Breathe Easy, You've Found Me ((HUGS))

People will wonder why this blog is needed, why minority midwifery student? It's very simple actually; I was looking for this blog...but I couldn't find I created it. We all have unique experiences, and every experience, every story, can help someone else. I am a black girl from the hood at an ivy league professional school. That, alone, is reason enough to write. Somebody was looking for this blog. Someone wanted proof that what I'm doing can be done - even when you come from where we come from.

To that person especially, WELCOME.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

A Wednesday Off

Yesterday was my day off from everything and anything I didn't want to do. Here's some stuff I did do:

:: Watched this beautiful engagement video. You can visit the photographer's site (and watch the video) here. I have a lot to say about materialism (my own included), extravagant engagements/weddings that immediately turn into failing marriages, but I tried not to take it there when watching this video (don't forget to turn on speakers). I just let myself watch this couple and their family, a full (10?) minutes of black love on screen. (Is anybody else starved to see more images of us like this?) I won't let myself comment about anything other than the moment (hours long) they were in and how wonderful it made me feel. I especially love the moments when their loved ones are holding hands around them and praying...10 different times...10 different rooms...10 times the prayer. The time and thought it took to coordinate. The hope everyone has for them and their future. It's beautiful.

:: Watched a lot of TV, mostly stuff I had saved on TiVo. I've been watching Gotti's Way which is about hip hop head Irv Gotti's life and family. I was all set to hate it, but I actually like it. Him and his wife are separated but he still spends a considerable amount of time at the house (he has a spot of his own as well). 2 episodes ago, they were arguing about how to raise their children. He said that the main responsibility of raising the boys should fall to him because he knows what it is to grow up male in this country, and she has no idea. He wants them to be ready, and strong...often telling them to "man up." She "hates" when he tells them that and wants them to have the space to cry and talk about their feelings, which he of course is not feelin.' She says the boys are afraid of him, and she told the boys that "daddy cries, too, and it doesn't make him any less of a man." He says that he does not step in and make comments when his wife is talkin to their daughter, "tellin her that women shyt" and he wants her to back off and give him the same room to raise "his" boys. Me and the man talk about this a lot, so it's interesting to be allowed into someone else's kitchen as they work through it. I also watch the Salt-N-Peppa show, which is less and less interesting to me as it goes one because I find Salt so processed (in that Pleasantville sort of way) that it grates my nerves. I caught up on a lot of TV yesterday.

:: I also watched some movies. Chuck and Larry Get Married, which was only ok, until the ending court scene which made me think of life and friendship in a good way...about what it is to be a partner to someone without the being in a sexual relationship...about how much you can know a person, love a person, be a pillar in a person's life, and not be their actual partner/spouse/lover. Diary of a Mad Black Woman, which I've seen a million times because I really love Kimberly Elise in anything she plays, and I'm also a Tyler Perry fan. Also, Reign Over Me (which was my second dose of Adam Sandler that day, and ALL I could take) which also stars Don Cheadle. That one was good. There were some snags...Sandler's character's inflammatory remarks, and the flatness of Jada Pinkett's character come to mind, but overall, good film about grief, and PTSD, our tendency to want people to grieve the way we want them to, and in the time frames that we set. About what we think it is to live a "normal" life and what's acceptable behavior for adults.

:: I went to happy hour with two women from my midwifery class to celebrate the end of physical assessment and the survival of a really tough couple of weeks. We also went out last week, but this time was a little different because last week we pretty much stuck to clinical topics (what we're learning/not learning, etc) And this week we waded into more controversial territory...our own lives, beliefs, and current events local to us. That's where it got a little sticky because we're all strong minded, opinionated black women. I welcome dialog because I feel starved right now, but I must say, I was still starved when I left, and not the least bit exhausted, which is how I usually feel after 3 hours of conversation with black women who are talking about their lives and how the hell to move through them. In short, I was a little disappointed. Happy for the time we shared, which was needed, but disappointed at our inability to really take it there. I ascribe this to not really knowing these women yet, to only having just met them, really. At least that's what I'd like to credit it to...because to say that it's probably more like, once again, meeting over drinks with black women who aren't willing to go the distance of getting into the kinds of conversations I want to get into is a little crushing. People almost always get that "oh no, here she goes again with that black talk/that race talk/that woman talk/that poor people talk" look on their face. Like I'm supposed to look at my life through a different lens...put down my brown shades. Step over the elephant in the room. Ignore the sighs from privileged black people who are tired of hearing about "other" black people who complain too much about what the hell is going on. Avoid these conversations, mute my thoughts, because they just wanna get along. Maybe it's the exhaustion. We're all so tired. Who has time to think about anything other than cells, germs, symptoms, treatments, and patients. Maybe that's how they feel, they just can't take one more thing to think about, it's much easier to agree to disagree, or say "that's just how people are," without doing the work of understanding why people...why WE...are the way we are. I think one of the women would talk about it, but takes a while to warm up, plus she's's's ok, you can get heated, my feelings won't be hurt, or maybe they will be, but so what, that's what happens when impassioned women you think what I'm saying is BS? Tell me. I think you're smart, and witty, and have some experiences that I don't, and I want to hear what you have to say! Or, in the case of the other, she's just tired of the conversation. But what can I say? I am who I am and she is who she is. Do you think what I'm saying is BS? I wish you'd just say that because I think some of what you're saying is safe, and over conciliatory . And I think sometimes defensiveness is a protective mechanism elicited to keep from having to feel all that stuff that you have only just been confronted with in this, your (first?) attempt at friendship with someone who shares the same skin as you but not the same upper-middle class/beautiful text-book diversity of color west coast neighborhood/very little KKK-esque racism upbringing...and does not feel the need to ignore that to make you feel better. I hope you continue to talk about what it is you liked and didn't like about the life you've lived. I also hope our conversations become messier, less safe, less defensive...more time goes on. But even if it doesn't, there is love, because even without naked, vulnerable conversations, we are here, black women, learning midwifery together and the journey is definitely smoother than it was for all of those women before us who had to do it as the only one in the program. I asked them about what they wanted to do after school...what kind of midwife? practicing where? with whom? why? These are the things that go through my mind all day long, and I'm longing to talk to some other folks who are thinking about it (I think I need to visit my neighbor, N, it's been a while and she definitely talks about these things...I miss you!) I feel like I have to be conscious right now of what I'm learning, how I'm learning it, and WHY I'm learning it because if you aren't careful, you come into these kinds of programs believing in empowering women (and yourself) to trust birth, but walk out believing in something that only resembles empowerment...But some people aren't worried about it all. They'll deal with it when it gets here. That blows my mind...I tried's not for me. I have found that my goals need to be written to be realized...otherwise I end up any-ol-where with any-ol-body doing any-ol-thing feeling like I'm wasting precious time.

I also know this about myself: I can very easily crawl into a hole of self-reflection, solitude, and (as one of my best friends calls it) arrogant aloofness (she, I, we haven't decided is this is good or bad), that serves me perfectly well. But I'm trying to be a person who dialogs more often, who makes herself more available for conversation...more social, less introverted...I am a 15-year only child, trying to learn to play with others, despite the fact that I like to play by myself. But I'm starting to think that the street lights have come on, and therefore it is time to go home and read a book.

Maybe I'll come out and play tomorrow...maybe I won't.

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