I’m Tired….

I’m all over the place this week… Hence why this post is late…

This is actually the week I was the most excited about when I first looked at the syllabus. But honestly… I’m just tired. I think that’s one of the reasons this post is late. I think another, that is strongly related to this tired feelings, is that I was expecting myself to have something profound to say about this. And really…

I don’t.

A lot of the time when this topic comes up in class, I feel this pressure to represent my people, speak up, and say something deeply profound.

Most of the time, this pressure isn’t coming from anyone other than myself. I want to represent myself, my people, and my culture well. People are well meaning. They’re curious and they honestly don’t know so most of the time, I actually love to answer their questions. But right now,

I’m just tired.

I don’t say this to take away from anything we’ve read or talked about this week. I am actually really passionate about this topic as you might be able to tell from class. I really resonated with the “Reducing Identity and Stereotyping Threat” chapter. I think that’s because I’m still creating my narrative like the author mentioned towards the beginning. I did find it interesting that once again, the native experience is forgotten even in this article. Because of where I’m personally at right now, this actually hurts today. Because I feel like it reiterates the idea that it’s okay for us to have to endure this threat… I mean we’re the one race that it’s okay to characterize with stereotypical cartoons & sports mascots despite our continuing disapproval.

As a group that gets forgotten, I’ve actually really started looking at making sure I include and look at everything in my classroom especially groups that I think continually get forgotten. Lately that has been in my work to make sure my classroom is accessible to everyone regardless of their abilities or capabilities and that my wording is welcoming. That’s why I used the word “Accessibility” in my syllabus instead of “Accommodations”. Accommodations has a more negative connotation and it is really just my goal for my class to be accessible. I’ve also been looking into Active Learning techniques and have been reading about how these activities are actually a nightmare for students with ADHD and other disorders that make it difficult to process information right away.

I’m really disappointed I’m going to miss class this week… I know the discussion is going to be really good. But I’m actually going to be at the Tribal Leaders Summit here on campus with Virginia’s tribal leaders. I need to be there. Especially right now, with my state of mind. But I’m looking forward to being with you again next week. And I’ll leave you with this gif because I found it during my writing and just had to include it.

9 Responses so far.

  1. Alex Jardon says:

    Qualla, thank you for sharing this with us this week and for being so honest about how you’re feeling. It can be easy for people to forget how taxing this experience could be for you. Not sure if this exactly applies, but the concept of racial fatigue for people having to represent their group of people or face stereotypes can really lead to exhaustion. And as you put it, people often have the best of intentions, but a lot of times those intentions just become microaggressions that only reinforce stereotypes. I appreciate your use of the word accessibility instead of accommodation. That is something I want to make sure to use in each syllabus I use after this point. We want to make sure to create accessible classrooms for everyone without forgetting groups of people or asking them to be representatives for that entire group. We will miss you in class tonight, and I hope tonight gives you back that energy you’ve been lacking.

  2. socl123 says:

    You can say that again, Qualla! I am past tired of having to be a token representative – always working to ensure I am articulate in what are supposed to be relaxed learning environments – that my nouns match my verbs, that my voice is not TOO commanding – always fearing the “angry black woman” stereotype – I get it! I understand being worn out with the social and political landscape of the times, then entering a classroom where you all of a sudden become the person that has to explain why the heck DAPL is problematic or why #BlackLivesMatter. What Alex is referring to, racial battle fatigue, is real and at times inescapable.

    I *claps* TOO *claps* AM *claps* TIRED *claps*

    But the burden of blackness is also a gift; the greatest privilege of my life. And that I must remember.

    I hope you find the energy you need tonight.

  3. andrea says:

    Thank you for sharing Qualla! I could relate to your post so much! I had been going through the readings these past few days and I felt like I had so much to say and yet couldn’t keep my thoughts straight to make a clear story line for my post which is also why my post is late and I’m also frustrated because, like you, I was really looking forward to this week’s class and I won’t be able to be there as the airline changed my flight plans due to the snow storm. I hope your day starts looking up. Self-care is particularly important in order to prevent burn-out. I’ve had some experience with these types of feelings and I’m trying to adopt some self-care measures.
    Hopefully we get to revisit this topic in another class this semester.

  4. Jess Hotter says:

    I’m going to piggy back off of what Andrea said and mention self-care. Some weeks you’re going to be on top of the world: getting all your work done, meal prepping, exercising, getting all your chores done. Then there are other weeks where it’s almost painful to read an article or book, writing seems impossible, and getting out of bed is the last thing you want to do. I’m definitely the driven go-getter type and I think it hurts my pride more than anything when I’m having a slump week. What I’ve learned though that it’s okay not to be on your game sometimes. It’s okay to feel like s*** sometimes. It’s okay to be stuck in your feelings for a little while. It’s all going to be okay. Live in the moment and if right now your moment is just feeling not your best, that’s cool. Do you boo boo.

  5. Nada Berrada says:

    I understand you, Qualla. I hope that the Tribal Leaders Summit will meet your expectations. In the meantime, take good care of yourself.

  6. Qualla says:

    Thank you guys so much for your kind words. I needed them. I posted this and then felt really afraid that what I said was going to be read as bitter or angry or unappreciative or {insert bad thing here}. I actually teared up reading these comments. I needed to know that I wasn’t alone in my struggle, that it was okay to be tired, that my feelings were valid or whatever, and that it was okay to share those feelings even when their not entirely positive.

    This is definitely the year of self-care for me. I’ve been making it a priority but I’ll admit the last couple of weeks I’ve slacked a little bit on it and I’m feeling it now. But it’s okay. It’s okay to be tired and it’s okay to rest. But tomorrow I’ll get up and get back to work.

    I LOVED this btw “But the burden of blackness is also a gift; the greatest privilege of my life. And that I must remember.” I relate so much. My “Indian-ness” is who I am. It’s what’s gotten me to this place. It’s in my blood. It’s why I do what I do & am passionate about my passions. It’s why I have an problem making eye contact (culture thing). It’s why I need community. It’s everything. It’s me. And I would never give up the trauma, fatigue, or burden for what it has given me. And that I must remember. 🙂

    via GIPHY

  7. ezgiseref says:

    Thank you so much for this valuable piece and reminding that there is no end to the effort to hear the silenced voices and histories, to realize and question the differences in the way in which individuals and communities represented in the social and political environment, and to pay attention to the erasure of differences via language. I hope the Tribal Leaders Summit would bring you strength and energy to extend the solidarity network here and everywhere.

    Ezgi

  8. Michelle Soledad says:

    I echo the expressions of gratitude shared here regarding sharing your experiences. Before I came to VT, inclusivity in the classroom – or in higher education institutions in general – wasn’t something I thought of. I lived in a world where we physically seemed to be the same, and race and culture was something we all shared. I have learned so much from you, not just this semester but over the past year I’ve known you. I feel blessed. Thank you.

  9. Dalya Ismael says:

    I really like how you use your experiences to assist you in your teaching tools like the syllabus. Using the correct words can have a large impact on the students’ desire to remain registered in a class. Other than that, I love the first gif! I wonder how you answer those questions with so much patience! Thanks for posting!

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