I am silent. Though I speak with family and friends, and am even loquacious, I am silent.
Academia silenced me. Finding a new voice is a journey. Contemporary pilgrimage is a global phenomenon, and not merely an academic topic. But after being trained to think sociologically, and to engage in academic discourse, I seldom discover a space in which I share my ideas and feelings.
How will I create space for my voice? I garden. Potatoes, the most quiet and sullen of all earth’s plants are yielded up to my probing fingers.
Women’s voices are often silent until a space, a safe or sacred space, or merely a congenial space frees us to speak. Where are the spaces that we who are neither journalists, nor tenured academics, can speak, and speak profoundly? Who is our audience? Is our speech, as we stand outside of the institutional boundaries, freed of constraint? Or simply unheard.
I spent many years in graduate school: in coursework, at conferences, and writing papers and a dissertation, finally earning a PhD. Preparing for a future, perhaps a career, that does not occur, is a challenge to spirit and ego.
I have been silent, embarked on an inner pilgrimage. These words in this forum are one step to becoming less mute than the earthy spud. Digging in the dirt is satisfying and healing. Even the earthy potato eventually comes to the surface.
Finding my voice again is both an unearthing and a transformation. My transformation from a fat and satisfied caterpillar, munching on parsley and fennel is at hand. The emergent butterfly will surely be more beautiful and unbounded, yet perhaps equally unheard.
When you come out of graduate school, you find you are on the very lowest possible rung. Again.
It is daunting to find your place, and worse if you are a woman.
You will MAKE you place, but don’t chastise yourself and demand that it be fast, or it won’t be a true place. Just getting out from under other people’s right to make decisions which affect you is a major stressor. Be gentle with yourself: you owe yourself that.
Thank you ❤️