So the year begins…

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The year 2019 was supposed to start on a good note, and to a point it did until I discovered that I wouldn’t be able to fully return to my studies like I’ve been planning to do for what seems like a lifetime now. This came to be because of what the academic system called “randomized document verification” at last minute, something I don’t want to relive by talking about it here, but it suffices to say that it is nothing but another arbitrary way of managing academia by way of elitism— and it shouldn’t happen to anyone in the pursuit of knowledge. The setback, of course made me incredibly angry, and it took a lot from me to turn that anger into useful motivation— After all, there’s only so much a person can take. Thankfully, if there’s one thing I know how to do is persevere— so I am now using the time I’m not spending on my own studies to make sure other underrepresented and marginalized academics are not kept from some of their goals.

Almost everyone knows by now that I don’t have the calmest of lives, in fact sometimes I really think some of us are just built for chaos. This, of course is nonsense that we tell ourselves to normalize the fact that for some of us stress and struggle seem to be a kind of normality. We all know life happens, it is just the way of the world, but I must admit my endurance is not what it used to be. For the last two years my life has been a mix of exciting opportunities, dreams come true, growth, as well as uphill battles. With the year 2017 starting by me being hit by that car (story here) to the full year of recovery (that wasn’t much of a recovery at all) followed by 2018, and all its negative revelations about people I loved and trusted— It’s fair to say it has been a bit stressful. It is worth mentioning however, that the negatives found a balance in all the great opportunities that came my way in the last 2 years. A lot has changed, for me as well as my son who is about to enter his adolescent years—and the changes have been not only positive but long time coming.

I do have to own up to the fact that, as satisfying as it is to finally be at a place in my life where I can certainly decide how most things will go, maybe even call a few shots, and be in a position that enables me to be for others; what I needed over the years especially in academia, this whole situation and its effects made me stop and take a hard look at myself, and in doing so I realized that as much as I talk about responsibility, surviving, thriving, and taking care— I don’t practice what I preach.

Slowly but surely I have been mentally, physically, and emotionally neglecting myself to the point where I have no say on what my body will feel next, and when. For all my talks of Self Care, I do not practice it as I should. Yes, I take the occasional walks, I watch my documentaries, I spend some hours online gushing over the beauty of the cosmos and my absolute love of science, but I’ve never given myself a chance to just… breathe. About 3 years ago I used to be the healthiest and strongest I’ve ever been my whole life, and it almost seemed effortless, but in reality I worked a lot for it. I took the time to take care of myself, I avoided people when I needed to, and I indulged in my passions and rebelled in the idea that I owe no one my energy and time. Somehow after the accident, I lost sight of the importance of caring for oneself, I started to think of it as selfish, I became consumed by the idea of constant work, and the notion of surviving situations, not truly caring for my own well being became normal. I have finally decided to stop, to literally stop and work on myself.

Today marks a new day, in which my value as a human being doesn’t simply rest on an external locus of identity meassured by how many hours I’m pouring into academia and social justice, or how others perceive me. How you feel at the end of your days is the only thing that matters, so I must turn back, and instead find that well managed and centered endeavor I was once in. Only then I can become the best scientist, mother, and advocate I can be.