I did not know how it would happen. I could not foresee the moment when it all became too much. My shoulders feel curved forward with the weight of all the obligations in my life. I wake up and hit the floor at full speed. There are things that have to be done, there are things that need to be done, and things that should be done. My life is a series of meetings, obligations, laundry, reading, writing, cooking, interpreting, meeting some more, washing dishes, changing diapers, spending quality time with my partner for life, and figuring out how to get that last small person to the potty for real. This is my life. This is that tenure grind I have been talking about for months.
I knew it was coming, I had a plan. I knew how I was going to handle it. I also knew that I wasn’t going to be stressed out about it – no, not me, that was just a false culture that they (whoever they are) create in the academy to provide the proper level of hazing for junior, up and coming tenure-track faculty. Oh, yes, and then there is the fact that I am of African descent (and lately find myself identifying as Afro-Native – a whole different blog entry) and I am a woman. I am on way too many committees, fielding way too many issues of diversity, race and gender, and now, I remember the advice all of my academic elder sista doctas warned me about…I am recreating the very identity I was trying to avoid.
Superwoman alert! I am not a Superwoman, I gave in my resignation years ago, but somehow, I thought I had put her to rest, but it turns out that I just put all her stuff in my closet and forgot to throw all the superwoman accessories away and she snuck back up on me. I didn’t even see her move back in.
How could I, I was either busy or way too tired to notice her sneaking up from the rear. Damn, it happened. I really was under the impression that I could stop myself from getting to this point. But, truth be told, I have not done a good job. I am stressed out. I know that I will post this blog and people will give me advice and they will tell me to take care of myself, but to be honest, I probably would not have it any other way. This is what it is and I am who I am. This is the revolution that was put in me from an early age. I see the academy as a means to make change for those who will come behind me.
Then there is reality. So, despite all my well laid plans, I think my ability to say NO has failed me. I seem to think the more I do the more I can change the world. But, what if I am too tired to enjoy all the changes I have made. This is a dilemma, but it has larger implications. Black female academics with health issues, with exhaustion issues, with issues at home (let’s not even talk about how messy my house is right about now) should not be the norm. I haven’t seen the inside of a gym since it was warm a year ago and I know that this cannot be my life much longer, I am at the saturation point, so understand when I don’t call, when I forget to respond to your text or did not come to that next committee meeting, it is not that I don’t care or that I am blowing you off, I am at a place of rediscovering self-preservation at the moment. I need some time to find that superwoman again, so I can wrestle her to the ground, take out some of my aggression and throw her in the garbage can for real this time. So, reordering my priorities has got to happen, before I fall asleep.
And to be honest, I just hope I don’t oversleep and miss the revolution that I started.