I took this trip at the end of July - early August.
Several months before the flood happened in our building, I was asked to go to the Dominican Republic & Haiti for an anthropology poetry project. I immediately said yes and made my summer work & mama arrangements around this trip. After this homeless ordeal, I had to question whether or not I should go. Am I worth that trip in these times of not-knowing? Would it be irresponsible of me if I didn’t get my ticket refunded & try to focus on getting out of the shelter?
I have worth issues. From time to time, I feel like I do not deserve the blessings that have come & are coming my way… It is a confusing notion because I am humbled by the grace of the universe, but I am also afraid of it.
When I don’t trust the process of life, I think that all the bad things that have happened to me is because I deserved it. I created it. In my gut, that makes more sense than when the good comes. It is unsettling; the good feels fake, forced, & inauthentic. It feels more like luck than majesty. It feels more like divine intervention than mastery. In short, I come into moments where I do not value the journey I am on. I question & judge myself & see the shortcomings as an excuse to belittle my creations. So, because I didn’t have my life together, I didn’t deserve to go to the DR & Haiti.
I tried to let the shelter let me keep my belongings & I would return after the trip. I brought in a letter of volunteerism from the school & my travel itinerary. I was told that they would not hold my belongings & that if I left, my case would be closed & I would have to start the shelter process all over again. I was already exhausted from moving into the shelter, packing all of our belongings out of the condemned building, traveling to Zi’s dance school—which was over an hour each way, & having to draw blood, pee, find work, & permanent housing for shelter compliance.
When I decided not to go, I became instantly depressed. I couldn’t stop crying. That “no” from the shelter made me cry the whole bus ride from White Plains to Yonkers. I felt sad just off the IDEA of not going to the DR.
I had to go. I would go into depression. I was already sad because I was in the shelter. Now, I was sad because if I left, I would return back to square one… With much deliberation with my fam, god, & self, I learned I needed to be committed & flexible with my goals. I wanted this. I conjured it. Yes, the circumstance may have changed, but my dream hadn’t.
The anxiety I felt was based on the limiting idea that traveling isn’t for everybody. That my desire to create, travel, & work is not for babymamas or the poor. Traveling is often seen as a luxury. I knew that bringing Zi wouldn’t be cost effective or work effective. She was also in the middle of dance camp. I went further & further into the many reasons why DR couldn’t happen, but once I said I was going, I instantly felt better & the universe starting to conspire for me. I got everything from extra hands for moving to childcare for the weeks I would be gone.
I am glad that I allowed myself to trust. I had an amazing time. I rested. I worked. I met a lot of different kinds of Dominicans & Haitians. We conversed. I saw family. Ate well. & came back safe. Here are some pics from the trip:
To find out more about the project, visit my sista’s site: These Lovely, Traveling Poems.