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.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

I went to sleep for a long nap after that last post. Technically, we went to IHOP, brought home some Denver omelettes and carrot cake pancakes, and then fell asleep from a sugar/grease induced coma, but that's neither here nor there.

h sent me this quote:

The Love of Family

What do we make of the love that strangles, chokes, brands us? The last name that branded me is one I was/am so attached to that I did not give up when I married the man. "I've known you all of 6 months...and I'm supposed to give up my name? Hell naw." "Did I ask you to give up your name?" Oh. Right. He didn't give a damn. I was just on some tangent based on what I thought he'd want. But why was I so ready for that argument? And why was I so hellbent on keeping my name...a name that wasn't even my mother's? Right now I'm thinking, I would have liked to have had my mother's name...but even she didn't have it... I was not willing to give up who I was/am to be married...and my daddy had/has no sons...and I belong somewhere...and my name tells me/you where. If I am lost, near death, or have lost my mind completely and don't know who I can find my place in this place by that name... I am not alone in the world... But then again, it's only a name... it's a brand, like cattle - it shows where you belong... who you belong to. Me and the man played around with making up our own last name, and we came up with a pretty good one...but we chickened out (or, more truthfully, we knew we would never do it but it was fun to pretend) knowing we needed these names we were given to remember who we are, where we come from, where to return to. The man has both of his parents names, I only have my father's. But when we married I only added his mother's name to mine. He said hers was more important. I woke up thinking about that this morning. He didn't flinch when he decided. He doesn't even acknowledge his father's name as a part of his name unless someone specifically asks his full name. The man has one of those beautifully ghetto's five names long and was made up by his mother...a name that rolls off her tongue easily, but one of those names that is pronounced correctly by only a few on the first try. Certain people snicker and sneer at these names..."ghetto"..."too long for the baby to learn how to spell"..."they will know he is black just by the name and they will not give him the job"... I get it . But I will not conform on that point. My children will have first names that give me a certain feeling when I say them. We will not be compromising on the selection of their names based on society's ability to respect it. But what of their last names? We made this decision when we got married, so it's not really a matter of what their last name will be, but rather how I feel about what having that last name - his (maternal) last name - means to me. Will they feel bound by the name? Is the space where these people, his people, our people, collect going to be a good place for them to call home? Will they be free to be who they are, even with this name?

When I think of my last name (and my mother's name and my stepfather's- who is simply my dad/father -name) I think of love. As mushy as that sounds, it's true. But what of this love? Is it healthy? Does it make me feel whole? Is it forgiving. strengthening. coddling. encouraging. stifling. suffocating. wise? Love, for me, has always been one of those things that just is. I don't spend a lot of time trying to explain it, define it. Commitment I can explain and define. Trust I can explain and define. Loyalty I can explain and define. But love. Love just is. (Or always has been, I should say) It is simply something you feel, no matter how you came to feel it, once you do, it's there, with you. My limitation in talking about how love manifests in families is limited because I...I believe in it...with all my heart. Maybe family is what manifests as god on earth for me... maybe that doesn't make sense? This is more philosophical than I imagined it would be... For me, family is love. And when I ask myself what I want in this lifetime, it is love.

Because families are made of imperfect people, they can not be everything you need them to be. Because families are a collection of people, they are flawed, terribly flawed. There are people who hurt each other, kill each other, even. There are people who lie to themselves and everyone else. There are people who prey on the children, and people who do not or can not keep the children safe. There are people who are addicted to all kinds of things. There are people who feel isolated from the whole...because they are...because they are gay or dark or ugly or the child of you know who, who did you know what or they are too smart or too loud or they are a girl who doesn't want marriage or babies or boy who doesn't play sports or they don’t go to church or believe in god or wont limit the number of children they have or any other offense that somehow embarrasses the whole.
The irony lay in the fact that each member has committed some embarrassing sin, and therefore, by their own rules, no one should belong. But of course it doesn’t work that way. There are things that people are willing to look the other way for and things that are simply unacceptable. But what if being who you are is unacceptable? I worry about this for all of us. What if I don’t want to be one of the 'smart ones' anymore? What if I detest the very idea of "smart ones"? What if I never wanted to make it out of the hood, I just wanted to be able to live- fully, as I am- in the hood? Fireworks are going off in my head right now… I never wanted to leave the hood, the family…I just wanted to be me in the hood, in the family…if I felt like I could do that, there would be no reason to leave (and not come back) Hmm family who ever sees this will wonder…they will say, 'but you can be you here." But that is not true. Not because they won’t allow it, but because the environment is not conducive to it…my neighborhood, my community, my family is not conducive to it… the half-nerd I was and you know me to be, aint got shit on the real me. A real me who becomes clearer and clearer every day. A real me who might not have even been able to find herself if she hadn’t found this ivory tower – even with all its attempts to annihilate her – that encourages her to dig deeper, read more, question everything, learn, grow, learn, grow, ask, learn grow ask debate read read read readreadreadlearngrowreadlearngrowread. Naw yall, I couldn’t get that at home. I wanted it so badly. I still want it. I want to be able to do this on my own street. With my family. But the environment was not/is not ready. And yall knew it. Correction, yall know it. When I think of love, I think about how wonderful it was to be left alone to read…how much I appreciated the books, and the space to read them. I am so grateful that ‘nerd’ was used in a loving way in my community which allowed me to embrace the word despite how much venom was used in grade school when it was spoken. But right now I’m thinking of how much farther, faster, I could have gotten if people were able to love more fiercely. If families could love more openly. If they could love in new(yet old) ways. Where would I be if my reading were not only tolerated and encouraged, but also cultivated and guided? If there was a community of people who read with me? If people were able to/had chose to challenge me intellectually? If people could love me in not only the ways that they did, but the ways I needed?
What if instead of counting people’s children and how many men they went through to have those children, we simply celebrated and welcomed them into the world, into our family, our community? We do this in my family (welcome and love all the babies) but we do not spare our judgments about their mothers…can you love the child without loving the woman who brought the child into the world? Really? How much would change if instead we actually sat down as women and talked about what we need and why…if we could say openly, without shame, that we just want to have sex without the cover of “he loves me, I love him, we’re together” and yada yada yada? Would we have fewer babies because we could/would protect ourselves openly? And why do we feel the need to limit the number of babies in the first place? I know money is the first answer. But if we removed money from the equation? I think we’d find something else to replace that answer because we’ve internalized the need to control people’s reproductive freedom. What if we believed that there wasn’t only one god…and that he’s a man…and that anyone who calls god something else according whoever they know it to be in their part of the world was not going to hell to burn for eternity? What if we openly questioned what we’ve been taught and analyzed it critically? What if we just stayed home from church every Sunday like we know we want to? What if there was no guilt that came with that? Or in the very least what if we could wear whatever the hell we felt like to church and of instead sitting there listening to one man’s interpretation of the holy bible, we sat around the floor together with multiple “bibles” of multiple faiths written by diverse people which we were all free to share and interpret among each other? What if I came and sat and read a poem by Nikki Giovanni that speaks to me about faith in an odd, reassuring way? Couldn’t you still love me? Or can we only love those who close their eyes and sway to the beat as they sit on the pugh ignoring the words. I understand this kind of love…I do… I sway and bounce and snap to a buncha songs as I try to drown out the words, too. Thank god for Lupe Fiasco for trying to bring consciousness back to mainstream rap.
I am saying that I am here, and I am me, and that I am like you just as much as I am different from you. I am saying that I love the yous that I know yall to be. But more importantly I love the yous that you could be if only you allowed yourselves…if only we allowed ourselves…to be free, to be loved, to love unconditionally. This is hard. We, people, do not just automatically open our minds to the possibilities of living whole, authentic lives…first we have to see what it is about our lives that is not authentic…and that takes work. This one of the areas where yall never get to see the real me…the real me is always, always, always doing the work of attempting to build an authentic self, but it’s a mental dialog that I haven’t shared very much…because yall weren’t/aren’t ready. But love, when narrowed down to terms, is also truth. How can we love eachother if we don’t tell each other the truth? I am so ready to live more fully, more openly with those I love. How amazing would it be if through the process of sharing more and more of myself I see more and more of the you who lives inside your head and we both learn that we aren’t as weird as we think we are? Can somebody, anybody, from my community please step up.
If the love that says “I am the parent and the adult and you are the child, so therefore you can not, will not be smarter than me or talk back to me or question me or challenge me in any way” were not such a given…if it were not the only way we knew how to parent…knew how to give love…who and where would I be? I think families give the best that they’ve got…as long as it upholds what they have learned is important. That is to say that I think a mother will let her child grow only as far as it does not threaten her position as the mother…because when her position as the mother is challenged, so is her position as the daughter. And we have accepted these positions as love. Submitting to the hierarchy of ‘respect’ is supposed to represent love. To obey your parents is to love your parents. To honor your grandparents is to love your grandparents. To submit to your husband is to love your husband. To sacrifice yourself for your children is to love you children. But in my adult life I am hardly ever as liberated as I am when I replay the moment of my mother telling me she didn’t want children. Liberation is love. She probably doesn’t even remember it. I don’t even remember the details, all I know is she said it just as matter of factly as someone would tell you what time it is. My point is, real love is that which honors the self and tells the truth…and then offers that to the other person. I still believe that love, unconditional, unwavering love is the answer.
I wanna come home. I love yall. We share names, histories, children. I love not only the yous you are right now, but the yous you are in your heads. I don’t believe I need to build this community of people to love and be with…I think I need to encourage the family I already have to be that for each other. I believe we can learn together, if we wanted to.
The question is, and always has been, what if no one wants to join me?

Monday, June 23, 2008

Finishing the Thought...

I didn't clarify how the ways I was t taught to love my (future) husband were/are detrimental to my own existence... it's the expectation that he comes before me - even to me. You see, it's one thing for society to think that I should put him first (which is biblical by the way - thou shall have no other god before me) but it's another thing entirely for me to believe it...for me to actually tell myself, that him and his needs come before my own... I have a hard time accepting this for I certainly have a hard time accepting it for another grown person. It have your life rise and set on someone else. Yet another thing I tried to explain with my classmates at dinner. They could not understand why we had conditions on our marriage...they truly, unwaveringly, believe in death till we part. I said "even if he kills you?" I remember a friedn once challenged me that I could not live without the man after I said that I would be ok if we weren't together. I admit, it would be hard, and I wouldn't want to do it. I love me some the man. Yes, yes, yes I do. Mmh. BUT...if have to, I can. I hope I never have to see it, to test it, to deal with it, but like every other person who has suffered something, I can live through it. I have to believe this because my life as an individual hinges on it. It is not healthy to be so dependent on someone that you think you can't live without them...and I think that often times this is what women are expected to do/believe in traditional love relationships. Why can't I love him fiercely with the understanding that I am still a fierce chick who can handle her own? Why is the expectation that we become 'one' instead of a chopstick-tight twosome (or whatever other combination one desires)? Marriage would feel like slow death if we could only grow together...I have separate dreams that deserve to be stroked just as much as our common dreams. The man is so boring when he's not working on anything for himself...there's nothing to talk about. The point is that if we only love in the ways we were taught, we will only have the relationships we've seen...and we want something different.

Just Say What You Need to Say

darkdaughta posted this video for me:

It made me shed a few tears.

I turned off the comments for the last post (and these next ones) because I'm getting somewhere in my head (and on paper) and I want to stay with it...

I was thinking about how one of the things that most people say about me is that I say things bluntly...plainly. I appreciated that in myself. I'm trying to get back to that place (most people will say I never left - but I know differently) I've been talking in circles...beating around bushes...swallowing tongue blood. I've been whining about my anonymity. If I were me I would say "Put your big girl panties on and deal with it."

In the spirit of big girl panties...Lane Bryant sized 16 the purple-trimmed in pink-with REBEL in sparkly letters across the butt-that I wore yesterday, I continue to deal:

I left off talking about love. How to separate how we learned to love from ways of loving that would work better for us. I have some experience with this in the marriage arena. I believe that I was taught to love my (future) husband in a way that is detrimental to my own existence. It starts early...he is the head of the household, even if you're the one doing all the work. He is the provider and protector of the family...even if he doesn't have the skills to do it. He is the one who makes the final decision...even if it is your life that will be most affected. He is the one who manages the money...even if you make it all...and in the event that he doesn't do all of these things, he still gets the credit because he is the man. This is what it is to love a man...a patriarch...with christian ideals. In addition to this, there were rules that pertained to loving black can't be too hard on him, he's fragile, the world has beaten him have to be patient with him, his opportunities have been few, and it's a steep learning curve...he's just being a man, that's how they long as he isn't physically abusive, you can make it work (but of course when they are abusive, most times few people know it) you gotta make it work because we need eachother in this world. This is just what it is to love a black man in this country. There are all the messages...did you cook? Are his children clean? Remind him to send his mama a birthday card? You pack his belt? The cake for his office pot luck? Is he hungry? This is just what it is to be a take care of your husband. This is love.

These are the things I learned. Sometimes people told them to me directly, other times social norms of the community dictated that this is how it's done. Me and the man have bucked a lot of expectations. I try to figure out what works for me, then we try to figure out what works for us. If there has to be a 'head' of household, I am it. This was the topic of a conversation I had while on my conference with classmates. Their pity was palpable. Uncomfortable. Irritating. They both have male heads of household agreements. "What does he say about that?" they ask. So, still, it's about him...I can only lead if he lets me. I talked about how I feel like I have final say when it comes to our children. About how I don't think I leave that to anyone else. They said "but he's the one that will be with them during the day." I know that. But my stance remains. My approach to childrearing is more constructed, more considerate of raising whole, healthy, thinking people...the man is more of a free spirited, we'll-deal-with-it-as-it-comes kinda guy. I don't care to leave this aspect to chance...proactive childrearing is my preference. So yes, he'll be home, but I'll be present, too. And in the event that we disagree, I decide. That was a hard concept for them to grasp. And ultimately it ended our conversation because eventually his manhood came into question (as in "how does he feel about that" and how they're partners "wouldn't have that"...therefore meaning that the man is somehow less a man because he has no problem with it....ugh) The conversation was over before it started especially when I said that I thought my womanhood was just as important as his manhood, and why should what he wants/needs be more important than what I want/need. It all came down to 50/50. Yes I agree with 50/50 in theory, but in reality, when two people disagree, someone has to give. I simply mean that I refuse to be automatically designated as that person. To me, love is figuring out who does what and why. Love shouldn't be a stranglehold, but I know that at times it is. We try hard in our house to be two individuals who are committed to the growth of each person. We try to remind ourselves that this is our marriage, no one else's. That we get to decide how it should work. It takes a lot of digging to figure out how and why we came to automatically love the way we gotta dissect relationships that happened around gotta figure out your relationships to your parents...a bunch of stuff that we have only begun to do, but the point is we try not to take anything for granted when it comes to how it 'should' be.

I remember one day when I thought I was leaving the man. I was leaving because I felt like he wasn't upholding his end of the bargain...until I remembered that we hadn't struck a bargain about what the hell I was leaving for. He wasn't working. And I was pissed. We had an agreement in the beginning that said "Lovingpecola will work and have the career that she wants which will provide for the family, the man will stay home and take care of the four babies we want to have." That was the agreement - see already it's bucking tradition- but then the children didn't come, and we had to adjust the plan. Now, in my mind, without children in the house, you need to go to work. In his mind, he had already established that he despised the kind of work that his high school education allowed him lacking any real work experience (we were very young). So we spent a bunch of time arguing over the new plan...but the one thing remained the same...I was the one expected to make the bulk of the money and make sure we had what we needed...aka head of household. We fought and fought and fought. I got to the moment where I thought I was leaving. Then I realized that the only reason I was leaving was because I knew what everyone else thought about me being married to a man who didn't work outside the house. I, for the most part - as long as I made enough, didn't really care if he worked outside the house or not. In fact, I rather liked coming home to a clean house, my clothes washed and ready for the day, and someone who was happy and ready to play. So...why am I leaving again? Oh yeah, that's right, because they will look at me funny. Yeah, that's not good enough. Time for a new plan. The new plan is he works outside when he absolutely has to...including for the three years it takes me to get this degree. He's held up his end of the bargain like I never knew he could. This is what love looks like to me today...he hates it, and I know it, but he knows that I wanted, with all my heart and soul, to be a midwife, and he wants me to have he'll suck it up and take it for as long as he can - then I will be expected to uphold my end of the agreement - even when I'm under fire about the decision.

BUT. That means that he's in favor with everyone right now. Everyone will love him because he is "being a man." To be fair, my family loves the man regardless...I would kick him out when I was pissed and they would take his azz in and feed him. He's a member of our family now and nothing will change that (we have a lot of these kinds of people in our family...the ex(es) who never left...and their partners, too.) But it will be different when school is out and I'm done. When he goes back to being home, trying to find his passion. It will be different. I will love him the same. I will have to remind myself of the difference between what I want vs what they think I should want. This is what love looks like to me negotiation...commitment without choking...reminders that it's ok if what we want is different that what anyone else wants...

But what about familial love? Familial love is trickier than love between me and the man...familial love includes generational issues. Me and the man are the same age. But in my family there are definitely four, maybe even five, generations living at the present moment. This is the love that I was talking about that can hold you so tight that it suffocates you.

Moving the Subconcious Forward

In these weeks, maybe since the "Transition" post - and I've been thinking more about it since I read a post over at darkdaughta's place about making sure her child has sufficient time and opportunity to be a child - I'm trying to let myself be 28, and learn and live as though I've got time to grow and figure it out. This is hard for me - I am someone who wants to know everything now and I don't have much patience with myself. I think really, really hard about a problem for a minimal amount of time, and then I make a decision. I think that is how I usually operate. I don't think I sit with the feelings of whatever it is that is happening...I make a move to get out of that uncomfortable place as quickly as possible. It makes sense for things like abusive relationships and dangerous life threatening situations, but not so much for things like grief and anger. I don't know if this is making sense, but mainly I'm giving myself time to make a decision. Time to sit with everything I'm feeling. Time to think about reasons why I might feel the way I feel that are irrelevant of the very basic fear of other people's actions. I'm looking for the deeper reasons for why I'm struggling with voice in this moment when I don't recall too many times that I've struggled with it the past. Of course I want to blog openly. But I am not willing to open my blog again just to close it again when the next threat shows itself. I want a plan for how I’m going to push through that and keep blogging. I’m thinking of the repercussions and whether I’m willing to accept them if it happens. When I think of the possibility of not graduating next year based on some ego tripping person who may become pissed about what I have to say, I get ill. Ill because that means more of this, more of what I’ve already been through. It becomes a “push through now, or stay longer” frame of mind. The myth rests in the idea that this is the worst that can happen – 2009 comes and goes and I’m still here. The truth is that the worst that can happen is that I manage to graduate from this place with a hole in my head and chest where my brain and heart used to be. Bottomless holes for eyes where my soul should be. I am typing this and so I am hearing this in my head…but I do not believe it in my heart…I do not believe that the loss of myself is the worse that can happen…how is that? How did I get to a place where I subconsciously believe (and now that I pulled it out of the deep regresses, consciously) that who I am is not as important as the degree, read: lifestyle, read: money that I’m seeking? This reminds me of that day in physical assessment where I realized I would trade my body for this degree/lifestyle/money. Why is who I am not as important as who my family thinks I am? What kind of warped sense of duty allows for self growth only if it doesn’t interrupt the persona that was created in the span of 18 short years. Does that mean that person I was raised to be, came to be, in a family who clearly loves me is the only person I’m allowed to be from now on? What? Seriously? I cannot believe in myself, my worth, if that’s the case. Who’s asking this of me? And why? All this time I thought the fear was ‘them’ not letting me graduate…maybe that is not the fear.

Maybe the fear is that if I do not graduate from this place at this time, the person who they think I am/thought I was will be replaced by someone else, someone who they begin to isolate... I don’t think that the me who puts her 100,000 education on the line to continue to have a voice- that they ironically made some space for her to have- will be someone they can understand or respect…I think it’s too far out there…I don’t think they understand the knee on neck feeling… I feel like I’m living a dream for 250 people right now. Seriously. It’s really not the strangers who teach me and make up the institution…I don’t give a rats ass about these people here not being able to recognize my talent, my dedication, my potential to contribute to something greater…this would not be the first time in the life of dark skinned, nappy headed black girl…there are other schools…But I do care about what that means for me as a first generation college graduate who has a family full of little people watching…I care about the people who love me and say “my daughter/cousin/sister/neighbor goes to…” and somehow feels like this means that they can too. I care about the dreams that the man gave up, hopefully only temporarily, to pay for this dream of mine and I don’t want to waste the sacrifice of his own life goals. My shoulders feel heavy. But these…gladly accepted obligations…do not sentence me to silence… I am reminded of Audre Lorde. I feel like I am going 10 steps backwards. I thought I had already figured out this silences thing. I know my family loves me. But what do we make of love that strangles or stifles? How can we separate the ways we learned to love…brooding/close to chest for fear of theft, harm or death – ingrained sense of duty to those who raised you – do not falter under the strain because you are strong and there is so much more to come/toughen you up for the world love…from the ways that may be more kind/effective…loving.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Back in February I posted the following two posts...the comments basically fell along the lines of "we don't should read the history of the program, etc..."

What Makes the NHSC Application Culturally Biased?

This was the question posed by an anonymous poster in the comments section of the related post. I will try to explain it here...

So. The point of the NHSC is to get med/pa/cnm/fnp students to work in economically depressed areas (which they call Health Professional Shortage Areas or HPSAs) which are in critical need of providers. The vast majority of professional students are middle to upper class non-minorities that do not come from these areas. Keeping that in mind, let's break down a question that is on this year's application/personality assessment:

Choose A or B:

A. "I would like to work in a community where the people and activities are different than those I grew up with."

B. "I would like to work in a community where the people and activities are the same as those I grew up with."

When advised about how to fill out this application (by people who were successfully awarded the scholarship) I was told "the answers they want to hear are obvious." I believe the answers are obvious to the majority of people filling out this questionnaire because the majority of people filling it out (students in professional schools) are NOT from HPSAs and they are supposed to be answering questions in a way that indicates that they are committed to working in these HPSAs...and therefore the "obvious" answer is "A" because if you want to work in the kind of community you (being the med student who's filling it out) grew up in, chances are that community doesn't qualify as an HPSA. Get it?

So, what happens if you happen to be one of the very, very few people who actually grew up in an HPSA? Technically, you should be circling "B" because the area you want to serve is actually the same kind of area you grew up in...but I don't think scantron-style reading of these bubble assessments will be taking that into consideration, which makes me wonder if someone in this situation shouldn't be answering as the typical professional school student, or themselves...and *this* is why I feel the assessment is culturally biased.

But anyway, I will tell you that I have already resolved all of this in my mind and am no longer really thinking about it. I am just going to fill out the form truthfully, and let the universe handle the rest.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

NHSC is Not Doing Interviews for 2007

The National Health Service Corps is not conducting interviews for its 2007-2008 scholarship just never ends with this program.

Let me start from the beginning. When I was applying to grad school, I found out that there really isn't any good financial aid for programs like mine (direct-entry/grad-entry programs in nursing, also called bridge programs) nor for graduate professional school in general. Everyone speaks of one or two programs when considering aid: the National Health Service Corp Scholarship & Loan Repayment Program, and the Scholarships for Disadvantaged Students Program. (The Nursing Scholarship Program is mostly for undergrads)

NHSC does not accept students in bridge programs, so we apply after the first year when, technically, we are no longer in a bridge program. You can see a snipet of the history of NHSC here, pay specific attention to the "NHSC milestones." Over the years, the program has been reducing its scholarship offerings in favor of the loan repayment program, which costs them less to provide, and in the '80's there was a severe decline in aid because the country expected a physician surplus. At this point, the program is almost all loan repayment, and I predict that in the next few years the scholarship will no longer be offered. I believe this will directly impact the number of minority physicians and APRNs because I have read articles stating that at times the number of minority students in this program exceeds 50% of the total of participants. (I will try to find a public link to one of these articles or at least tell you the name of it so you can look it up!)

The problem this year is that they all of a sudden decided not to conduct interviews for this program! Instead, they will select awardees based solely on their application that has no essay, no place to indicate involvement in the community or any other volunteer experiences, no way to indicate who you are! How do you select people like this? The application is basically a personality assessment...and it happens to be culturally biased. I think the interviews were crucial to the selection process, and that in the absence of these interviews the demographics of their awardees will change significantly...that is unless they use the demographic section of the application to select a specific percentage of minority and non-minority that still legal?

Anyway, all of this is just to say my number one plan for funding the next two years of school looks like it just fell through. I'm still applying, but interviews are a strength of mine, and with only the application it doesn't look good. The positive is that I can just stay and go straight to the doctoral program (maybe part time, I'm tired of school).

Oh! And the problem with the Schlarships for Disadvantaged Students Program is that none of the schools I applied to participate. You must apply through the financial aid office of your school. When I asked about this, they said that they don't meet the requirements for the program - mainly, they don't have enough minority students enrolled to qualify for the program, which seems backwards to me...

*************************************NEWS ALERT

The have changed the application yet again to include 5 mandatory essay questions...questions they used to ask in the interviews.

I ain' crazy...I bet that last batch of acceptances were not as diverse as the

Infertility in the News, cont. from comments

Navelgazing I'm not even sure we disagree (yet). I can understand why *some* people want to adopt. I can understand bonds to children that are not biological...I have plenty of those. Like I said, I understand the pregnancy vs parenting question - just not the judgement...and those first few comments are full of judgement. Just because you found adoption/step parenting to be wonderful, that doesn't mean that it's good for everyone...and I really, really disagree that being infertile some how means that you should automatically consider adoption...or take on the abandoned children of the world. Some people DO understand the need for biological connection and the process of being pregnant, giving birth, AND parenting...and want that, or they will choose to live a childfree or childless life. That's *their* choice.

I was raised by a stepfather in conjunction with my bio father and I most certainly called him on father's day, in fact I called before my bio father, not on purpose, just whoever I dialed first. And I have had a hand in raising a child or two that I love more than I could ever imagine.

But that's not the point...the point I was making is that adoption is not the cure for infertility.

Adoption does not suddenly cure the grief.

Adoption is not for everyone, and there should be NO PUSH WHATSOEVER for infertile couples to adopt anymore than there is for fertile couples to do so.

I believe the word I used was SAD. It does make me sad that this is hard for people to understand. I also said we are lacking in compassion, and I meant it. These posts are about having compassion and understanding for those who are in the throes of infertility, and so was the article...NOT about how wonderful adoption is. That is another story, and I'm sure you can find plenty, plenty of them on the WWW. But there is very little public compassion for people, especially women, who can not have children - despite the fact that this country has always conflated womanhood and motherhood.

I think adoption can be/is wonderful.

But I think infertility is a separate experience and should be acknowledged/respected/compassionately handled as such.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

It's like Walking...

You just keep putting one foot in front of the word after the other.

Yeah, that was my weak ass epiphany.

I was gonna write something over at darkdaughta's about how I came to love men. We've been...scratch that... I've been avoiding this conversation over at her place for months. Well, not exactly this one, but just conversation about compulsory heterosexualism and christianity and monogamy in general. But now I'm going to start it over here, and then post it in the comments over there somewhere (to make sure I'm not running from whoever just found me over there...and because there is no longer a link back to my place from over there)

Why now? I don't know. I think about my life, all of it, all the time. But I never write about sexuality, christianity, or love either, really. I also hardly write about the man. I think most of this is because this is not what my blog is about. I do occasionally get personal here, but really I write about school-getting here, staying here, and eventually leaving from here. I write about myself as it relates to school.

But school's out.

So. When I was younger, I didn't have a lot of friends - not because I wasn't cool...but because my family is huge. I mean really huge. There are so many cousins that we could hold an official sports game, crowds included, without any help from anyone else. I had no need for too many extra people to play with, I had too many as it was. This lack of need for too many outside friends is still kinda true to this day...that is, if I actually lived near my family I would not need very many other people in my life. But as I got older and started going to school, maybe the 6th grade, I began to have a decent number of friends who I kept up with. They were all girls. The friends I had that were boys were just neighborhood boys that I saw around. As soon as I started making friends I realized that I was not your typical little girl. I didn't care enough about boys. I didn't care enough about make up. I didn't care enough about the 'cute' clothes. I cared..I wanted to wear make up, I wanted to wear clothes that I thought were cute, but not for the same reasons and not the same kinds that my friends were dying to wear...the kinds that made the boys turn and look. I liked to paint and draw and color, and make up to me looked like a lot of fun, and I loved doing my hair in so many creative ways. Soon enough, junior high (7th and 8th grade) it was made very clear to me by girls, that I was not good friend material. I can only listen to you talk about boys for so long...that's when they kind of girls I hung out with changed. I opted for the rougher, tom-boy girls. Girls who didn't spend all day talking about boys. And we had a lot of fun times, a lot of rage was expressed, and I learned to spit, and fight, and curse "like a boy." But as it turns out, those same girls, by high school (9th grade) had crossed over to the other side! I had not. It was so sad. I missed them. I missed their boldness, now turned coy. Now batting eyes at boys. Now squeezing into the tight jeans, on a diet...always on a damn diet. They ditched me. Called me names like butch and gay and dike. (It didn't help that I dressed like a boy a lot) I never lashed out against those terms, believing that "being defensive just makes you guilty." Yep, back then being gay was something you were 'accused' of (and still is, I realize) So what's a girl to do? I said screw them, and found girlfriends who weren't as caught up in the hormone fest. Girls who were shunned because they were too smart, or too fat, or too black, or whatever else is 'bad' in teenage girl terms....that and...boys. I found boys. Boys who I wasn't interested in for the same reasons as other girls were interested in them, but because they seemed to be so laid back. (I would later learn that black boys learn how to look this to always seem as though they have no feelings, no emotions, when standing in front of others) But back then all that mattered was that I didn't have to have on make up and I didn't have to be anybody else but me (I thought then) and I could hang with them, no strings attached. They let me hang out, they treated me as equal (as far as I knew what equal was back then...which doesn't look like equal to me right now) and they didn't call me names. I still had a few girlfriends that were very cool girls, and for the most part we keep in touch, but I didn't hang out with them as much as I did those boys.

Eventually things got even crazier with girls because they couldn't understand why I got to hang out with the boys when that's all they ever wanted to do. So then of course I became even gayer to them. Still, no this time I hated "females" anyway - except those who had managed to stay true. I was an easy person to make fun of - I was (am) fat, dark, and had short hair - all cardinal sins in girl world in the 90's. I didn't have my first boyfriend until I was 18 years old. This was on purpose. I had been propositioned many times, but I was determined not to have sex until I was 18 because so many of my cousins and the girls around the way had had babies too early. Yep I figured when I got a boyfriend I'd be screwing, therefore, there was no reason to have one until I was ready to give up the panties. My first boyfriend was 28 years old. (Yeah mama, 28 - don't have a heart attack) I know what that looks like, but hey, I was 18, and had very little patience for boys my own age because by this time I knew what they were like - I mean I had spent the last four years in their intimate space. Plus, I had been working A LOT since the day I became old enough to work, had my own stuff and was moving into my own place as soon I walked across the high school graduation stage. We had a good time, me and him.

So what does all of this have to do with heterosexuality? Girls have turned me OFF for most of my life. In the beginning they were so cool...I remember the slumber parties and I had a good start with attending Girls Inc most of my life. But then it changed with the hormones...they became snottier, and meaner, and boy crazed, and down right hateful. It wasn't until I saw all of that in myself...could appreciate it in myself...that I stopped hating them in general...I am just now getting to place where I crave interaction with women. I wish i had more/closer girlfriends.

More layers to come...


...of how I can continue to write.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Infertility in the News

This article was recently printed in The New York Times:

Facing Life Without Children When It Isn't by Choice

And then the comments came...

I think it must be a natural response to ask an infertile couple if they will adopt. I'm not sure why people can't understand that it's not the same. I understand the "do you want to raise children?" or "do you want to be pregnant?" questions, but I do not understand the judgment that comes after the answer. I would raise the children of people I know intimately, but I would not adopt a random child. If something happened and a child was placed in my arms, I would not leave it on the side of the road, but I will not be going out to look for such a child. And my first instinct would not be to keep the baby placed in my arms...straight to the police station we would go.

There's a lot I could say. But you know what, I don't feel like it. I'm sad that people dont/can't get it. I'm frustrated that our compassion is virtually non-existent in this country.

I really love comment #50.

I'm glad people point out that the article is lacking people of color and men.

Monday, June 9, 2008

What Has Happened

So much has happened. So much happened before I abruptly went private for the second time in my blog life. I contemplated seeing if I could sum it up in one sentence...because, really, does it matter what happened? Or is what is happening now, and what will happen in the future matter more?

I freaked completely out. But before this, so much other stuff happened, including this moment in some other universe when a professor called me out about my blog in front of my entire midwifery cohort. There it was, a public outing, real, unquestionable, unchangeable loss of anonymity. I built walls around my 'home' immediately. Self preservation instinct maybe. Maybe not. Nonetheless, I closed up shop here very quickly, and have been out of business ever since.

It's all a jumbled mess in my head, and all I ever get out is "they're crazy." But it's more than that. This experience has changed me, it continues to change me, even while I resist some of the things I find most damaging. Resisting is hard. Maybe too hard. I believe in giving in to some extent, because I think you have to give in order to grow, in order to change into who you want to be or who you could be if who you think you want to be could move out of the way. But then there are other things that I am not at all interested in changing, things that matter to me no matter what kind of system or culture I currently find myself in. Those are the things I will fight for, resist for, stand for all the time, every time.

Or will I?

I lost half the hair on my head over the past semester. I will have to cut it off and start over.

Stepping Away from the Ledge

Today I came across the blogs of several classmates. They have come into my life secondary to all the pings they've accumulated between each other as Down's Fellows and through their facebook promoting. They are not at all concerned with anonymity nor do they fear backlash for the words they choose to put to the page. Pictures abound.

The first thing that came to my mind when I started reading was freedom. That's what they have. So much space to write, to think, to feel. Sadness wells up inside my chest.

I miss my blog. I miss what my blog stood for. I miss that feeling of "if nothing else, I am helping the next." I miss having a place to come to where I can dump my thoughts and see them again, where I can claim space without explanation. I am only now realizing the full magnitude of what my own blog means to me. It was like an external brain. Sometimes I wrote in altered consciousness and only realized it when I went back and read something that I didn't remember writing or that I didn't realize I had such strong feelings about until I read my words on the page. I felt empowered by reading my own words. This was a home away from home. I have lost my home.

I had a revelation the other day...I stopped writing here because it no longer felt safe. My home no longer felt safe. But even after making it so private that I have only 3 readers, I still don't write because now my purpose for writing eludes me. It is not as though I need an audience to write...but remember the saying "if a tree falls in the forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?" It's like speaking with can have important stuff to say, but if no one hears it, what did you really say?

To be fair, I understand that it probably won't always be like this. But in the same token...I will never live what I'm living in these present moments again either...they have to be captured as they are, as they happen, before time erodes the emotion behind the words.

When it comes to this blog, I don't know what I'm doing...where I'm going...anymore. It was supposed to be an act of self preservation to privatize, but it doesn't feel like preservation, it feels like death.

I'm trying to back away from the ledge that leads to the abyss that is my life after silencing my voice in this place, but I don't know how...