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Latch-Dance

My alarm went off at 5am. It was 6:15am before I got up.

Checked the weather…way colder than I expected. Needed to change my outfit. Tragic because I looked really cute.

Tired. Too much grading to do and not prepared for the day,

I got to campus. Did some work. Still Tired.

With 15 minutes left to class time. Decided to close my door and dance.

Energized. Ready to go.

The point of this…don’t forget to dance.

~JustTab

 
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Posted by on October 29, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

Goodbye at 17 and 27 (a melodrama)

I remember leaving the Sunday School Convention with a car packed with all my stuff. I remember move in. Shopping at Wal-mart (before I knew it was the devil) and Target for all the things I thought I would need. I remember Sanchia, Dorian, Fabian and Kristin and the excitement that we all had to start classes. Meeting my roommate Layla, who would later go on to fuck my crush and accuse me of being racist. Going to church with my parents and hanging in their hotel room. Buying books and eating in the union.

It’s been almost a decade since I started college and consequently my journey into adulthood. Despite my memories of the excitement leading up to that first summer semester, what stands out to me right now- is the feeling that I felt when they left. I was having so much fun those first few days I never really thought about the fact my parents wouldn’t be in a hotel down the street forever. They hugged me, climbed into the green Ford Explorer and left.

They left me. Their baby. All alone in Tallahassee. The eager and cocky 17 year old girl suddenly stopped feeling so eager and cocky. I went back into Dorman Hall and cried. What was I to do now?

At 20… the same feeling came when he left me in Philadelphia. And at 23 when they left me in Arizona. Despite the fact that it was my decision to move those places…I still felt abandon.

Years later I leave them way more than they leave me. I guess I am grown and that’s the way it is supposed to be, but I would be lying if I told ya’ll that I didn’t break down and cry every time I leave and not know when I will see my parents again. They worry about me and I don’t blame them. I worry about them too. They are the loves of life. The phone maintains our bond. As much as I miss them I know I can’t grow living in the same city as them.

I miss them so much I don’t see them. I don’t want to be reminded how comforting a hug from my mom is or how much I enjoy just being in my dad’s presence. So I stay away until I forget how much I miss them and how much they are a part of me.

I am not 17 anymore. I know eventually things will change and they will leave me again….at some point it won’t be back to West Palm but it will be a permanent departure.  Mercedes tells me despite my attempts I can never prepare myself for their final departure. 

What I am trying to say is I went home this weekend. I saw my parents. Good-byes are hard at 17 or 27.

~JustTab

 
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Posted by on May 13, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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I am deliberate and afraid of nothing.

80 years ago today Audre Lorde was born.

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This morning I saw this picture on Facebook and while I knew I had read the quote before it did not really resonant with me.

This afternoon as I was walking my dog the quote came back to me, “I am deliberate and afraid of nothing.”  All I could think was that I was afraid of everything. When I got back to the house and climbed in bed for nap (something I rarely have time for), I noticed one of my business cards on the floor. On the back was printed: “I am deliberate and afraid of nothing”. I thought to myself, had I really forgotten that quote? A few months ago the quote meant enough to me, to be printed on my business cards. I felt that quote and believed it for my life. Now just a few months later I barely recognize those words. Truth is I am barely recognizing myself.

Today I am grateful. I am grateful for the spirit and the light that is Audre Lorde. This fierce Black lesbian feminist warrior poet, who left a body of work and a legacy that, teaches us how to survive. To survive in spaces where we were never meant to. To define ourselves. To speak. To survive. How to deal with fear. How to use anger. The erotic.  That teaches us the power of freeing ourselves and others. On days like today when fear surrounds my body I am grateful for Audre Lorde. On mornings like last Sunday when I finally ended a silence that has crippled me since I was 16, despite my fears I spoke my truth…on mornings like those I grateful for Audre Lorde. I am indebted to my ancestors, those fierce Black women who came before and just by surviving showed me I could.

As part of my interview for my new position, I had to teach a class. I used Audre Lorde’s “The transformation of silence into language and action,” that was a deliberate choice. I understood despite my fears, the ancestors were walking with me and guiding me. From my conversations with my new colleagues, I believe it was teaching that lesson, that got me the job.

Happy Birthday Audre, may your light always shine in the darkest of places. Ase.

A Litany for Survival by Audre Lorde

For those of us who live at the shoreline

standing upon the constant edges of decision

crucial and alone

for those of us who cannot indulge

the passing dreams of choice

who love in doorways coming and going

in the hours between dawns

looking inward and outward

at once before and after

seeking a now that can breed

futures

like bread in our children’s mouths

so their dreams will not reflect

the death of ours

***

 For those of us

who were imprinted with fear

like a faint line in the center of our foreheads

learning to be afraid with our mother’s milk

for by this weapon

this illusion of some safety to be found

the heavy-footed hoped to silence us

For all of us

this instant and this triumph

We were never meant to survive.

***

And when the sun rises we are afraid

it might not remain

when the sun sets we are afraid

it might not rise in the morning

when our stomachs are full we are afraid

of indigestion

when our stomachs are empty we are afraid

we may never eat again

when we are loved we are afraid

love will vanish

when we are alone we are afraid

love will never return

and when we speak we are afraid

our words will not be heard

nor welcomed

but when we are silent

we are still afraid.

***

So it is better to speak

remembering

we were never meant to survive.

 
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Posted by on February 18, 2014 in Academia, Holidays, politics

 

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Before I jet off to dinner…bye 2013

I have dinner reservation in 25 minutes. Still trying to decide if I will attend church afterwards. When you decide that you want to attend a Black church but not one with imbedded with sexism, homophobia or preaches prosperity theology—it becomes pretty tough to find a suitable choice. I spent all my NYE minus 1 at watch night service and as much as it is a tradition I want to continue I’m not sure I can/will. So maybe I should just take the good from it and leave the bad. I don’t need church to pray in the New Year but after the year I had I know I need the prayer part. 2013 was challenging, I don’t think many people understand how much so… I am over being disappointed with my growth and position in 2013. I am ready for what 2014 has in store. After all I am in a new city—Columbus, OH. I have a new job—Denison University. In so many ways I am really moving into this adult life. I even hosted Christmas dinner with (for lack of a better term) my partner.

2013 taught me that I am not as strong as I thought I was but 2014 will show me that I am stronger than I ever thought possible.

Sending Blessing and Love for your New Year.

~JustTab

 
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Posted by on January 1, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

Ima Read: The Summer We Got Free

I feel like no one knows how I spend my days and people rarely know where I am located. I have no interest in shedding light on any of these things. But I thought I might share something I like- that is also G-rated.

For the most part, I do what I want. But I rarely read what I want. There are always a million books I have to read or should be reading. This makes very little time for the things I want to read. Like novels! I normally use summer/winter breaks to read the things I want. Anyway lately I been reading lots of stuff I normally wouldn’t have the time to read.

The Summer We Got Free by Mia McKenzie was a surprisingly enjoyable read. I know who Mia McKenzie is through Black Girl Dangerous, her stuff is always being shared on social media. Often times we share very similar opinions- like our stance on Obama. Mia is pretty damn queer. She won a Lambda Literary award for the book, which is like the Pulitzer for gay people.  So I expected a very gay novel or at least one very focused on sexuality. Which in some ways it was, but it was so much more. I am more than a little fascinated by religion and the ways it indoctrinates us at a young age. While the book follows several characters. I was particularly drawn to Ava. The book fluctuates between 1959 and 1976 so we are able to see her as a child and also as an adult. As an adult she is rather apathetic, lives a mundane married life in her parents’ home. As the novel progress we learn and understand that this far from the person she once was. As a child she lit up rooms, was well liked, challenging, opinionated, basically- she was free. This freedom greatly intimidated many adults around including her father and the church’s pastor- she was dangerous because they could not control her. She thought for herself. As I read the book I couldn’t help but think about my own self and the freedom I possessed as a child. If anyone knew me as a child, they know I was more than a handful. My mother was talking to me today about my “issues” in school growing up. She had more parent teaching meetings for me, than any of my other siblings combined. She said at the end of my 3rd grade year my teacher admitted to her how intimidated she was by me. I find it a bit ridiculous that an adult would be intimidated by a child, but it was something that was true more often than not in my experience growing up. This book made me think about all the ways that I was free as a child as well as the ways that I am no longer free.

Even before I read the book, I was drawn to the title The Summer We Got Free. The thought of liberation is so exhilarating yet also daunting. While I have already been trying to make this my freedom summer, this book inspired me to work that much harder to get free. To reclaim the light that I had as a little girl. The amazing thing about being free is you know and understand your freedom means nothing unless you are actively engaged in getting others free.

I also really enjoyed that Mia set the book in Philly- her hometown. My old stomping grounds. Philly can be a magical place. I did a lot of growing there.

I think I just did a book review. Allison don’t be surprise if I send you a copy. Alison G. can’t wait to discuss this book with you.

While I am currently reading several things, the next book I am really hyped to read is Buck by M. K Asante. I have had both of his parents as professors and Maya Angelou sings the book’s praises. A good portion of the book takes place in Philly (pattern?)…It drops next Tuesday and Atira has already agreed to read it with me. Who else is down?

 
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Posted by on August 17, 2013 in Ima Read

 

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Where should I begin? A lot has happen since my last post. I will venture to say for a variety of reasons this has been one of the most emotional months I have had in a long time. But through it all I am blessed. Summers have always been the time that I grow the most and with growing comes a certain amount of growing pains. There is no progress without struggle.  I defended my dissertation June 28- I passed with minor revisions. I turn in the revisions on Monday.

Dissertation Defense

I am humbled and grateful for the feedback of my dissertation committee. One of committee members told me how impressed she was with the amount of work I was able to accomplish in 9 months while also teaching. I am often my biggest critic and it is hard for me to take time to celebrate my accomplishments in the way that other people do. Its far easier for me to focus on my inadequacies. I have a PhD at 26, but yet I am still unemployed, searching for the next step in my life. At times I feel like I am not even close to where I want to be. Creating the life that I want is way harder than I imagined. As  happy as I am to say that I am not a student, I know I will miss the structure of that life. I excel in collegiate and graduate environments not because I am so smart, but because I understood that world. I knew what the requirements was to finish and I methodologically charted a plan to complete those requirements in the most efficient way. Within the first 2 months of undergrad I planned what classes to take and when in order to finish in 3 years…I finished in 2.5 years. So while my defense was a celebratory event, it triggered anxiety and depression.

Last Saturday my little brother got married to Brittannie Stanley in Florence, Alabama.

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I drove there with 3 of my sister’s kids and Mercedes.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The trip was beyond interesting and extremely draining. I maintain that I do not ever want children of my own. If you ever catch me pregnant, either my birth control slipped up or the condom broke. I did not drive the children back, but I am pretty sure they made it home safely. At one point I was dreading attending the nuptials, I am not good around people especially church people.  Weddings tend to bring up all kinds of emotion for people, not always good ones. As a safety precaution I invited 3 people, none of whom had met the bride and one person I hadn’t even met before. But thankfully I didn’t need it. Brittannie’s family was beyond amazing and welcoming. I am in awe of how beautiful her family was to me, my friends and my family. I felt a level of acceptance and love that I rarely experience.

I was a bridesmaid in the wedding, the only bridesmaid that didn’t go to college or grow up in Alabama with Brittannie. I packed a dress to wear to the rehearsal  and rehearsal dinner. Since my plan of buying new sandals and getting a pedicure didn’t happen I ended up wearing a polo button up, some pink gap chinos and Sperrys. Mercedes said I was cute. I showed up to the church- all the other bridesmaids had on dresses looking like southern belles with their pretty permed hair. I immediately felt out of place, even though the boys looked like they had just fell out of bed. I realized then that I wasn’t as comfortable with my gender performance as I thought I was. Let me be clear my discomfort was not caused by anything other than my own insecurity. I wanted a dress on so bad in that moment. But by the next day it was my shaved sides and my differences that made me not only stand out but made me beautiful. Being comfortable with who you are is always a process.

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I told the lady who did my makeup that I did not need waterproof mascara. There was no way I was going to cry. Damnit I am a THUG. I have seen 4 seasons of The Wire ( my summer project). But I will be damned if my eyes did not start watering and my lips started to quiver when Brittannie walked down the aisle to Jeremiah. I don’t think I ever seen my brother so happy. It was like he transformed to a man in front of my eyes.

That was Saturday, Sunday my grandfather made his transition. His health had been declining but he was doing better when we left Florida. He was my last living grandparent. I am grateful for his life and that I got a chance to spend sometime with him in June.

Granddad and dad

He kinda remembered me. As with both of my father’s parents they left me years before they died. The loss of memory is a hell of a thing. The funeral was today but I am in North Carolina for a conference. I feel like I am absent too much sometimes. At some point I am going to have to face what  I am running from. Three weeks has been the longest period I have spent in Florida since the move back…I could barely take it. Just itching for an escape.  Maybe I am running from my parents love. I have never really been able to believe in the concept of unconditional love. There is always conditions…

This is long. There is more I should share. Mercedes came for three weeks. I am not moving to Philadelphia. Maybe Charlotte though…still figuring things out. Remind me to tell you the story about how I officially became a heathen. My heart is a little frozen now, still deciding if I want to thaw it out.

Until the next time…may the peace and light of Blue Ivy’s smile be with you.

-Just Tab

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Things I don’t like to talk about…updates.

Things I don’t like talking about: school/academia and my relationships.

Things my friends like asking about: school/academia and my relationships.

I prefer to talk about my savior- Blue Ivy Carter, CrossFit, Beyonce, my abs , Dhubai, Oprah and more Blue Ivy Carter. Don’t get me wrong there are times I do talk about the random people I am dating or what’s going on in my academic life. However, I have found the writing of my dissertation to be incredibly draining and all-consuming. I think about the writing of it, revising, defending it, future job plans ALL THE TIME! So it is often the last thing I want to discuss with others, I like to give myself a mental break from the dissertation, especially when I am engaging with others in social contexts.

445Likewise with dating, I am way more apt to share stories of the ridiculous experiences I am having with people I have no plans to take seriously. I tend to guard relationships and people that I see as viable partners away from the early scrutiny of friends and family. Or I speak about them in a very nonchalant way. “We cool.”  “We just kickin’ it.”

With that being said- I have some updates (just in case you were wondering).

My original plan was to defend my dissertation in the spring–like two weeks from now. While I was on track to do this, ASU introduced a summer graduate fellowship. This fellowship provides funding for advance PhD and MFA students. The amount of funding they were offering was extremely tempting for a person like me who planned to live off her parents for the summer. Since summer funding at my university is so rare, plenty of people were also excited at the possibility. In order to apply, I had to withdraw my spring graduation application. Which was cool because I realized summer completion was  a better option anyway( gives me more time before I have to pay Sallie Mae).  279

I found out yesterday I got the fellowship.  This is going to allow me the opportunity to fine tune aspects of dissertation and work on it without any teaching commitments.  I am also moving. May 12 is my last day in Arizona. I am headed to Florida for the summer. As always I will be doing a lot of traveling this summer, I might be in your city as some point.

As for the fall, I am planning to make Philly my home base. Yep, I am going back to Philly, Philly, Philly. Why? Not enough murders in Florida for me. That was a joke. As much as I hate the cold and dirtiness of the North—it does have the cultural and educational opportunities that Florida lacks. I am ironing out my master plan. I am focus and committed to constructing the life that I want.

Still why Philly? There are universities and theatres in Chicago, NYC, DC, etc. This leads me to the second thing I hate talking about—relationships. Young Tab, is planning to make her long distance relationship- a live-in relationship. I’ll tell you more later…I hear my father reads this blog.

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In other news I am still a CrossFit junkie. I am getting stronger as I continue to preach the gospel of CrossFit. I have one more competition here in AZ before I move.  I been enjoying running and mudruns. Crazy, since I hate being dirty or running. Also, I have really been liking white people…like calling them my friends!  Blue Ivy is amazing and beautiful. The light of my life and continues to be the background on my phone. Isis is doing great, she is looking forward to her summer in Florida. I am planning to make a documentary about my summer( like Beyonce’ s Life is but a dream) mostly for my own enjoyment.

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I think that’s about it. I am excited about new adventures and sharing them with you.

~JustTab

 
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Posted by on April 10, 2013 in Academia, Arizona, Learning bout Tab!

 

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