I’m what they might call a multipotentialite. . .
I’m curious and interested in everything. On career days in high school, I gravitated towards the outlandish rather than the practical: paleontologist, space botanist, ancient languages linguist, and even ice-skating choreographer (yeah, that’s right). As I entered college as a first-generation scholar, I was ill-prepared on what to expect and completely overwhelmed by the notion that I would be selecting ONE major and this one decision would box me in for the rest of my life. I would need to graduate in four years and enter the ranks of adulthood, where I would work a job related to my major until I retired. As you might imagine, I panicked at this.
I took time off after my disastrous freshman year at a Big 10 university. I moved around a lot. I wrote a lot. I read a lot. I worked different jobs. I learned about learning, growth, mistakes, and community. I realized that there was a major out there already for me that wouldn’t box me in: English. No, I don’t hold a deep love for grammar (and I’ll happily explain the 5 Grammars to anyone who will listen as well as why “good grammar” is deeply rooted in colonial and racist histories), but I do love writing and reading and using both as a tool for growth and connection.
I remember writing my first poem in grade school after learning about the destruction of the rainforest. It was called “It Is Then I Weep,” and had a repetitive verse of the same phrase running through it. I continued to writing poetry for years but then became enamored with creative nonfiction, mostly autobiographical and have stuck to it since. I occasionally take a meandering walk in the land of fantasy–I authored my own (unpublished) trilogy with mysteriously not-old but also very-old Highland warriors in a monastery on the Isle of Skye avenging justice. Mainly, though, I enjoy learning about the world around me and writing my experiences because that’s how I learn and grow.
Reading, too, has always opened new perspectives and ideas, allowed me to travel and explore, and be curious all from the comfort of a cozy, quiet place.
An English degree honed my love of writing and reading–that sense of curiosity and wonder I can’t seem to shake– into a practiced, researched methodology for critically engaging with the world–the people, the places, the cultures, the ideas. I realized it never was about me not knowing “what I wanted to be when I grew up,” so much as it was that I didn’t need to be defined by a job title because how I wanted to be in the world was so much more important to me than what.
In graduate school, I focused on the how through rhetoric. Rhetoric is a way to understand and do all human meaning-making and interaction. And cultural rhetorics, in particular, is all about relationships, connections, and community. It’s who we are together, how our stories relate or don’t, and what stories get privileged or even hidden and why. When the professional community I had become a part of began to fall apart, I made studying why and how my thesis.
As I moved into leadership in the community, my thesis became a theory and a practice for doing leadership and administration in a decolonial, antiracist, socially just–KIND–way that prioritized individuals and how individuals can make and shape communities of practice. I did my secondary research, I engaged in primary research through the sharing and the telling and the retelling and revising of stories.
I conceived and developed Kindness Week as a way to deliberately confront and interrogate how we connect, why we don’t, what get’s in the way? Kindness Week bore other long-standing programs such as Difficult Conversations Social Justice Book Club. Suddenly, the community that had been destabilized and full of mistrust and low morale transformed to one that could engage meaningfully in conflict, even when it felt bad, and that could talk about hard things because those are necessary to learning and growth, especially in a community committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion.
All good things must come to end, however, and the pandemic’s personal and professional impacts have been profound. I’m leaving academia, even though I never thought I would, and I’m excited about what comes next. I know I want to keep writing and reading and growing for myself, but more importantly, I was to use my writing to support, guide, nurture, and lead people. I want to use my passion and curiosity to bring people together, to help people listen and understand and question and revise towards their goals, and to feel something tangible that helps them connect with each other and the world around us. I want to help people be messy, complicated humans among other messy, complicated humans.
So, after much trial and error and research, I am looking for positions as a writer and/or an editor. At the end of the day, I’m still that little girl who knew she was a writer as soon as she realized she could write a poem to help people understand how she felt.
A day where I can wake-up, read something interesting, write about it or something else, and send it out into the world, is a day I feel like I have superpowers. It’s a good day.
Interested in freelance writing or editing? Contact me!
- Linguistic Justice by April Baker-Bell
- Academic Ableism by Jay Dolmage
- Antiracist Writing Assessment Ecologies by Asao Inoue
- Radical Writing Center Praxis by Laura Greenfield
- Queering the Center by Harry Denny
- The Gift of Imperfection and Dare to Lead by Brene Brown
- The Kindness Diaries by Leon Logothetis
- Behave: The Biology of Humans at Our Best and Worst by Robert Sapolsky
- The Cultural Politics of Emotion by Sara Ahmed
- Doing Emotion: Rhetoric, Writing, Teaching by Laura Micciche
- A Cook’s Tour: Global Adventures in Extreme Cuisines by Anthony Bourdain
- Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation and In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan
- Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver
- Cosmos by Carl Sagan
- The Art of Happiness by Dalai Lama XIV
- Fahrenehti 451, Dandelion Wine, and The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury
- Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
- The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien
- The Giver by Lois Lowery
- Contact by Carl Sagan
- Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden
- Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling
- The Martian by Andy Weir
- “Should Writers Use They Own English” by Vershawn Young
- “Listening to Ghosts” and “Stories Take Place” by Malea Powell
- “The Standard English Fairytale” by Laura Greenfield
- “Reflections on/of Embodiment: Bringing Our Whole Selves to Class” by Trixie Smith, Katie Manthey, John Gagnon, Ezekiel Choffel, Wonderful Faison, Scotty Secrist, Phil Bratta
- “Re-imagining Communities” by Ahmed and Fortier
- “A Cyborg Manifesto” by Donna Haraway
- “Uncomfortably Queer: Everyday Moments in the Writing Center” by Elise Dixon
- “Contact Zones and English Studies” by Bizzel
- “Professing Multiculuralism: The Politics of Style” by Lu