After what has been an admittedly very long hiatus, I am rekindling my blogging and sharing my thoughts with you. Why has it been so long? Well, over the past two years, I have focused my time and attention to finishing my PhD (mission accomplished in 2012) and the work, teaching, and writing that followed it. I know that, through this experience, I’ve grown intellectually, but what I think is much more important is that, over this past year, I’ve changed so much personally and emotionally, in ways that I never really expected or even envisioned before. I’m so much more honest with myself and open about my life that it’s a source of empowerment, a manifestation of confidence.
I don’t think there’s any one reason for what precipitated this change in outlook and inner strength. Maybe it’s that I have come to terms with different types of heartache in my life, because, after all, I don’t know of a single person who hasn’t grappled with heartache. Or, maybe it’s that, as I’ve gotten older, I’ve come to care far less about what people think and much more about what is right and noble. Or, maybe it’s that I’ve come to be inspired by people who made me realize that my role in their lives is something valuable and meaningful. Or, maybe it was the intersection of all of these, happening at just the right time. But, whatever the reason, I feel privileged, I feel honored, and I feel like I have a lot of talking to do.
At this point in my life, it’s hard for me to be anything other than honest and no holds barred. What’s the point of doing otherwise? By virtue of my physical situation (circumstances, disability, accident, paralysis, whatever title you want to give it), I have nothing to hide nor feel ashamed about. But, that’s just me, that’s everyone. The level of self-censorship, self-loathing, and self-shaming that so many of us place on ourselves is no antidote to the already very real social censorship, loathing, and shaming that we all feel on a daily basis and which prevents us from learning or becoming stronger people. I see this every single day through the people with whom I come in contact and the students I teach. That’s pretty terrible and pretty frightening. I think we falsely protect ourselves from accusations of weirdness by gravitating to the mean or one narrowly-measured standard deviation on either side. I think we tend to conform our vocabulary and storytelling to meet the norm because the extremes are messy and hard to handle. But, that does exactly nothing in the way of good, and that’s just not the way it is. Life is unrelenting, and this is a bullshit-free zone.