I've found it difficult to engage with these courses recently as a whole for various reasons, but the English class left me with a new set of frustrations. Thursday felt like a prolonged uncomfortable silence, one that was voluntary but unpleasant. I wanted to express my thoughts, but it doesn't feel right (safe?). I don't know how to frame these thoughts in a productive way, one fit for a classroom, without bringing up personal history that I'm not comfortable going into in this setting. I'm uncomfortable with how we're studying trauma in class and I feel excluded not being able to push aside my feelings to read Eva's Man academically. Not being able to engage with a convoluted text is one type of struggle, but trying to convert raw feeling and testimony is something else entirely. I can't be a vulnerable scholar; my feelings directly impact my ability to work. I feel like I'm expected to study and academize trauma without being able to live as a traumatized person, and that divide puts me at a standstill.
I'm not sure where to go next in this class. I didn't attend prison this last Friday because I didn't feel ready to, I couldn't in good conscious attend with these deep seeded doubts and fears still stuck inside me. I have to go back though, despite all of my avoidant tendencies. I want to return for those final visits with a purpose in mind beyond class credit, as it doesn't seem fair to do otherwise, to phone in my portion while my peers and club classmates are bringing their entire selves to each session. Do I need a purpose beyond being there to facilitate and create a space for others to exercise agency? Is the effect I have any less real if my intentions are more neutral than optimistic?