can one NOT be affected by this. If I could ask Ella Baker or Shirley Chisholm how they dealt with the reality and heaviness of the world I would. Coping with reality through non-self destructive means is the only way for me. Doesn’t make it easy, but its what I know is best for me. I just feel heavy sometimes. Not the “world is on my shoulders” heavy, but the “geeze sh*t is f’d up, I know WHY it’s f’d up and I gotta do my part!” kinda heavy. How can that knowledge NOT leave you with a heavy feeling?

There’s so much going on in the world, and I know that there always has been. But I’m talking about the world I live in, the things I see, thats all I have. The situation is heavy and isn’t getting lighter any time soon. Sometimes I wish I knew less, then maybe I feel less of a need and desire to “do.”

I still find myself confused. I could list the number of issues I talk about on a regular basis. The list may or may not be too long. I just know that I need to focus. Building a body of work makes a lot more sense in retrospect. Actually going through it can be as confusing as falling in love for the first time. Sometimes we can all be our biggest critics, I know I am. Getting over fear and insecurities ain’t easy, never has been. But it’s possible.

I’m just about ready to get back to planning for my next trip to Haiti. I’m going to take my time (I promise), going over there without my mental faculties in order will help no one. I’m still learning, still growing and still processing. Ultimately, I am more fearful of inaction than I am of action. This stuff is heavy and ain’t getting lighter…so I’m gonna do some mental/physical/spirtual lifting in the interim. What makes you feel heavy? Drop a comment below 🙂



  1. My cousin has always said, “When I was ignorant, I cried less.” Those words are true. And even the good Book speaks about grief coming with understanding.

    The beauty is that the world we ‘live in’ and the things we see can all be different, thereby allowing us all to concentrate our efforts on correcting different ills while supporting each other.

    Good stuff sister. We continue to support you.

  2. The late great Kwame Nkrumah charged each generation with defining its mission and assuming responsibility for fulfilling it. Our level of consciousness does add a heavy load of responsibility but it helps us to critically construct our mission. We have inherited the legacy of the giants before us, now we must move the struggle forward. The knowledge and skill gained from your experience I am sure will help to sharpen the lens needed to chart our course. Your community appreciates your sacrifice and is in dire need of contributions. Look forward to reading more from you soon sista.

  3. I think GJames is right, too: Ignorance can be bliss. There was a study from a few years ago that showed that Republicans were happier while Democrats identified more with frustration, anger, and resentment… perhaps because they are informed?

    I think this is the plight of people who work in social services and or reform. I think we have to take what Justin refers to as “community appreciation” as our reward. Lord knows it don’t pay in dollars. 🙂

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