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Category Archives: Arizona

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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Challenges and Fears

It’s lack of faith that makes people afraid of meeting challenges, and I believed in myself. ~ Muhammad Ali

For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline. ~ 2 Timothy 1:7

At times fear controls me. It paralyzes me. It numbs me. Yet it also prepares me and motivates me.

Since October of last year, I have become involved in CrossFit. Which some have refer to as a cult. I am there 3-6x a week. The routine of looking at a workout and not believing that it is possible for me to finish it, rationalizing perhaps doing it at a lower weight or just not doing it at all-has become my life.  But the moment the countdown start…3,2, 1 GO!!! I forget my fear and I just do it. Somehow it gets done. Not always the fastest or the prettiest but I do it. I don’t particularly enjoy working out but I love that every time I perform a Crossfit workout I am challenged and the feeling of accomplishment after is the reason I come back. Hard work pays off. I won my first CrossFit competition in January. It was just the “beginners” category.  It was just December that I was hesitant to even try because I was not feeling like I was good enough.

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This past semester was my comprehensive exams for my doctoral program. Again fear dominated my preparation. Not feeling smart enough or theoretical enough. Wishing I read more and understood more. During the take-home exam part there were way too many days that I was just too overwhelmed to write. Somehow I pulled it together with the editing help and support of friends and finished. On the day of my oral defense I was informed that one aspect of my comprehensive exam (one of the onsite questions) was lacking and needed to be rewritten. That did not come as a surprise because when I initially read the question I knew I was in world of trouble. I left the oral defense to take my Spanish language competency exam. Another test I wasn’t really prepared for. They gave me two weeks to rewrite the comp question I think I gave it to them a month and a half later.

Somehow I figured out how to write intelligently about “performativity” to a point where I actually felt I understood the concept. I passed my comprehensive exam. Apparently I also know how to read and translate Spanish enough to pass my language exam. The paper I wrote for my take-home exam I later reworked to enter into the Black Theatre Network Young Scholar’s competition. I came in 1st place. I had never a competition for my writing before. Writing in academia has been something I have struggled greatly with. I have been getting an incredible amount of support over the last several months on my scholarship.

Each time I am challenged and I rise to that challenge- the fear disappears just a little bit more. Physically I am stronger and my scholarship is tighter.

Yet that fear of failure or not being good enough still creeps in. I am currently in the last phase of this PhD program. The part where I my success and failure is pretty much up to me. No more classes. It’s time to write. Getting started and staying motivated has been a major battle for me this summer. I have set an incredibly ambitious goal for myself- to finish by Spring 2013. Graduate in 3 years. Breaking down what needs to accomplish in order to accomplish this goal is overwhelming and daunting. Shit, a dissertation is a lot of WRITING and REWRITING!!!!

I am in the practice of remembering the challenges and obstacles that I have overcame and the goals that I have reached in order to motivate me and push me towards my goals.

One of the things about CrossFit that I love is that I am never doing it alone. Even when others have finished the work out they stay and they encouraged me to finish. Quitting is not really an option when you have others cheering for you. Making sure you are not taking shortcuts. Making sure you are doing your best.

So that’s where my friends and family comes in. I need some support and cheering to reach my next goal. Shout out to birthday girl Tasha for calling me out on Facebook. Ya’ll got me?

Videos with me doing CrossFit and Academic stuff..can you spot me?

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~ JustTab

Happy Birthday to my loves Ojay and Tasha.

 
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Posted by on July 6, 2012 in Academia, Arizona, Learning bout Tab!

 

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What I know for sure (at 25)…

Whenever I think about turning 25 I hear the intro to the last season of the Oprah show where Paul Simon sings twenty five, twenty five in this slow melancholy way. Oprah was on for 25 years and Tupac died at 25, the number 25 is pretty significant in the lives of my heroes. So I decided to this Oprah style.  What I know for sure (at 25).

I am learning that there is no prize to be given for navigating life without anyone. For showing everybody that you don’t need them. There is no award given for never crying on someone else’s shoulder, for keeping in all the hurt. Because if there was…

But I also know there is no prize for having the most people in your life. You don’t get an award for putting up with people who add no value to your life. No one is going to congratulate you for keeping the same toxic person in your life since elementary school. 3,500 friends on Facebook mean absolutely nothing in the real world.

So I am trying to negotiate a space between self-imposed solitude and thinking everyone is my best friend.

My birthday yesterday, was quite different from my previous one in Haiti. I spent it in Arizona. I took myself to a movie (New Year’s Eve), had some Ethiopian take out, went rock climbing, went to another movie (50/50), ate french fries, downed a bottle of champagne and called it a day.

I have been called cocky on more than one occasion. I prefer the word confident. I am well aware of my strengths and I am very honest about my weaknesses. I try to be sincere in all that I do. I am good friend.

I am strong believer that people will treat you however you allow them to treat you. Many times the way other people treat you is a reflection of how you treat yourself.  When you set standards people will either rise to them or they won’t but you have to let you expectations be known. There is a huge difference between the work ethic of a child who knows their parents only accepts A- work out of them, versus the work ethic of a child who parent doesn’t set any goals for them. This is the same thing with any type of relationships; let people know your standards and expectations. What are your non-negotiables?

For me, the two things I must have in any close friendship, relationship or partnership are reliability and consistency. This does not mean I need you to talk to me every day, I just need your actions to be consistent. And when you say something I need to be able to believe it. This is what I NEED. And no matter how beautiful and smart you are. How amazingly cool and perfect you are…if you can’t give this to me I have no problems cutting you out of my life. And it doesn’t mean I don’t love you. There are several people that I have cut out of my life or no longer hold them in such a close space- that I love so dearly and would still do just about anything for them. But I love myself more and I can no longer allow them the same access to my life because they are not willing or able to give me what I need.

I spent my 24th year breaking down-physically, emotionally and spiritually (more on that later). My “inner-circle” has also been broken down. The states of my relationships have so drastically changed in a years’ time. I am looking forward to building up this coming year. Since I am quite vain I am starting with my body, I have my first Crossfit competition in January. It is all about that core strength aka my abs.

I think I have proven to everybody including myself that I am able to make it alone. I have traveled to foreign countries by myself. I have moved halfway across the country with no friends or family remotely close. I have spent both Christmas and my birthday alone. I go to movies alone. I eat alone. I live alone. Safe to say I can do just about anything by myself and not want or desire another person with me.

I know that for sure.

But what I don’t know is if I can survive with someone else. Could I travel with someone? Could I live with someone? Hell, can I be friends- real friends with someone (I am talking Oprah and Gayle style)? Will I ever allow myself to be able to depend on another human being? The thought of depending on someone else is more terrifying than being alone in the slums of Honduras at night.

I have a habit of saying “No one really matters anyway.” That comment is usually preceded by an expletive.  I had friend who always got mad whenever I said it, she said the comment hurt her. Truth is people matter to me a lot and rather than face the disappointed of no mattering to someone as much as they matter to me, I force myself to believe that no one really matters in my world. I am always ready and expecting people to leave.

So let’s see what 25 has in store. Let it be monumental or unsubstantial. Let it be audacious or low-key. Just let it be.

~Just Tab

 
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Posted by on December 27, 2011 in Arizona, Holidays, Learning bout Tab!, my friends

 

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Look back. Look forward. Spring & Summer ’11

Last Saturday I submitted my last paper of the first year of my doctoral program. The previous Thursday I was informed that I passed my qualifying exams and I was being “invited” back for a second year- Suffice to say I am a 2nd year PhD student. As lovely as that is to type, it does little for my dating life.

Let’s get into the recap of my life since January.

I have always hated bras. They are uncomfortable and restricting. I have gotten resized, change brands and they are still the most uncomfortable things ever. I constantly take them off the moment I can, sometime in class, at friends’ houses or my car. This leads to me finding them at very random places. Since I could never keep them on for long, I decided to stop wearing them this year. It has worked out pretty well. Of course, I wear bras to church, special occasions and to work out. Other than that I stay bra-free. I have to say it’s pretty liberating and since I have issues with buttoning up my shirt all the way I have been told it’s pretty hot as well. Most times people can’t tell unless I want them to, I have discovered button downs makes it pretty unnoticeable. At first it felt pretty awkward teaching a class or something minus a bra, now it has become pretty much the norm. However, it has yet to become the norm for my mother “Tab, you are still not wearing a bra?!?!?” I have also become increasingly aware of cold temperatures in rooms for obvious reasons. I am starting a movement, spend more braless. Get free. Of course, this might be easier for me because of again obvious reasons.

As of March I have been a vegan- no animal products at all. Why? It’s a combination of a couple things- The influence of my vegan friend Nitty, Oprah doing a show on vegans, needing something to give up for Lent and a personal challenge. So instead of doing it for 40-days, I decided to do it for 3 months. It’s been good, not as bad as my pork loving self would have thought. I have discovered the joys of Ethiopian food, reading food labels, and quinoa among other things. I am actually kind of sad to have it end in a couple of weeks. I have decided to be vegan during the school year because I think it makes me more energized.  Plus, I like feeling superior to carnivores…”Oh, I am vegan.” My parents wants to get down with the vegan train…I am turning everybody out. Come on, Atira. Do it!

Also since March I have started kickboxing class. Before this it’s been a couple years since I have worked out, mostly because it’s boring. Kickboxing has been the most intense and fun workout I have ever had. I normally stop working out when I feel sweat forming; now I leave kickboxing now drenched.  It also doesn’t hurt that my instructor Jordan is one of the sexiest white man I have ever seen.

Oh yeah, school. It’s challenging to say the least, but no complaints. I signed up for it. I really could not have made it through the semester without the musical styling of Nicki Minaj, Sugarland, Lupe Fiasco, Kirk Franklin and B. Slade. My long distant PhD buddies Don and Al. My AZ PhD buddy Asantewa and our Sunday study dates aka Black power summit sessions. Gchats with Tasha and Kali. Trinty UCC Sunday service webcast. My parents and my lil brother Jeremiah. Of, course Jesus the Christ. Randomly, Asantewa and I started going around campus, finding Black people and having them throw up the Black power sign. I also participated in the ASU undies run, which basically involved me running around campus in my underwear for charity.God loves a cheerful giver I hear.

I was blessed to see Bill T. Jones, Maya Angelou and Angela Davis speak this semester.


But that is old news, the Spring semester is over. We are on to the SUMMER, the most amazing time of the year.

  1. Read. A lot. I have some book reviews to write. 50 plays to read in preparation for my comprehensive exams. Theory to learn. Hopefully squeezing in pleasure reading.
  2. Writing. I have some conference papers to finish/write. But I have also started a letter writing campaign. Basically I am sending letters/ postcards to my friends, family and strangers- whoever gives me their address. The majority of the mail we receive are either bills or advertisement- trying to change that. If you want a letter send your address to my e-mail. I am bringing back snail mail, saving the Post Service…all in a day’s task.
  3. Travel. In June I will be leaving Florida to travel to Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador and Nicaragua for about a month. Coming back to Florida for a bit then heading back to Arizona. Doing some road trips to California. Also, flying to Chicago before school starts again. Which you will all be hearing about extensively…
  4. Love. Mostly life and family. Flirting with strangers and friends. Breaking hearts and all that jazz. Shout out to single mothers who love Tab.

And there you have it. A Spring recap and a Summer preview.

~Just Tab.

 

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First Semester Re-cap

As of this past Wednesday, I am officially done with my first semester as a PhD student. They say the first semester is the hardest- check back with me when I am finished and I will confirm or deny that.  What I can do is give you a couple highlights and low lights of the semester.

1.       I decided to focus my final project in my Dramaturgy class on The Black Theatre Troupe in Phoenix. Upon contacting the Executive Director of the theatre company he provided me and my friend with comp tickets to see their season opener, Fences. That night, Asantewa and I not only saw an amazing show, we met two really cool people. One of which, was Nitty. Over the course of the last three months she has become a valuable asset to my life in Arizona. Her mother has officially adopted me as her third daughter and her son has decided he “loves” me. She has a really beautiful and amazing soul. When I actually got the chance to interview the Executive Director of The Black Theatre Troupe, he offered me the chance to work as the Dramaturg on their upcoming production of Lynn Nottage’s Crumbs From The Table of Joy.  This is an amazing opportunity to work on a professional theatre company’s production in Phoenix.

She was sick on Thanksgiving

2.       School is hard. It is a doctoral program -it should be hard. I like challenges, so my initial attitude was bring it on. Most days I was good, but there were some days where the pressure was intense. My confidence took such a hit this semester. I keep asking myself why was I here. Was I smart enough? I am a 23 year old black woman, I barely take myself seriously. Why would anyone take what I had to say serious? I was always reticent to discuss articles in class because what if I didn’t get the right meaning? Or understand it in a way that everyone else did? I study different, I think different from these white people who are my professors and classmates. I discovered that the remnants of my speech impediment as a child continues to make me self-conscious about my articulation as an adult. At points I didn’t think that my world and academia were at all compatible. I would get so nervous about assignments. I would know what I wanted to write but I would get so overwhelmed that I couldn’t think or write. I would just go to sleep. Shower. Do anything not to think about the task at hand. Then I would wake up and somehow get the motivation or encouragement to get my work done. I always have to fight the voices telling me I can’t do this because I am young, black and woman. But those are the reasons why I have to do this.

3.       Phoenix has a ridiculously small Black population and I really like Black people. Unlike Philadelphia, I can go up to people here and say “Hey, you are Black and so am I. Let’s be friends”.  As crazy as it sounds it works and I met a lot of people. One of my favorite people that I met this way is a boy name Courtney. I saw him at Target and as he walked out the store I approached him. He gave me his number so we could hang out. The first time we hung out we watched Beyonce videos at his friends house before hitting up the club and discovering we had the same birthday’s (Dec 26). Living here has made me very friendly. I am starting a blog PhxBlkSwag in dedication to all the Black people I will encounter in AZ.

4. The Friday before school started, I met a wonderful person. Over the course of a month we became really good friends. Intense and fast friends. So we all know how that ended, right? Sometimes friendships and relationships can act as mirrors, not everyone is happy with their reflection. My ability to be an open and honest individual made her feel some type of way about her ability to do the same. At a point I thought she was a person that I could trust and who cared about me. Lesson learned: someone who does not love themselves cannot love others. That was a rather painful lesson to learn, but a valuable one. I wish nothing but love and the best for her. “Remember that the universe has bigger plans for you than those you have for yourself. You can’t take everyone with you. Send them off with love and well wishes and access to their own plans but send them off nonetheless. Not everyone is a friend but nobody is an enemy. Not everyone belongs in your heart but nobody is heartless. Just hurting. Allow them their hurt. Don’t let them hurt you”.

5. My support system has been amazing. I have two other friends who started PhD programs this fall, their support from the East Coast has been invaluable. Inside the School of Theatre the other PhD’s have been awesome and really provided encouragement and shoulders to lean on as well as great advice. My friends outside of academia- have been a welcome distraction from the Ivory Tower. Of course, my parents have been great. My little brother has been a standout. He provides an outlet for my frustration, so much support and the kid believes in my abilities so much that I start believing in them myself. I am so grateful that he came and visited me in Arizona. I barely complained about cooking and cleaning up for him. And of course, my girl Isis- she stays up with me during my all nighters. She begs for walks while I am trying to get my reading done for class.

1st year PhD's

2nd year PhD

I am home in Florida. Relaxing. Seeing my family. While also preparing for my next adventure…

Living and Loving life. Living my life. Loving who I am.

I don’t want be any one but

~JustTab

 

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Thanksgiving. 2010.

Thanksgiving is a holiday that means little to me. I have no particularly fond memories of the day. My childhood memories are all blurred together by weeklong travels to Ft. Pierce so my parents could participate in the East Florida Primitive Baptist Association Convention. As a child that meant attending church services after church services, always on the prowl for another child to befriend. To pass notes with. Anything to stay awake during those long sermons that all merged into one. Thanksgiving dinner was usually shoved in between two of the monotonous services. Always carefully eating not to soil whatever pretty little dress I had on.

The one time we didn’t go, my parents opted to attend my mother’s family reunion in South Carolina. The Thanksgiving dinner came from Cracker Barrel-which I boycotted. My meal for that day consisted of Frosted Flakes and Oreos…together. I know now that those aren’t a good combination. My subsequent sickness was not the highlight of the trip,  the highlight came during the drive home. The windows in my father’s car broke and wouldn’t roll up. My brothers and I had to huddle together to remain warm with the 30 degree cold infiltrating the backseat.

Last year I was home in West Palm Beach for Thanksgiving , making it the second time I can remember being there for the holiday. And the first time I spent it with family. Spending holidays with family is usually code for me making a plate and bringing it back to my room to eat alone.

The revolutionary in me (which is sometimes subdued by the Republican in me) – is anti-Thanksgiving because of it racist and paternalistic origins. Shout out to those who participate in the National day of Mourning instead of Thanksgiving.

The Christian in me is anti-Thanksgiving because it promotes gluttony-one of the seven deadly sins.

The pork enthusiast in me is anti-Thanksgiving because it privileges turkey over the pig. And I hate Turkey…its so dry and a very awkward looking animal.

Here in Phoenix, away from family and friends, the desire to do anything on this day is at an all time low for me. None of the Thanksgiving day invites extended to me seemed appealing. Somehow eating with a bunch of semi-strangers who couldn’t or didn’t want to go home- didn’t sound too appealing. Especially since I am not sure what type of food white people eat for Thanksgiving…but I am sure it’s not fried and southern like I want it.

After reading some emails from a listserv/ yahoo group I am apart of, I reconsidered my pessimism and focused on what I am thankful for…

This year- 2010. I am thankful for two people who never ask or want me to be anything other than myself. Who give me space to grow and the courage to dream big. My biggest supporters/fans- My parents. They still manage to love me (no matter what) despite my many test of their love…

“Mom and Dad, I’m pregnant”

“Mom, I’m getting married-tomorrow”

“Mom, I am transgender”

“I’m a drug addict”

or whatever other foolishness I can make up as “confessions”

There answer is always “Ok, Tab-lets talk about it.” Despite the implausibility or unlikeliness of my “confessions”.


I will spend the majority of today home- writing papers and reading. Then dinner with my friend and her family (the only invitation from a real family/ black people I got). If I am productive enough maybe I will go out line dancing or for a drink.

To all who might be reading this- Have a Happy Thanksgiving. I hope you are spending it the way you want, with the people you want. If you can’t find anything to be thankful for, you can just be thankful for knowing Tab.

 

~JustTab

 

Canyon of Grand

This weekend my little brother came to visit me in Arizona. This makes him my first real visitor (people step your game up, I need company). I decided not to do any work this weekend because I don’t have a million things to do in a very limited time period- in order to spend time with Jeremiah. On Monday, we drove to the Grand Canyon.  Fun fact…it gets cold there! We spent the morning driving through sleet and snow.

Despite the weather, it was packed. It took us 45 min just to get in!

Somehow we managed to get lost looking for the rim, I mean its not like we were looking for a giant hole in the ground with a crowd of people walking in the direction of this hole…eventually we found it!

This was Jeremiah’s first real time in snow. Who would have thought he would have to come from Jersey to Arizona for snow?!?!


At least some one was able to get work done…

The weather cleared up nicely for the drive backBy the way I am now painfully aware I have no winter clothes here in AZ. I had to wear 2 pair of pants, 2 shirts, a sweatshirt and my windbreakers to stay warm!

On a good note…I was able to brave the weather, not argue with my brother and drive 8hrs (round trip) with my little brother. 🙂

Now off to do my work. Back to…

~JustTab

 
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Posted by on November 23, 2010 in America the beautiful, Arizona, my friends, Travel

 

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