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Grassroots activist, feminist, sociologist, poop talk pro, future foster mom, travel whore, thrift store junky, music and food consumer.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Chapter 2015 Review

Well, here I am. I made it through 2015. A friend said, and I quote, "...time for a little R&R while I reflect on the century that just happened in the last year/semester." That sums up my year perfectly. I cannot count the amount of times I wanted to quit adulthood this year. The 1st half of my year seems like a lifetime ago. The last 6 months was a continuous unfolding of crises. They say God won't give you anything you can't handle. Well, God, might you go test another of your subjects and let me alone for a while? *I'll keep y'all posted on whether that prayer gets answered* I want to thank the forces of meditation and solid friends for getting me through this year. I am grateful for the opportunity to blog about this past year. There's nothing like making it through rough turbulence and living to tell about it! 

South Beach, Miami
Denver - Red Rock Amphitheater
Me and my traveling self: I worked so many jobs this year I was able to reward myself with travel and shopping. my two favorite things! I went to Southeast Florida -Hollywood, Ft. Lauderdale, Miami - TWICE - (started here and ended here), Washington, DCNew York City, Kansas City, Denver, Cancun, and Portland, OR (I love this place!), and of course STL and IL (but they don't really count). I traveled to many of these places for the 1st time. I reluctantly went to NYC and absolutely loved it. I thought it was going to be dirty and smelly, rodents everywhere, and an abundance of rude ass people. It turned out to be a fabulous place. I even traveled around the city by myself. Of course I got lost trying to find my way to my friend's house, but it was just a matter of getting off that train and going to the other side so I could head in the right direction. Not bad at all for a 1st timer! My friend and her boyfriend were great hosts. I ate really well in NYC. Yes, I did. The highlight would be...I can't pick one. I did a lot!! Then I came back home for one day before heading to KC to hang out for the 1st time. I ate some good food there too. I had the best time at Karaoke, found a piano jazz bar to chill at by myself, and supported some friends who were presenting at the conference we were attending. The best time was dancing one of the nights away at some club we found. I went to Denver for the first time for my family reunion and enjoyed the hell out of my family. I have such interesting people in my family. I was there during Juneteenth, so me and my nephew went to their celebration which was quite nice. Of course it felt like 100 degrees but I enjoyed myself out there. Watching my family show off their talents was my highlight of that trip. The view from my balcony of the mountains was spectacular, but honestly I had a lot of great balcony views this year. After the most stressful summer of my life, I went to Cancun for the first time in August. Guess who still has tan lines? My back peeled for 2 weeks! I have determined they have a different sun god. I did so much in Cancun...BEST TRIP EVER!!!!!! Checked out Portland for the first time in the fall, and despite normal weather patterns for that time of year, it didn't rain the entire time I was there. Actually, I experienced the most incredible fall weather the entire time. It was beautiful, clean, and weird. I ended my year like I started it, in Southeast Florida, exploring all there is to explore. This year was my best and favorite year yet for traveling. I had never been to most of the places I went, so there were many first. Good times! 
Lesson: Trips keep me grounded. Oddly enough

Downtown Portlandia
Me and my academic self: I've been prepping for comps all year. Its so funny but I'm so serious. Thinking about comps is hard work! My comps have been pushed back into 2016, but it was necessary. I changed research topics, thought I could read 53 books in 15 weeks, and worked a number of jobs like I did not have comprehensive exams to take. I'm still on schedule so no big deal, but if they get pushed back again, I'm quitting school. I've been quitting school everyday of every semester for the last 4.5 years, by the way. I submitted my first paper for publishing. That was exciting. Now, if they accept it without revisions...I know that never happens, but if it does happen...I'll surely be too full of myself to finish my dissertation. I have another paper to finish and submit, but I'll tend to that after I comp. Comps over everything! That's where I'm at now. Isn't it catchy? Set it to some trap music and...dab. I taught 4 classes this year and all of them made me question my life choices. I taught a course at an HBCU which was...very interesting to say the least. I also attended a few conferences. I served on a panel for one, presented a paper at another conference (which is why I was in Portland), and supported friends at the other one. I'm so excited to be done with coursework. The journey isn't over, but I can see a finish line and its my favorite color; green.
Lesson: Managing other peoples emotions is hard work for an empathetic person such as myself. Empathy is indeed a double-edged sword. I absorb people's energies like light from the sun. This aspect of my person makes being an instructor especially demanding. I care way too much about my students! Or do I? It's hard to tell somedays. 

Paint Balling
E-day Party
Me and my intimate self: I'm ending this year with a new found appreciation for some folks I either did not know prior to this year or have gotten closer to this year. So many kindred spirits blessed my existence this year! I will not be name dropping, but y'all know who you are. Much love to each and every last one of you! Me and my bestie are forever one, we shall never part! We refer to each other as parallel life sisters. You don't need to know why. All you need to know is "we tight like glue!" Now about significant other(s)? A lady never blogs... My sister gave birth to my most recent niece who happens to be the happiest baby I've ever encountered. My nephew turned 10 and we went paint balling for his birthday. It was awesome. If you've never been and you're wondering if the paint balls hurt, YES. I had on a few layers and a cushioned body suit, and it still hurt. I had a 90s themed birthday party with a good friend. Nearly all of the guests participated so it was great. I spent most of the time singing 90s R&B and reminiscing about the 90s. En Vogue, Toni Braxton, Mariah Carey, TLC, Boyz II Men...and the list goes on. The 90s was the best decade for R&B! Thanks to all of my family and friends who made me feel especially special this year. From the party, to the brunch, to the gifts - THANK YOU!
Lesson: I don't even like people. Shame on y'all for making me like you! 

Grad Rights Rally
Me and my activist self: Well, the 1st 6 months of my year was spent on my way out of activism. I was not feeling it at all. I have never been so disenchanted with progressive movement. The deeper I dove into social movement and feminist literature, the more distanced I felt from my activist circle. Intersectionality, solidarity, feminism where art thou? I did not see any opportunities to develop praxis so I dove into my research and focused on reading and writing. March rolled around and I had the bright idea of starting a women's project. If there's one thing I'm good at, its adding things to an already full plate. After a series of events, I let that go at the end of July. June I decided to serve as co-chair of a local grassroots organization, which did not last long due to unforeseen circumstances. At the beginning of 2015, I pledged to no longer engage in anything that did not help me get closer to the all-inclusive movement we need to meaningfully reduce inequalities, and this role did not make sense for me so I stepped down and awaaaaay. I also worked 2 jobs over the summer which turned into 3 when I was minding my own business in Cancun and learned I would be returning home without insurance. Good thing I bought travel insurance! Thanks Ex-Chancellor Loftin - no need to take a bow - *cues sandman* So my activism took a hit. I said,  "Self...," My self said "Huh?" I said, "Self, let's reduce to 2 jobs and seriously limit your activism until after you complete your comps." My self agreed, but guess who kept attending student org meetings and direct actions...? So I never really stepped away, but I did get to stand alongside some incredibly amazing (forever young) people who really stepped it up this year. 

Planned Parenthood Vigil
Indigenous People's Day Rally
The last year has been quite the year for direct action at our campus. It seems like there was always a rally to attend. It was great to see student leaders supporting each other's causes (the one's who did), not that every cause isn't everybody's cause. Graduate employee rights, women's access to healthcare. indigenous people's rights, and racism are just a few of the causes highlighted by protests this year. 

Lesson: ❤️ History, research, solidarity: value them more than you value the spotlight. ❤️ 

2016 Projections: At the end of every year, I imagine carrying my life lessons with me into the new year, but that's how I think about life in general. I live and I learn. Once I know, I have to act like I know. So there will be no resolutions, just me living my life. I know there will be much to smile and laugh about, and much to frown and cry about, but I'll overcome the trials and enjoy the mundane. Here's to another evolution around the sun!