The Queer Futures Collective
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Sunday sentiments/

 
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SUNDAY

SENTIMENTS/

#thoughtfeelings

 

Hubble Spies Glowing Galaxies in Massive Cluster. Credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA.

 

 

SUNDAY SENTIMENTS/// is a weekly gesture of rebellion, an offering, a disruption to the present. It is a site to develop a practice to share/exchange radically vulnerable thoughtfeelings and build communal knowledge from it. We believe in the invaluable potential of what we know that is still raw, unpolished, a draft, in the particular search of strategies to inhabit our disabled bodymindspirits with wisdom and kindness.

 

This is an invitation to open genuine conversations about what we–as disabled queer/trans people–long, need, and dream. It is an alternative reality when/where we can create radically vulnerable collaborative knowledge and foster communal intimacy through fragmented memories, flashbacks, presentiments, and ecstatic raptures . 

 

thoughtfeelings

 

graduate school has made me sick.

Graduate School has made me sick.

Has led to now 3 years of constantly being unwell, constant crying, constant bodymindspirit pain.

Or perhaps it was my years of anorexia?

Was it the trauma? The constant fear? The ever-present reality of death?

Did I make myself sick?

I keep returning to this thought, that my own self-harming behaviors have made me sick.

That because I tried to make myself disappear for so many years, this is my body’s revenge.

I try to not separate my body from my mind, but it has become so hard because the pain is too much. And maybe that is the difference now. I know I can handle the mental pain, I’ve done that for years. But this body. This aching, stabbing, pinching, burning, throbbing pain—it has consumed me.

And yet, how trauma has morphed into physical pain. Was this morphing necessary for it to be noticed? How often we repress and try to forget our mental and spiritual pain, but we can’t forget our bodies.

I say that grad school has made me sick, but I have always been sick.

Was always the kid in the nurse’s office, always needing to go home, always having bones out of place. So truthfully I am not sure what “healthy” looks like or feels like in my body.

I have always been sick and always had a distraction.

An abusive relationship that consumed all my time. All my energy went into staying alive and keeping someone else happy. All my energy went into survival in the form of working 40+ hours a week and going to school full time. That I can’t forget how miserable my undergraduate schooling was. Perhaps it felt different because I never spoke my reality into existence. I was so good at keeping my pain to myself, so good at only crying on public busses and manifesting my pain through starving and harming my own body.

These are different pains.

I am still learning to understand these new ones.

Graduate school has made me sick.

Because I thought I had left all my pain in the past. I thought that I was safe outside of Minnesota. I thought that I had reached my trauma limit….and yet.

And perhaps it’s just this last semester, that after years of dealing with chronic pain and illness without of medical professionals I am now faced with a handful of new diagnoses.

I am exhausted & I am overwhelmed.

Graduate school has made me sick.

Now I am back in full-time classes and it feels nearly impossible.

I forgot the energy it takes to be on campus 5 days a week.

I forgot the energy it takes to try and make new friendships and build relationships.

I forgot the energy it takes to push back against ableism in classrooms & meetings.

I forgot the energy it takes to bring people up to speed & acceptance of my disabilities and trauma. Forgot the energy it takes to disclose.

Graduate School has made me sick.

Has led to now 3 years of constantly being unwell, constant crying, constant bodymindspirit pain, constant fighting to not self-harm, constant pushing myself to do more work. And these realities do not make me unique. That when I open up these conversations with other grad students this is our “normal.”

Graduate school has made us sick.

Or perhaps just sicker?

And how can we attend to this?

I am lucky now in that I actually have insurance and am in a better place financially than I have been since I started my B.S. And then what does that say about the realities for ALL students in higher ed? That we experience food & housing insecurity, lack or insufficient access to medical help, that we work 40+ hours a week, that we can barely make it through our classes without sleeping—how much can our bodymindspirits take?

And that this is all some “right of passage”?

Beyond what is framed as “being a student” the realities of our lives outside of the classroom. The reality that most all of my interns and students have experienced sexual, physical, emotional, familial, financial abuse and trauma. What does it mean to want to care for these students when I still haven’t found a way to guard myself from this pain? Ways to guard myself from flashbacks and re-experiencing my own trauma?

How can we hold space for all this pain in our classrooms? How can we attend to each other while also trying to attend to ourselves?

How can we center care, kindness, deep listening, and healing in academia?

How can we do the work of making radically accessible & trauma informed classrooms and spaces?

How much can we give before there is nothing left?

How raw will I become from teaching with raw openness?

Graduate School has made me sick.

And what can we do about this?

About the fact that we are forced to/ taught to desire and strive for actions that make ourselves sicker. We are also complicit in making ourselves unwell.

That we want to be productive, we want to be published and attend conferences and be involved on campus and be prepared for class and make our professors proud of our work.

We want to be “successful”

But we all know what comes along with that success, don’t we?

We talk about burnout so much it can’t possibly surprise us when we do—burn out.

We talk about the need for self care and community care—we write articles and blog posts and tweets & instagram captions about this, but are you listening? Is your department listening? Is administration listening? Are our health care providers listening?

We must remember that this is also NOT all on us.

There is a duality to what survival means in academia: that it is success and living.

Death is always already in the room, in our pasts, in our present realities.

Academia is haunted by the continuous past/present/future of suicide—but will it help us now?

I don’t even have the answers for myself here.

I am just sick and sad and lonely and unwell and in pain.

The only thing I do know is that I am not alone.

Perhaps I have found consolation in that?

We are collectively sick together, have been sick and been made sick.

And what can we do with that?

—Sav.


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