Serendip is an independent site partnering with faculty at multiple colleges and universities around the world. Happy exploring!

You are here

let us work in temples, and not force a home.

me.mae.i's picture

**I'm being really open here and doing a lot of work to contribute. so if you read this, please keep an open mind. and sit with the thoughts a little to really understand where im coming from**

hi everyone,

i've been reading through comments from class I missed. and *sigh* it's a lot. In the spirit of transparency, I just wanted to say that I couldn't make it to class on tuesday because I had to separate. Also, another reason why I left Monique's class on wednesday earlier (sorry nkechi and beatrice for disrupting your presentation, i know yall worked hard on it). But yeah, I couldn't engage. I needed some time to heal (fall break wasn't really that space) and really think about how to approach being in the class, at the institutions we're at, and just being in the world. 

so i turned to the book. and i feel like chapter 3 explains my absence this week and approach to this course very well. 

Truong writes,

"This is a temple, not a home. The thought-barely formed, fluid, just beginning to mingle with the faint smells introduced by the opening door-changes so quickly from prophecy to gospel that I am for a brief moment extricated from my body, made to stand beside myself, and allowed to serve as a solemn eyewitness. Ordinarily, I am plauged, like the Old Man, with a slowness. In him, it was triggered by cowardice. In me, it aggravated by carelessness. Ours is a hesitancy toward an act that is habitual and common to those around us: the forming of conclusions. We are, instead, weighted and heaviede by decades of observations. We gather them, rags and remnants, and then have no needle and thread with which to sew them together." (22)

This happens to me, every single class period. I sit in class ready to learn, ready to absorb, but then as soon as we are asked to engage it feels as if i am removing a part of myself and being forced to speak as only a traumatized witness. not a person, not a life force, not energy, not an intellectual. but as a black girl who has gone through some shit and was sent here to tell people she's gone through it.

why is that for brown girls? why are we are "solemn witnesses"? more specifically, why are black girls pitted at the bottom of the chart in which we compare. from the very first day in jody's class, we are asked to join race groups and see each other solely based on the outer body. the color of my skin dictated from the first day the level and amount of contributions i could give. which have mainly been emotionally and traumatically based. yall didnt know me. i know i didnt know yall for sure. but i was open to getting to know yall. but on a level that connected us intellectually. it could overlap with emotion and the personal, but i want to know how yall think and see. i want theories to prove and to understand. that's why im here. as a scholar, not a witness. and it feels so good to finally separate the two. 

We have been conditioned and taught that school will provide answers. That through our studies we will solve life. But that is completely and entirely off the map. With my religion major and connection to the spirit in my mind, we need to treat classrooms like temples. Places of practice, places to learn, to convert, to seek, to understand. there are rules and structures. a text to rely on. people designated to teach. However, we need to know that they are not homes. Frankly, Im at a point in life where Im losing home and its being transformed in a lot of different ways. But I see now that I will not get home in spaces at haverford and bryn mawr. maybe small temples, where i can learn and think and recieve connections. but definitely not a home. 

so im going to close with letting you all know that im probably not going to speak that much today in class. i will try to contribute. but even that will be a fraction. because right now, i'm working on finding home within myself. and i didnt realize until now, but it's impossible to do and go to our 360 classes. and it becomes even more difficult when you are studying concepts and are surrounded by people who (while they might not try to) constantly try to take to over your home, market it in the name of bettering their instituition, and come in when they are most certainly not welcomed. 



Franny's picture

thank you so much for this - thank you for being so open and honest. that's hard. i always appreciate your posts so much. take care of yourself <3

bluish's picture