This I Believe

Michelle - Tampa, Florida
Entered on September 17, 2007
Age Group: 30 - 50
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I believe that it’s ok to be a little naïve.

The world can weigh you down. Everyday, we are faced with stories of violent crimes, corrupt politics, hatred, famine, sickness…should I go on? I’d rather not. In fact, I’d rather not read or hear about the bad stuff that happens in my neighborhood, country, and around the world.

Being unaware of “newsworthy” events – the details of the murder of a local high school student, how many deaths the Iraq war has caused, how many people were injured or killed by the latest bombing, doesn’t mean I’m less of a citizen of the world. But I have had to take a conscious step back from the steady stream of bad news through print, the Internet, and TV.

The urge to shield myself from the ugly parts of life is a direct result of my upbringing. My father’s father died suddenly when he was just in high school; I can’t begin to imagine having a father one day and waking up the next as a teenage head of the household. It must have felt like an unbearable reality for my dad, and he has always tried to protect me and my older sister against any kind of pain during our childhoods and into our adulthoods. However, since Dad can no longer be the ever-present filter for my life, I’ve had to take matters into my own hands.

I am still aware of the world issues. My RSS feed reader is linked to the Wall Street Journal, NPR Top Stories, and Reuters. I check out past copies of Newsweek from the local public library. Two Sunday newspapers are delivered to our doorstop each week. However, the Comics section draws me in more oftentimes than the World or Metro sections. I need to see beauty in the world, separate from the pain and havoc humans can so easily cause one another. I need to believe that there is still innocence in the world.

I believe that it’s acceptable to take a step back from the world, lose myself in the latest fiction book with a happy ending, or watch a mindless kids’ cartoon. To me, there is solace, and comfort, from still believing the world can be a slap-happy, joyous kind of place.