Monday, November 16, 2009

round and round

i wrote an entire post about how i want to take a break from academia because i feel so trapped in this vicious cycle of self-congratulatory ego-coddling rhetoric and then i realized that the entire blog post i had just written was really freakin self-congratulatory.

ugh. i really need to figure out how to blog like a normal person. [ha!]

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

something to talk about

so this is the post that i was going to post last time but didn't because of a flash wave of hyper self-consciousness. not that i've suddenly given up my neurosis (a hallmark of my personality, after all) but several factors have collided this evening and worn down my inhibitions: 1) i feel guilty for my irregular blogging; 2) this blog was already basically done and prolly shouldn't go to waste and 3) i have a feeling that few people have the patience to read through to the end of these tirades anyway so there's really no need to get all diffident about its contents. anywho, here goes:


i could start this post by apologizing for how long it's been since my last post. but i'm not gonna do that. i will say that a lot has changed in the month and a half since that last post. okay, so maybe circumstantially things are pretty much the same (still in my last year at UW, still living with pops, still doing most of the same day-to-day stuff) BUT my mind has been racing and i'm just trying to keep up. hence the lack of bloggination. [okay, so maybe there are several other reasons for my lack of bloggery including but not limited to a generally lackadaisical constitution but let's just pretend that my intense existential contemplations are to blame, k?]

so last time i checked in, i let y'all know about how i was all bound and determined to go straight from undergrad to grad school but as the quarter went on and i started to look into what grad school would entail, i found that my heart just wasn't in it. i'd google it up, read what i needed to do, read about the amazing programs, think about all the amazing writing i'd get to do... and then find that i had absolutely no desire to do any of it. all that spunk and enthusiasm and excitement that once was just wasn't any longer. when i started to feel my excitement wane, i went into my characteristic "why am i doing what i'm doing and why am i thinking about thinking about how i'm doing what i'm doing when i'm doing said thinking?" meta over analysis to attempt to figure out what was going on with me. was this just a means of self-sabotage set up in order to avoid the potential rejection? was i just being straight up lazy and trying to get out of doing the work i'd need to do? could it be that i'm an imposter and that all this time i haven't been as nerdy as i thought i was? [that last theory was promptly thrown out. obviously.] though my human propensity for self-sabotage and my fear of rejection are certainly plausible factors, after much careful consideration i think i've concluded that my change of heart may actually be valid.

as an American Ethnic Studies major, i've spent a good chunk of the last two and a half years studying up on history of racial injustice in our country and its effect on our present moment. it's been incredibly empowering to be able to articulate all the angsty frustrations i've experienced first-hand and why they matter. it's also been really important to see my experiences and in essence, my life within the larger context and to put words to the unjust cultural practices that persist in our world. but in the last few weeks in particular, i've grown weary of this academic self-congratulatory speculation and i'm beginning to feel like it's all way more self-serving than it is outwardly focused. in other words, being so deeply entrenched in the academic end of things has removed me from real life and let me feel like i'm "doing" something when really all i've done is theorize about what hypothetically should be done, not to mention point the finger at all the things that have been done wrong. that's not to say that the theory and academia aren't important! the vocabulary i've gained has added depth and substance to the difficult conversations i've been having about the larger issues of injustice and i believe those conversations have been life-changing for all parties involved (especially me). though the conversation is an incredibly important first step, it is only the FIRST of many steps. and for me, i think step two means stepping away from college classes and into the public schools.

though institutional racism is a gnarly monster, education is often identified as the "silver bullet" and i think i have to agree (in theory). i'd like to put that theory into practice and try my hand at the difficult work of teaching the underserved communities of our nation. though it's certainly tempting to want to take on a michelle-pfieffer-in-dangerous-minds/hillary-swank-in-freedom-writers-esque savior mentality about this kind of pursuit, i know that i have more to learn than anyone else and that any service i'm able to engage in will ultimately change my life more drastically than anyone else's. i also know that it sounds like this brilliant cute idea right now but the reality will probably be far less glamorous. nevertheless, i just can't in good conscience continue to talk talk talk without doing something God willing, i'll get to do something sometime in the not-to-distant future.