Just what was what we had or did?

It certainly was something emotional and spiritual, and it took me almost a year to recover from it. The pandemic’s isolation ended the gaslighting spell that fueled it and forced me to do some serious work on dismantling those influences and patterns in my emotional practices that kept me trapped in toxic relationships.

This was a process I used to assess ALL people in my life, from family and friends to co-workers and superiors. Somewhere you fit into this process, and it did not take me long to conclude that some mutual clarity, empathy, and respect for emotional needs and boundaries would have helped to prevent subsequent issues that emerged.

On the other hand, those issues emerging resulted in a far more immediate and detailed assessment that led me towards a far more radical approach that was not just timely but far more effective in my emotional healing and progress. There is no going backward–just forward-moving in more progressive, healthy patterns.

Any connection with you in the future must be aligned with such progress. Therefore, it would be new and, because it rejects patriarchal practices and expectations, a start from scratch beginning with communication.

Cherie Ann Turpin
Cherie Ann Turpin

Guarding Emotional Wellness

Timely for us in so many ways, as I am recovering from physical health issues due to emotional health issues stemming from emotional overload and neglect–something very common these days in our community, unfortunately. The pandemic forced me to spend more time doing self-care and mindfulness.

https://www.nih.gov/health-information/emotional-wellness-toolkit

my persona

Sun in Libra and Moon in Capricorn equals Queen of Swords

“Queen of Swords is an archetype of an older, wiser feminine intellect. She is considered the most masculine of all the queens and is perceived as stern and emotionless. She represents the importance of making judgments without relying on emotion alone.

Queen of Swords beckons you to study all the facts before making a decision. She does have compassion, which is why she has her hand reaching outwards, but she wants to connect to people using intellectual understanding.”

been busy all day/night

making moves, building structures

core tightening

losing more flab n fat and tightening up a bit

boo hoo and fashion nova on me with electric blue hair

the only podcasting assoc prof at udc with electric blue hair wants April Massey to come back and talk about CAS helping UDC bring back story-telling!

haven’t done the hair yet–I’m waiting for spring! But I don’t want to wait for the podcast!

new label or brand? or poem?

university of delightful cuts aka microaggression central

microaggression central aka UDC aka University of DC aka university of delightful cuts

church medicine

This Presidency Has Exposed My White Christian Friends

No, You Don’t Owe Hateful People Unity

The Myth of American Pro-Life Christianity

Dear Judas, (A Letter to the Evangelical Church)

Christians are Supposed to Care About People

Mother Yemaya’s Birthing Water

Size 8 or 10 — a goal right now.

Why?

I need to get away from these hurtful, hateful people next summer and I can’t do that if I don’t lose the weight that gets this pressure off my brain and skull because I can’t drive right now.

I want to drive.

I want to travel.

I want to meet new people, find a new lover/partner, find someplace nice to relax, write, make love, and just enjoy life.

I work in a toxic environment with toxic administrators and faculty

who enjoy hurting people for the fuck of it

who love draining energy from people

who enjoy gaining power through sadistic, cruel means

I need a vacation from this environment, preferably near salt water which means sea/ocean water–hot or cold water, snow or rain.

I need to clean my body, mind, and soul with Mother Yemaya’s Birthing Water in order to clean myself of the toxicity that is UDC and for that matter this whole fucked up racist, misogynistic, classist, colorist town called DC.

medicine for the wounded

medicine for the wounded predator stalking me

(that’s right–I’m giving you some medicine for that home-made hooch that’s got you thinking you can turn colonialist/slave owner when in fact the best you can do is be Massa’s personal servant)

Imagine that: get your head together or die. Just like that. I chose to live and it demanded very painful confrontations with everyone in my life having an impact on my emotional health, good or bad–and everything in between.

I had to clear my desk and go up to the attic to pull out those old records still playing just to smash them into pieces. I had to make phone calls and type out texts that six months ago would have been sitting in my brain rotting and leaking.


Six months ago no one would have expected me to dare to leave such a harsh digital trail. One year ago I was still willing to take yet another face-slap or microaggression and swallow it like fresh sperm. In some ways, I was the slave or the unpaid servant for you, emotionally, but I was in the ultimate position of the slave in that I was unaware of my state of being. I was being drained by a shaman in a cave in a parallel universe while in an ecstatic trance.


In both universes, I had two grand mal seizures that forced me into full consciousness and memory of the far past. All of this feels familiar as if this has already happened as if I am writing to you and me in a time-warped teachable moment.


Someone very dear to me needs to read this essay. Seems like so many Black folk in power in DC can’t embrace the idea that Black women do matter, that we are not mules to be driven to dust, that we are women, that we are human, that we do matter–and these days I’m not sure what’s more shocking: seeing my sisters or so-called sisters jump on the hate train when it comes to Black women, or seeing my brothers (including my own blood brother) jump on the hate train or even worse, watch us Black women being torn asunder by white supremacists while remaining silent and indifferent.

I see those kinds of Black folk at my institution running it into the ground while whining about the ever-shrinking numbers of enrolled students at an HBCU that has yet to deal with its own classism, racism, sexism, colorism, homophobia, transphobia, biphobia.

We do matter.

Regardless of your status or perceived status, if you are a Black woman, man, person, or child, you will be faced with systemic racism at some point in your lifetime—and at times frequently for no reason other than being there doing your job, sleeping, working, playing, sitting still, walking, breathing.


That’s not including the work-related discrimination, microaggressions, getting healthcare while Black, driving while Black, education-related discrimination, and other biases lodged against you if you are a woman/girl, LGBTQIA+, disabled, international, etc. Yes, systemic racism does negatively impact mental and physical health for African Americans, and we now live in an age where significant scientific, medical, sociological, and psychological research confirms that claim. However, that begins another conversation on other related issues like high BP, diabetes, depression, and PTSD.


Or think of it this way—I did not fall unconscious on the floor of a classroom during a faculty meeting last fall due to me being diabetic because I am not close to becoming diabetic or pre-diabetic (and diabetes as a result of persistent stress/anxiety and poor diet is rampant for Black folk).


Indeed, 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 Mom told me over the phone while talking to her on the way to the hospital in an ambulance).


Why did I have a seizure?


Because after almost 30 years of academia (grad school 10 years and 17 years from Assistant Professor to Associate Professor), the climate on my campus had become so consistently negative and toxic with almost no indication of improvement that my brain and body shut down and restarted. Ever have your computer do that–shut down and restart in the middle of a project you hoped you saved before it shut down? That’s what God did to help me reboot and heal, and luckily I only ended up losing some short-term memory.


Chronic or sudden illness is what systemic racism does to your body and mind—and if one is wounded enough, your spirit also suffers, eventually. I am a feeling being, and I do find myself wondering how is it that to be considered even minimally acceptable in my chosen field, I had to sacrifice part of my humanity to successfully work in such a toxic environment for low pay and constant disrespect and belittlement.


Now, to be honest, that joy and passion and connection was missing before COVID-19, but the extended quarantine sharpened what was a multi-year experience of social isolation while attempting to surmount the almost impossible obstacles in front of me that kept me from advancing my career in academia as a professor.

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.

Honesty. Openness. Consent. Pride.

That’s what’s missing in your approach to me, Mr. Predator, and it probably didn’t help that I was slowly descending from a mountain of pain–unaddressed PTSD that emerged in a series of illnesses that put my very life at risk.

How can you say you are just trying to a human when you don’t allow me to be human as well? When positive in your eyes means my pain and my voice is not for human ears, least of all yours? That may not be your intent, but that’s how you come across with that Black Respectability bullshit that I refuse to absorb.


I reject the entirety of the Cult of True Womanhood, Cult of Southern Womanhood, Cult of Domesticity, and the Cult of Mary, which pretty much means I don’t allow men or women to put me in a box where I smile and endure like some evangelical wife who tries not to bring attention to the fact that her husband treats her like a rock to drag around.

Why are you stuck in the 19th century when it comes to Black women?


Why are you stuck in the 19th century when it comes to your presence on this planet as a Black man?


Why do you behave as if we are still on a plantation in 2020–almost 2021?

Why are you such a fucking pathetic asshole with so little motivation to do better for yourself and your own people?

You can’t even read my blog without having someone hold your hand to face the truth about your own behavior towards me.

Be an adult, and talk to me like you’ve got something in your pockets other than rocks and touchstones.

My description to the Irish Echo and the IAWAA

“medicine for the wounded”

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

https://www.blogtalkradio.com/at-the-edge-thinkculture/2020/11/21/dr-craig-wynne-the-language-of-singlehood