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.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Drawing Parallels

I've been thinking about why it's so hard for other people to understand the centralness of race in my life. I was up last night thinking about parallels. Immediately fat came to mind, because fat is also something that I think about daily. It's like this. When you're fat, you think of the world amusement park takes on a different meaning...will you fit in the ride? Will your seatbelt on the airplane fit? Will you weigh more the recommended maximum for a particular ride? Just how wet will I get if I ride the white water raft ride? Are my clothes going to be completely soaked and therefore clinging to long before I'm dry again? What about the restraunt there going to be enough space between the bench and the table, or are my breasts going to be in my plate? Sure, I want to go shopping, but going to the mall really isn't as fun if you can only fit the clothes in Lane Bryant or Torrid or Ashley Stewart or Avenue...and of course they NEVER EVER put all of these stores in one mall, or even two of yeah, I'll come but I'm thinking about how long I can stand to watch you try on clothes as I spend all my time in accessories or shoes. And when I'm trying on the shoes I'm wondering if the heel can support my weight and not make me break my ankle. And when we do go to "my" store, I'm paying extra attention to patterns and colors, less I walk out of the store with something that makes me look pregnant (cause for some reason they love, love, love to put bows, and flowers and back ties on "plus size" clothes.) And when I'm on my 5th "lifestyle change" of the year, every time I go out to eat I gotta make sure they have something suitable for whatever the rules of such life style change are. Then every commercial is some skinny ass woman telling me how she lost her hips or breasts or gut or bowels by using the next big thing, and I should call to get some for myself. I could go on and on and on, the point is I think fat people think about these things so often that they might not even realize just how much they think about them. It's a part of their identity.

Here's another: when a woman is going through infertility, all she ever thinks about is infertility. every commercial is a pregnancy test, a pampers commercial, thermometers, a baby story, a fake family selling a car, a cleaning company, grape juice. She reads books about it, she talks about it, cries about it, writes about it. Wants to kind somebody else, anybody else, who's going through it so she doesn't bother those who don't understand with her stress about it. She can pretend that it only has a small impact on her life, but the relaity is that it's probably her whole life in that moment. It affects her interactions with other women, other people. It places her in the realm of "other." It's a part of her identity.

There are many facets of identity that, I think, manifest this way. Sure you're a person with a complex personality, but there are always salient aspects of identity. Women whose conversations/lives center around their children. Or their professions. Whose identities are shaped by motherhood...or midwifery. At our best we attempt to address all of the parts of ourselves...doing the work to identify on multiple layered I am not only someone's partner, a midwife, a mother...I am also a writer, a dancer, a knitter, a woman, transgender, gay, queer, lesbian, none of these, all of these. Bit even when I am tuning it to all that/who I am, there are some things with which I more strongly identify...when I'm

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