Wednesday, 13 December 2017

Personal/Professional

As my life consistently steers towards the academe, I thought I have forgotten to write the personal. In the same way as I strive to replace my colonial English with American spellings - as colour becomes color, and defence becomes defense, writing the personal has often become words of loss, much like the runny 'u' from 'colour' I was so used to as a child.

But of late, teaching made me realize that the personal and the academe are together after all. I saw sentences born out of lack of confidence congeal into inconclusive excuses of conclusions - a common trait among women, persons of color and the marginalized. It reminded me of my own undergraduate days, when I thought a good conclusion to an essay was in a secure summary, or in hiding behind the quotes of someone established in the field. After all, it's already so tough to find one's voice, let alone assert that in print. But more than that, it is so tough to realize that we have our own voice to assert if we want, and our personal can comfortably, beautifully and almost lovingly get entangled with our professional.

As an undergrad, my desire to segregate the personal from what I studied was intentional. I thought I could not exist in the real world if I let too much of the academe (even as I began to increasingly focus upon power relations in our everyday practices) to bleed into my personal life. Turns out, it is so much more liberating to let them freely converse with each other, and become one.