Why did I write this work?
My stress and anxiety levels have been extreme enough for me to be at high risk for a stroke and heart-attack to occur at the same time, actually—and one of my uncles died from that happening at 45. Instead, I had a grand mal seizure at 53.
In other words, my body went into restart mode. It wasn’t my first seizure, but I did not realize what it was until my mother (a retired nurse) told me over the phone while talking to her on the way to the hospital in an ambulance). Chronic or sudden illness is what systemic racism, sexism, classism, and heterosexism does to your body and mind—and if one is wounded enough, your spirit also suffers, eventually. The extended quarantine sharpened a multi-year experience of working in a hostile, toxic environment while attempting to surmount the almost impossible obstacles in front of me that kept me from advancing my career in academia.
This is not a shocking story–many Black women in academia overwork ourselves “just to get half,” as we hear so often now in pop culture, only we who are not famous enough or vicious enough to move up the ladder to become part of the machine are often not seen or heard even as we produce work that others who are more privileged and higher up the hierarchy steal or take to use for their own professional advancement and glory. The persistence of patriarchy and racism even among allies, friends, and families speak to a greater need for empathy for each other and a need for clarity as to how to rebuild, reconnect, and heal for individual well-being and our collective well-being as a society.
Do check out my poetry and essays on my blog http://afrofuturismscholar.com.
Dr. Craig Wynne, the newest professor in the English Program at UDC, will be the next guest on my podcast show At the Edge: Think Culture. We will talk about Dr. Wynne’s latest book “How to be a Happy Bachelor” (2020), where he discusses how to think critically about society’s perceptions of marriage, how to overcome your stigma and fear of being alone, and even how to respond to society’s judgments. https://www.blogtalkradio.com/at-the-edge-thinkculture