I am currently listening to “What is the What” in my car as I drive to work and school and dance and wherever else my life takes me. I am finding myself easily lost in and completely overwhelmed by this story. I have cried I am not sure how many times and I am not even halfway through. But I can’t stop. And as I think about that fact I realize that I do this all the time. I am drawn to heartbreak and pain. Not because I enjoy it. Not because I can fix it. I don’t think it’s a sub conscience effort to punish myself. But maybe it is. Would I be able to recognize that if it’s sub conscience?
Whatever the reason I surround myself with the stories of people. And sometimes actual people. And I listen to their story. And I feel their pain. I listen to the pain of Sudanese boys in a civil war, then listen to the pain of American middle schoolers who are sometimes struggling to meet their basic needs. The suffering is different but it is still suffering. And I feel it. Each time.
Maybe I do it out of privileged guilt?
Maybe it is because of my ability to isolate myself in my own suffering once upon a time and my realization that NO ONE should do that. We must have a hand to hold. Maybe I can be that hand?
But I am not holding any hands of the now grown adults from Sudan. I am just listening to their pain. Maybe the purpose of that is to carry the story and make sure it is not forgotten? Perhaps there is no purpose.
Either way I will not stop.