What does this image make you think of?
For me, right now, it feels very emblematic. And yes, I do consider myself epic enough to deserve an emblem. Yeah, I’m in the part of the storyline right before Wonder Woman breaks through the bonds. Like, the moment where she’s thinking to herself, “Now, how did I let this happen?”
I’ve got 8 weeks to wrap up my Master’s Degree. I’m on track to graduate, everything’s fine. Except well it’s kinda not. I’ve gotten all twisted up in bullshit I don’t believe in and that’s rough to accept. I’m fighting between my voice and the voice of an institution that I’ve lost a lot of respect for. Which is a sad thing for me to acknowledge. I kinda hate the academy. Like, hate hate. I hate how racist, sexist, misogynistic, and classist higher education is. And the question for me is what to do with those extreme feelings? Do I walk away or do I make it better? How long do I allow myself to be restrained before I flex a little muscle and the chains slip away? (I’m actually making the same expression as Linda Carter up there is right now.)
I don’t really panic. I’m not a panicky person. Not that anything catastrophic is happening. But I am super conflicted and under a lot of pressure. Like, a lot a lot. A lot even for me. And I’m starting to feel tired. I sleep like the dead these days. It’s not for very many hours, but those few hours are dense and rewarding. But I’m finding myself waking up to the same internal thought process I fell asleep to. As if the 5 or 6 hours between sleeping and waking didn’t occur and that is bothering me.
I said something about myself that I don’t often say. In a low moment I said I felt unattractive. I said it out loud even. To another human being. And it’s ok to feel that way. We all do. But I don’t think I actually meant it. I think what I meant to say, or rather what I am actually feeling, is unavailable. It’s a strange thing to be a single woman and declare yourself unavailable to interested parties. It’s less strange than being in a relationship and declaring yourself as still available to potential romantic interest. Feel me?
There is a social construct where a woman not seeking to be defined by a relationship is deviant. I have a primary identifier as being someone’s mother. That is a relationship I am defined by constantly. Except that I’ve pushed hard against that. Really hard. Mostly through my pursuit of a high quality and rigorous education. On top of that I’ve situated myself in social and sexual situations where being a mother isn’t relevant or even disclosed. These are ways to refuse being defined by relation.
I feel like that refusal is reaching it’s climatic and triumphant end. Yes, I’m still feeling unavailable. Highly, very, uber unavailable. Really, nobody can tell me anything about me right now. (To quote my friend, Jenese.) But to quote another friend, this is the last stretch of a long run. The part that is the most difficult and intense and everything hurts and feels weak and you’re not sure if you’re going to make it to the end and you might not except for that voice in your head telling you in no uncertain terms that you didn’t make it all this way just to give up now. And I did this shit on my own. Me. All me. So it wouldn’t make sense to invite someone in now. Now is the time when I’m completing the tasks I set up for myself years ago.
And it’s not just school. It never is right? It’s the kind of parent I decided to be based on the information I had at the time. It’s the kind of writer I thought I was. It’s the kind of intimate partner I assumed I was capable of being (or not.) It’s also the role of family and community in my life.
I had this funny feeling the other day that something really good was coming in the mail for me. So similar to when I was a kid and it was close to my birthday and I knew that a card from my great grandmother with $5 would be arriving any day. Very palpable. Very real. And it took me a while to figure out what that feeling actual was; a mix of expectation and validation. I’m on the right path. I’m doing the right things. Yes, I’m bound in chains to a lovely satin covered high backed sette right now, but give me a moment to work out. We all know I will, I’m fucking Wonder Woman.