I am on a mission to experience joy in my journey through life. To that, I am learning what makes me feel whole. Bell Hooks’s Sisters of Yam: Black Women and Self-Recovery is leading the way too. From her, I learnt that I am moved by passion. It’s in everything I do these days. Reading and learning about myself, using words to shape my life, my own way, my hurdles and my hopes, makes me hungry for opportunities about the life-force inside of me. Passion has also helped me break free from the clutches of others. More than ever, I am reclaiming my life, reclaiming my dreams, reclaiming my peace and telling my story along the way. My sense of self is becoming more in union with those I call my community. For them and only them, I am moved by passion.
I am also moved by two things storytelling and grantwriting. I didn’t realize how both helped me love and live my life on my own terms. But they do. With stories, I am able to counter the narratives you may have of me. With stories I insert myself into herstory (her and story) so that myself has the final say on what they, you, anyone, say about me. With stories I am free to be me. When minds are decolonized, anything is possible. Nothing I say about myself can be used in contempt against me. Its my tools after all, sharpened in my hands. Just as knowing what you do is equally important with claiming your space in academia, it is so true that none of this will ever make sense, if you don’t understand your why, your reason for being, your core. So in meeting the challenge to create a space where I flourish, I am passionate about writing grants. It helps me understand my core a lot better. It is also storytelling at its finest. For to convince strangers to give you money, requires a very beautiful story worth telling over and over again. And when you have that story, once your iron out it’s kinks and make sense of its arc, it’s constraints, it’s opportunities, you will find out that it’s all connected to the core, the why, the reason for being. It’s an endless journey, this journey, my journey.
The ability to combine my pleasure for storytelling and grantwriting is the forth dimension to my life. Some may know me as a mother. I value this life immensely. Others may know me as a wife. I equally love this role with my partner in crime, my fiercest critic who is ready to tell me as it is, even when it hurts. Some truths about oneself are different when they come from those who love you. Others may know me as a professor, a researcher. I remain grateful for the opportunity to serve in this capacity. But few know me as a storyteller and a grant writer . It’s my best asset, my greatest secret, my strength and place of safety. In my stories and my grants, I am most alive whether I succeed or fail. I learn so much about my possibilities just because I tried. It’s this dimension that I intend to spend time honing. A movement is coming. One that will expand this experience of joy, the experience of companionship, one story at a time, one grant at a time, all of which I have learnt from this journey through life. It will be led by women for women and I will be part of it. Putting this movement together will be the greatest joy of my life. For know, keep this journey, my journey, our journey in mind.