I came to the daily post page feeling as if I wasn’t going to write, despite what the prompt was, but then I read it and it spoke to me in a way that none of the others have before. I think a big reason for that is that lately, I’ve been my radically authentic self and, for the first time in a while, my superiors aren’t receptive or accepting of me.
So often when I go to “work,” I feel a sense of dread knowing that my immediate supervisor is set in her ways, condescending, unwelcoming, rude to the clients, and sometimes unethical. I’ve consulted with so many professors, colleagues, and my school training director about the best approach to address issues with my supervisor, but there are days when I feel the weight of her burnout so heavily that it literally exhausts me.
Every week, I’m reminded of Audre Lorde’s quote:
Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.
I literally feel like I am preparing for a (much less serious and casualty-laden) version of war as I’m in my car listening to songs of hope and strength to get myself in the right mindspace to deal with her.
It’s frustrating occasionally feeling like I have to be less of myself in order to feel accepted by people who I’m, honestly, not fond of at all. I saw a quote on tumblr once that I’ll mold to fit my circumstance, “It took me 26 years to learn how to love myself – I don’t have that kind of time to convince anyone else.”
It’s a taxing situation having to encourage myself to continue to be me, despite the isolation, resentment, misrecognition, misunderstandings and lies.
I was interviewed the other day for someone’s dissertation, and she is interested in understanding minorities’ experiences of oppression. It was such a liberating feeling to be able to speak so openly about things that I mostly blog about, or just talk to a very select few people about. In part of my interview, I spoke about the importance of representation in academia, and in positions of power. I mentioned that part of the reason I’m doing what I’m doing (and am passionate about it) is because I didn’t have that role model. To date, I’ve had 2 badass white women who are exceptional intersectional feminist mentors, and one Chicana feminist mentor, all of whom have truly paved the way for me to accept multiple aspects of my identities.
There are times when I feel like quitting, but I don’t. 1) I’ve come this far in my graduate career and am not about to allow some bitter old woman dictate my future. 2) My family is counting on me. 3) I’m counting on myself. 4) The babies who come after me, who will identify as racial and ethnic minorities, need me.
Heck, I need me…and I need to make sure that I’m always being my fullest self – even if that sometimes makes others uncomfortable. I’m not doing it in a way to be divisive or rude, I’m living out my truth and sharing when appropriate. Sometimes, I think people need to be made to feel uncomfortable, because otherwise there’s no reason to grow. It’s like a caterpillar in its cocoon…it needs to struggle in order for it to leave the cocoon and become a butterfly.
So, no. In the words of another shero of mine:
I will not have my life narrowed down. I will not bow down to somebody else’s whim or to someone else’s ignorance.
Because that’s exactly what it is: ignorance. I’ve come too far to be anything other than radically authentic…and no one is worth me sacrificing that authenticity – supervisor, or otherwise.