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July 17, 2016

Dear Well-Informed Citizens of the World: Please Leave Me in My Ignorance.

emma freeman portraits/Flickr

 

I broke up with television over three years ago.

It was a decision I made for my health: physically, emotionally, and spiritually. It was a welcome change that brought more peace and stillness to my life, and I’ve never for a second regretted it.

However, in the beginning I struggled with the idea that I had to keep up with current events to be a well-informed citizen.

I thought that to help influence change in the world I would need to be in the know, that I would have to fill my mind with all the world’s atrocities to be able to understand how and where I could make an impact. Three years later, I know that’s total bullsh*t.

I choose to believe that the world is a safe place for me to raise my children. I need to believe that it is. Please, don’t take that from me. Let me be naïve and innocent to the violence and danger that might be around them every day. It’s much easier for me to imagine my children walking in sunshine and rainbows than gang violence and gunfire.

My heart can’t bear to think about the terrible things that happen to young women on college campuses, or all the ways our teenage sons can be taken from us too soon. I know the risks are there, but I refuse to place my focus on them. I refuse to instill fear in their hearts, because I want them to also walk through life believing that the world is safe, and no harm can come to them.

I choose to believe that people are kind. I need to believe that they are. Please don’t take that from me.

Let me live in a bubble where love and kindness are extended to everyone unconditionally. Where people stand up for what’s right. They help others in need—be they kin or stranger. Where the underdog is celebrated, and our uniqueness honored.

Let me believe that there are beautiful souls left on this planet who care about other people. Let me see the good in everyone I meet. Let me trust too much, and love too freely, and expect that everyone shares these intentions.

My heart can’t bear the hatred in this world. I can’t face all the ways people hurt one another. I know that terrible things happen all the time, but I cannot place my focus on them. I will not live in fear, or allow prejudices and pain to become part of who I am.

I choose to believe that we are all the same. I need to believe that we are. Please don’t take that from me.

Let me hold on to the idea that we are one human race. That we cannot be divided by our gender, the color of our skin, our country of origin, our sexual orientation, the uniform we wear to work every day, or the name that we cry out when we pray to our God.

Let me believe that the invisible force that makes my heart beat exists in every beating heart, and the light inside me shines in every soul.

Please, let me be foolish enough to believe that we have the power to overcome all the ways the world divides us. Let me believe that we’re bigger than the monsters, more powerful than our politicians, and more limitless than the stars in the evening sky. Let me see the magnificence of the human spirit in its glory, and all of the wonderful things that it can accomplish.

My heart can’t bear to look at mass shootings, police brutality, and war. I know they are happening. I know that mothers are grieving for children they have lost, and children are without parents, and families are ripped apart by senseless acts. I refuse to accept that this is the best we can do as human beings. I refuse to believe that it will always be this way. I refuse to allow such things to become the norm in my world.

My status quo cannot include terrorism, violence, loss, pain, and hatred. It simply cannot be.

I’ve learned that being a well-informed citizen is woefully overrated. When I was consuming the media’s depiction of the world every day, my heart was full of fear. I know now that fear and love cannot exist in the same space. Fear is the antithesis of love. Every day, we get to choose between the two.

I am Team Love, all the way. It’s the only way I can give the world around me the full expression of who I am.

Please, hear my plea, well informed citizens of the world: I am begging you to leave me in my ignorance.

Let me be blissfully unaware of all the suffering in the world. Let me see this earth through the eyes of a little child—innocent, and full of joy. Let me chase the butterflies, smell the roses, hug the trees, and believe in magic. Let me believe that there is hope for us, and the generations to come. Let me opt out of politics, and religion, and all the conventions society uses to convince us that we are enemies with our earthly neighbors.

I know I can’t live under a rock forever. Eventually, I will have to look at the most terrible things in the headlines. We all will have to face it at some point. I’m just asking for a little time to process, a little time to heal. I need a minute for the shock to wear off, for the anger to subside before I can digest anymore sadness.

I choose to look away when the world gets too scary. I need a minute of solitude, stillness, silence—please–don’t take this from me.

 

 

 

Author: Renée Dubeau

Photo: emma freeman portraits/Flickr 

Editors: Renée Picard; Emily Bartran

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