Saturday, April 3, 2010

Introductory Message : About "A Heavy Load"

First of all, I want to thank all of you who have taken the time to introduce yourself to my new blog. I am looking forward to seeing the direction this project will take in the days to come and I'm looking forward to all of you sharing this new journey with me.

The concept of starting a blog has been on my mind for some time now and after thinking over the issue for a number of months I've decided to take the plunge with a renewed appreciation for the courage and openness it takes for anyone to put their views out there on a forum for the world to see - rather those particular views are personal, political, social, cultural, or economic in nature.

This blog aims to be all of those things. Although I plan to put less emphasis on the "personal" aspect of things I realize that by definition any blog which I produce will be in a large part "personal" as it will be informed by my perspectives, experiences, and even prejudices. While I have not ruled out the prospect of having guest bloggers contribute to this space later on, as of now I have no definite plans to do so in the foreseeable future. Principally, this blog will be a forum for me to write about many of the issues which I find interesting or important.

The name of this blog "A Heavy Load" is a tribute to the poetry of Langston Hughes (1902-1967) and in particular his poem "Harlem" which is reprinted below:

What happens to a dream deferred?

Does it dry up
like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore--
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over--
like a syrupy sweet?

Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.

Or does it explode?

So much about this poem speaks to the human experience whether the desire of historically marginalized groups for opportunity and liberty or the yearning any individual feels for his or her most deeply held desires. Today many scholars believe Hughes was bisexual or gay and in this poem, one can see a window into the LGBT experience in America. The long march to legal equality for LGBT people as individuals and as members of couples seeking validation of their relationships within society is mirrored in this poem (whether or not this was a possible meaning the author intended). The yearning that any LGBT person in the closet feels to live an open and honest life in which he or she pursues their desires free of social stigma comes through beautifully. As someone who came out to friends and family as bisexual at the age of 22, thereby affirming something I had known about myself since the age of 13, this poem speaks to me about a very personal "dream deferred," perhaps one I even share with the poem's author and one that I know I share with millions of people around the world.

But this is not the only dream I have deferred. The dream of leaving the small, rural community I grew up in was a dream deferred until I turned 18 and graduated from high school. In times of sickness when I have struggled with kidney stones and their resulting complications the dream of wellness and health has often been deferred as well.

And as I stated earlier, my interest in this poem is largely due to its ability to speak to dreams deferred across generations: the dreams of African-Americans and women in the United States for equality, liberty, and justice in a society which recognizes their human dignity; the dreams of those in poverty who want desperately for their offspring to have a better life; the dreams of those living in oppressive societies and/or under oppressive governments around the world who long for a more just social order.

It is my fervent hope that in some way this blog is able to challenge many of the wider social forces that defer our individual as well as our collective dreams. I also hope that it challenges its readers to think, laugh, question, and make their own voices heard.


  1. hey 'leen! added you to my blog list...interested to see where it goes...i'm going to try to keep mine more updated...

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