Friday, February 4, 2011

Day 0: What Am I Doing?

What am I doing? That question has been running through my head since I left Haiti, but has intensified being here in England. What am I doing? What am I doing here? Floating around. Banging into people and places, sometimes in a good way, sometimes in a bad way. I'm hurting myself some, but that's OK, I expected that, but I'm also hurting other people I care for, and that I'm not OK with. It isn't intentional, but that's no excuse. This place of limbo - this place of total disconnect, in which I don't belong anywhere and don't have anything to put my talents toward - is humbling but also chaotic and somewhat volatile. I have huge reserves of energy that Haiti brought out in me that are simply sitting inside me at the moment, making even basic day to day things hard to do - sleep, eat, focus. I've been doing more drinking than I should. It helps sedate me when I'm trying to go to bed.

I don't write this as some sort of poor me confessional. I write it to simply be honest. A lot of people told me the time following Haiti was going to be hard. I knew that it had been for many people before me. Many of them came back to the project as soon as they could, which I imagine they did to escape the fallout that leaving the first time created in them. As my friend Kurt from Haiti told me upon his return - "A lot of people tell you how wonderful they think it is that you've put your life on hold to go help others. I realized that is totally wrong. My life was on hold. Coming here sparked it. Before I was just existing. Here I'm living." I get that. I know now why it can be so hard to leave. I know why so many choose to come back as soon as they can. I don't have plans to go back to Haiti. I have plans to start my own project with two close friends of mine, as I've written about before. For now, however, I must be patient. I felt like I'd need time off after Haiti, to kick around and see friends and just be. I'm finding that to be a dangerous proposition - simply being when in a place of upheaval and transition isn't a good thing. Having endless time with my own thoughts isn't productive, or healthy right now. I feel very torn, because I am happy to be here to see my friends, and, even though it can be painful, seeing M is also nice, but in some ways I wish my time in England was over. That I could skip ahead, enjoy North Carolina, see my family in Los Angeles, and then go. Get out again. Get lost in it again. Push forward again with purpose.

Purpose. That's it. It's like a drug. Haiti was full of it. I never even had to question whether what I was doing was worth it, or purposeful. Here, I feel its absence. Once you've found it, you can't let it go for very long. It has a funny way of reminding you you need to find it again.


  1. I like your brutality of being lost then found
    then lost again.
    Ebb and flo
    Perhaps another stint in a place similar to Haiti
    getting one's feet furthur immersed would reveal
    more than trying to do a start up where there is a lot of stress from success or failure.
    At least in your working at it you are always moving ahead of hell or high water.

  2. Appreciate it Uncle. One of these days I promise I'll head out to the vineyard and we'll have drinks and enjoy ourselves.