The show Vanessa Maddox CEO of V.R. Maddox Consulting LLC Part Two: https://www.blogtalkradio.com/at-the-edge-thinkculture/2021/03/13/vanessa-maddox-ceo-of-vr-maddox-consulting-llc-part-two.
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, anxiety, 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 even close to becoming diabetic or pre-diabetic (and diabetes as a result of persistent stress/anxiety and poor diet is also rampant for Black folk). 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 in order 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, joy and passion and connection was missing before COVID-19, but the extended quarantine sharpened the pain of attempting to advance past 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.
My spirit is strong, and I want to live a full life, and that means reducing the stress in my life, as well as no longer swallowing pain in silence or allowing systemic racism and other systemic isms to continue to slash at me without me even saying “ouch.” It also means pushing back with social justice moves and equity moves in my space and teaching others to do the same. And me being me, it means writing lots of science fiction and spicy poetry in this blog space if for no other reason than to hold onto my voice and my humanity, as well as to hold my middle fingers in the faces of those who would rather render me silent than to hear me speak or sing.
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I have not felt inspired, lately. I have support from my real followers listed here.
However, there are those visitors who know me in the real world, make it a point to check out my blog front page to read and maybe masturbate to my photos or my erotic poetry (some of emails and comments are just straight up trash), but don’t click follow in order to stay in the shadows–and run up my stats looking for gold because I keep moving my posts to private.
This post is to that crowd, and not to those who publicly follow me and give feedback on occasion.
To the shadow follower/s:
Give me some motivation to spend my energy sharing my mind and heart with you.
I want something more than the ether you use to gaslight folk into not noticing your digital presence.
No picture will be posted today either for the same reason.
Show me something real and honest about you, because at this point, I’m more inclined to keep this blog private for those who are on my follow list to complete my #30Days poetry/flash fiction project and spend more time on my blog sites focused on my other research/writing projects.
It’s summer and I won’t be encouraging passive-aggressive energy in 2020–it annoys me. Don’t waste my time.
Speak your truth, or is gaslighting your truth?
Show me something, playa/s.