Lauren,
No problem, I enjoy speaking with you. For me is very personal.  As I have said before, I don’t do it for prestige, a title or a job. I look at my life and ask the question, why? Then when I see events transpire in this country and around the world I feel obligated to at least tell anyone who is listening “I know why that is happening”.   Just like Joy Degruy’s lecture. I was motivated more when I heard her speak the words I have researched and believe to be true.  When we came to the same conclusion I was motivated to stay the course.  Just like going somewhere and you’re not sure if you are on the right road. When you see signs and landmarks to tell you that you are going the right way, you get energized.
…….But that’s just me.   
A few months ago, a former doctoral student shared his insights with me on why he continued his academic journey. For me, he was/is a guiding light for me in my path to uncovering new knowledge. In my undergraduate and graduate studies, we would find ourselves in the same library at the same location. Over the span of four to five years, we would discuss the nature of education and schooling. We would ask thought-provoking questions about curriculum, inclusion, pedagogies, social inequities and etc. Imagine, we would find ourselves spending hours on these vast topics. Nonetheless, we persevered. We kept with it.
So, why is this important?
Well, I didn’t know too many people that had similar views as me. I saw myself as an outsider in many classes. I thought I was a bit too emotionally-charged. However, I soon realized that my emotions weren’t unwarranted. I was every bit right about these feelings. I had the right to feel the way I did. In meeting a like-minded individual in a doctoral program, I realized that I had something to share with others. In meeting this Black man in his fifties with a heart filled with passion, I became inspired. I knew that I wanted to go beyond my own limitations. I wanted to embark on this journey. Along the way, he would drop some gems on me about the bureaucratic nature of doctoral programs. However, he told me to go for it. I needed to get the credentials to get heard as a Black woman.
But it wasn’t until I spent two years at a public-school with two women that I knew that I wanted to stay in education. In working and talking with these two colleagues of mine, I understood the necessity of diving deep into your passions. Daily, we would sit with one another and talk about our personal and professional pursuits. We raged against traditional role(s) for women and decided that we wanted to take the ‘road less traveled’. We enjoyed education and kids. Yes, but we wanted to expand our own knowledge-base. We wanted to plant ourselves in an environment that was right for our own needs.
So, what happened?
We all resigned and pursued our dreams. Now, it took some time for us to do that. We didn’t just up and leave in one day. No. However, we were stern on filling ourselves up with what we needed. Look, we talked about this daily. We had daily talks about our lives. It was really therapeutic. It was therapeutic because we had the chance to work through the qualms that we were struggling with internally. We all had different pursuits, but all were equally important.
In reflecting on my personal journey for ultimate happiness, it has been ridiculous. I can’t tell you how many nights I have stayed awake. I can’t tell you how many conversations I have had. Yes, it’s been a struggle. Nevertheless, it is definitely a part of the process. Sometimes, we have to argue with ourselves. Sometimes, we have to pick up and go. Sometimes, we have to go against the grain. Yes to all of this. There’s no magic formula. None. You can’t get a book and find it. You have to trust yourself. It is a process that requires trust. Trust and faith in your dreams.
So, what is my advice?
You will go through some hard times. You will find yourself questioning everything. However, if you stand in your ultimate truth, you will be fine. Also, you will find people along the way that will offer you a hand or a few good words of advice. Take it. It will be a lonely journey, but it will be fruitful. Do not become discouraged. Do not get off the path. If you do, get back on and keep walking.
Going after your ultimate-truth is definitely worth it.
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