Why Good Intentions Aren’t Enough | Herizons Magazine
“When Tori Hogan was 20, she visited a refugee camp in Dadaab, Kenya on an internship. One day, her desire to be an aid worker was brazenly called to task. ‘If the aid projects were effective, we wouldn’t still be living like this after all these years,’ a 14-year-old Somali refugee told her. ‘Do you really think you have the answer to our problems?’ Hogan would later realize that the answer was ‘no’.”
In “Why I Write,” Joan Didion describes the circuitous process of coming to understand herself as a writer. The purpose of writing, she explains, is to make sense of one’s experiences:
Had I been blessed with even limited access to my own mind there would have been no reason to write. I write entirely to find out what I’m thinking, what I’m looking at, what I see and what it means. What I want and what I fear.
I am drawn to the romance of this sentiment, but the reality is that writing is rarely a tidy endeavor. What you will get here is raw footage, unedited snippets and snapshots, and ideas that are still in progress. My Grief Is Not Staged is a process, and the process will be messy.
Ask questions. Write a response. Simply read. Please be kind.
As the third anniversary of my mother’s death approaches, I am leaving my life in New York to spend a month on my own in Costa Rica — a place I’ve never been — from December 20 until January 19. This solitary endeavor will allow me to indulge in a moment of self-care, in which I may write a series of essays exploring the relationship I had with my mom while she was living, the time during her illness, and what my life has been like now that she is gone.
I will publish these essays on a blog entitled “My Grief Is Not Staged,” and my hope is that others who’ve experienced similar tragedies will engage in this public grieving process with me. There is a cultural of invisibility surrounding grief, and I believe that is part of the difficulty. When we avoid conversations about death, sadness, loss, and grieving, how can we expect to find peace?