What was the purpose of this blog and these stories?
What was I trying to accomplish?
Did I do it? What have I learned? How do I wrap this up?
I strived to be an academic, strived to be a star on paper and in performance. It was how I was going to “get out”. It was how I was told I could achieve social mobility. It resulted in ignoring and neglecting other essential parts of me though. I equated high scores in school with being intelligent. Imbedded in that was figuring out the criteria and meeting them. Not so much true learning. Not much self discovery. Not joy, not pleasure, not art, not social skills, not expression, not community, not civics. What I really learned was compliance, conformity, and finding the craftiest and most low energy methods to check the necessary boxes. I got hyper-focused on making the grade. That’s what I learned was important. I was neglecting so many other aspects of myself and others. So much of me was going malnourished. I was valuing the mind over all other parts of a person like character, values and compassion. I under valued emotion and personal satisfaction. I over valued far off trophies and and didn’t practice knowing how to be happy in the now. I learned to feed off of stress, deadlines, accolades and grade point averages.
I was someone who identified as a highly intelligent person, primarily due to my success in school and academia. It was a system I was supposed to excel in and command.
When I struggled with reading I took a hard hit to my self esteem and self image. Reading is what smart people did. I was a fraud. I wasn’t an avid reader. I barely ever read. Much less could I recall certain details. Sure, I got the grade but I would remember very little. I understood little.
My emotions caught up to me. Not learning to acknowledge them , name them, express them, share them in healthy ways would lead to much implosion and friction in navigating an adult life.
I prided myself on my mind and logic. I thought it was noble to be able to subdue my feelings and vulnerabilities. And it took so long to see the value in human connections. I was going to be a star and then my emotions got the best of me. I’m severely impacted by them sometimes. I tried/try to compensate by emphasizing intellect. I’m learning that those other things have to be addressed because they’re a part of my humanity.
Also, I’m a man of seemingly African decent in the U.S of A. How is my experience impacted by that? The way I was raised in the world and the way the world deals with me. What I’ve learned from the environment about life and myself. What limitations or handicaps are in place? What gifts do I have- known, underutilized, and undiscovered?
Due to the way my mind works and the very education I was receiving I started to see serious problems in that system. I wanted to fix it or do it better. I wanted to address the issues and ills that came up for people like me, Black & Brown skin Americans of lower socioeconomic status.
I’m an adult human male with brown skin and nappy hair living in these United States of America. I was intending to be a great within academia and thought that would validate me. I’d be intelligent and worthy. It was marketed to me that degrees would be the key to my social mobility. So, I strove to be the best I could be in the ways I thought mattered most to the system I was trying to succeed in. However, the same system that trained me also crippled me. It taught me to only value certain aspects of myself. I also struggle with disorders of mood, anxiety, and attention. On many occasion they rob me of my ability to self actualize, to achieve, to find satisfaction, and to gain the validation I sought from my beloved education system.
This blog is a collection of thoughts and memories that exist at the intersection of these themes of race/ethnicity, education, and mental health. When I sought stories and solutions about my struggles I didn’t find people that have enough proximal experiences in life, people with whom I can identify and whose lessons might fit me well. To be specific, being an adult human male with brown skin and nappy hair in the USA who has and was raised with limited resources. I knew better than to take much advice from those who don’t fit these characteristics because they have things at their disposal to aid them that I do not and that they do not always acknowledge. I know about systems and institutions built for my demise. I didn’t find those stories. So, I decided to be the change I wanted to see.
I know I’m not setting the best or perfect example. Despite my deeply rooted perfectionism and anxiety around rejection and ridicule I want to believe that in this case, something is better than nothing. Also, I don’t want my story to be told wrong or unheard. I don’t want to go out silently.
How To Be Super & Human.