A Litany for Survival

Hey world,

I took a hiatus, but I'm back to share another poem. I know, I'm also thinking seriously, what is this? A poetry collection blog? but this one has a back story so sit back for a moment.

When I decided to accept the job with WorldTeach, I was absolutely ecstatic. But I also knew that at some point, I would to start doubting myself. I would get nervous. I would get to Tanzania and have potential mental breakdowns about everything*.

(*If there's anything I can say about myself without hesitation, it would be that I'm very adept at guessing what Future Me will do. And Future Me, and Current Me, is ALWAYS in a tizzy worrying about the next set of divergent paths in the wood instead of accepting my current location)

So when I came across this Audre Lorde poem, I was transfixed. I retyped it into a word document (helps press it into your memory) and then printed multiple copies of it and tucked them all over my room. One copy made it to Tanzania and home with me, and it's that quarter-fold that I now have in my apartment hanging on the side of my fridge. 

Out of the way, but nearby if needed. 

I identify with the "those of us" referenced throughout the poem, and I feel as though many travelers, wanderlusters and world-seekers would too. 

It's about quelling the what-ifs and giving into the what-the-hell's. 

As I've recently had to admit, the hardest thing to be afraid of is fear itself. 


A Litany for Survival
- Audre Lorde

For those of us who live at the shoreline
standing upon the constant edges of decision
crucial and alone
For those of us who cannot indulge
the passing dreams of choice
who love in doorways coming and going
in the house between dawns
looking inward and outward
at once before and after
seeking a now that can breed
like bread in our children's mouths
so their dreams will not reflect
the death of ours:

For those of us
 who were imprinted with fear
like a faint line in the center of our foreheads
learning to be afraid with our mother's milk
for by this weapon
this illusion of some safety to be found
the heavy-footed hoped to silence us
For all of us 
this instant and this triumph
We were never meant to survive. 

And when the sun rises we are afraid
it might not remain
and when the sun sets we are afraid
it might not rise in the morning
When our stomachs are full we are afraid
of indigestion
When our stomachs are empty we are afraid
we may never eat again
When we are loved we are afraid
love will vanish
When we are alone we are afraid
love will never return
and when we speak we are afraid
our words will not be heard
nor welcomed
but when we are silent
we are still afraid. 

So it is better to speak
We were never meant to survive. 

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