All posts filed under: Reflect

Some random musings & some penetrative analysis

Letting Go of “I’ll Show You!”

Being an overachiever often means an inescapable feeling of inadequacy. Couple that with being a Black woman in the US, and you’ve got a recipe for pathologically setting unrealistically high expectations followed by harsh self-criticism when you inevitably don’t meet those expectations. As a kid, being an overachiever usually meant reaching a predetermined goal that everyone insists is the most important thing to focus on: get a high GPA, get a grade level ahead in certain subjects, get high scores on the state test, get involved in extracurricular activities and become the leader of at least one of them…I could go on. And the way to achieve those goals were straightforward: you read this book, memorize those facts, learn that equation, conjugate that verb, study for that test, etc. etc. There was no mystery, one step followed the next. There was pretty much only one path forward. Is this a gross oversimplification? Sure, but for me, this was as uncomplicated as it got. Do ABC and get XYZ. But, the feelings of inadequacy always came, because …

Remember Me?

Today a professor I’ve taken three graduate school courses with, who was my advisor for a year, and whose research I worked on for a bit, didn’t see me as I waved at him from down the hall, as I made not one but two verbal attempts to say ‘hello’ and congratulate him on his upcoming retirement, well within his visual range and earshot. The classmate I was walking with, who witnessed the snub/oversight/whatever, remarked at how fucked up that was. Two of the three classes I took with him had no more than ten people in them. I was the only black girl in all three. I even won an in-class competition on who could clean a data set the best (nerdy, I know); I was the dark horse in the class, literally and figuratively. I guess I should’ve known better. That a professor who discouraged me from even registering for the first class I took with him on the presumption of my lack of ability to do advanced data analysis, could forget me just as quickly as he …

Gritaram-Me Negra! [They Shouted, Black Girl!]

**Tinha sete anos apenas, [I was only seven years old] apenas sete anos, [only seven years old] Que sete anos! [what seven years?!] Não chegava nem a cinco! [I wasn’t even five!] De repente umas vozes na rua [when suddenly some voices in the street] me gritaram Negra! [shouted, “black girl!”] Negra! Negra! Negra! Negra! Negra! Negra! Negra! [Black! Black!…] “Por acaso sou negra?” – me disse (SIM!) [“Am I really black?” — I said, (YES!)] “Que coisa é ser negra?” (NEGRA!) [“What’s it mean to be black?” (BLACK!)] E eu não sabia a triste verdade que aquilo escondia. (NEGRA!) [And I didn’t know the sad truth that it hid (BLACK!).] E me senti negra, (NEGRA!) [And I felt black, (BLACK!)] Como eles diziam (NEGRA!) [Like they said (BLACK!)] E retrocedi (NEGRA!) [And I retreated (BLACK!)] Como eles queriam (NEGRA!) [Like they wanted (BLACK!)] E odiei meus cabelos e meus lábios grossos [And I hated my hair and my thick lips] e olhei vergonha da minha pele torrado [and I was ashamed of my toasted skin] E retrocedi (NEGRA!) [I retreated …

Disengaged but Reconnecting

I got an email today from Tumblr saying Happy 5th Birthday. It’s been five years since I started that blog–since I started blogging period. Which means it’s also been five years since I began a very transformative study abroad experience in Brazil, which was the very reason I began blogging so as to keep my family in touch with what I was doing and where I was–before I had smart phones and Whatsapp and Viber. So I decided to revisit my long abandoned Tumblr to see what it was I was going on about between Sep 2009 and Dec 2011. First of all, I had over 1000 posts! (I only have like 100 something on here) When I started on tumblr, it had fairly low usage, so people were really just writing or posting a personal image here and there. By the time I stopped using it (and part of the reason I stopped using it) it had turned into the twitter of blogging–>constant reposting of other people’s posts, most of which were just pretty pictures, quotes, gifs, or ridiculous youtube videos. Mind you, …