As I continue down this road towards graduate school many scary truths must be confronted through different avenues of self reflection, conversation and personal growth.’Tis is life I suppose.
Today wasn’t as typical as most days, getting up about an hour earlier to make it to a rescheduled barber appointment where I would start my morning with a fresh haircut and good conversation. My barber who I hadn’t seen in about a month told me congrats on my acceptance to graduate school and we proceeded to talk about life, family, sports, and world events. Watching ESPN’s First Take after a debate about excessive celebration, Skip and Stephen tackled and rarely agreed on the issue the NFL Washington Redskins’ refusal to change the teams name. My barber noted, this year in the NFL an N bomb will warrant a 15 yard penalty, yet a team name will not be changed even though legitimate organizations, tribes and American’s have cried foul. I guess money does change everything. Bad for business maybe?
This made me think more about the narratives of Native American’s here in their own land and how the story is told. What happens when we water down cultures and minimize them to the point where we can say we visited a handful of them, left gifts and opened up a foundation so any harm done should be forgiven similar to what Daniel Snyder is currently in the process of doing. Nevertheless my cut was finished, and it was time for work.
A short talk with a co-worker on future plans about work and graduate school led me to understand that I am seeking employment that will assist my growth technologically and mentally. After this discussion I was on my way to lunch with a recently admitted PhD candidate to talk about funding… So I thought.
I’d heard many great things about this woman and was eager to meet her. Although my initial question about how to fund my graduate degree wasn’t directly answered this woman turned my world upside down, picked me apart, broke my down, and picked me up only to put me back together again. It felt like a conversation with my older brother or father poking at all of the holes in my thinking only to remind me of all the work I still needed to do, and the questions left to be answered. She agreed we’d continue to meet, which I am grateful for. While I had been somewhat mentally deflated I still felt I truly enjoyed the conversation. Furthermore I am up for the challenge and can’t wait to show and prove.
After work I met with one of my mentors and a good friend to listen to Teju Cole speak about the American re-release of his book “Everyday Is For The Thief”. His talk was inspiring and left many new thoughts. For example his assertion that the evolution of art as grown-up’s being to intersect all of our passions into one gave my mind a stir. Of speaking honestly about Nigeria he broke down how the country was built on the corruption that served outside entities and so when the locals were finally independent the same traits had trickled all the way down to gate attendants. America was not an exception, too often our savior complex along with two branches of our government being owned by corporations and lobbyist assured that we were just as corrupt he noted. Two things that will stick with me are the need for American’s to understand that we are equal’s to anyone and everyone with whom we deliver aid or assistance too. As human beings we must always remember this. Teju’s quote that he was “tired of being a grateful African” were words to live by. We must speak truth loud and clear if we ever expect change.
Overall today was a long but life is good.