... i began writing in the shower -
the office where I hold 10-minute appointments with myself
Naked, sudsy, staring into tiles of green and white,
"I will rock your socks off,"
hot redness flooding the most tender of my skin - my belly, boobs, and butt,
"I am the bomb,"
toothbrush swishing freshness in my mouth, foaming silence,
"My strengths are beyond (your) language."
I've learned to speak it, though, and speak it well:
a mastery demonstrated by lines on my CV,
I, a scholar on the threshold of the industry:
6 publications in esteemed scholarly journals,
a growing list of numerous presentations at competitive academic conferences,
2 books in the making,
and even grants
I've seen and edited many CVs,
I know I've done more than many others,
less than a few
in the context of the discipline, at least
... a record and a promise ...
that is something many of us
standing on the thresholds
But it's the me
standing in the shower
that will rock your socks off
and it's in the lines
that are not on my CV
where I am the bomb
For I don't speak your language
in the classroom
and it is there
where standpoint theory is lived and lives with no definition,
where no classifications of
are stronger than
"my future's in my pee,"
as one student citing another states
when she recalls finding out she was about to be a mother
becoming a stereotype, as she says
and I don't study her
(we talk, instead, mother-to-mother, different as we are)
she - the perfect subject
of the industry that thrives on the lives of others
standing on thresholds
of a son, age 5,
community college student
working in a call center
Latina who speaks no Spanish
who lives in a town with crime rates 3 times higher than the national average
who knows what "co-parenting" means
and states though she is single,
her son shall not grow up in a "single parent household" -
the single father of her son agrees
So, yeah, we can and do speak that language,
but also "my future's in my pee"
And it's not the number of classes that I've "taught"
and the 4.5s and higher on evaluations,
it's not even that I've grown from "professing" mutual learning to really learning from students -
No! I will rock your socks off because
#occupySU #ДАНСwithme #оставка
because home comes with me
because we live politics in the classroom
and that hurts, and stings, and makes students say
"I never thought I would be doing so much thinking in an introductory class,
or be allowed, encouraged even, to bring in
the future that was in my pee"
The me standing in the shower and on the threshold
chooses "pee" over/as "epistemology"
it is that me that continues all of the above
birthed a child,
can't wait to have another,
writes lullabies and poems
for an audience of one
that no academic aula will match,
cleans on her knees,
survived 4 years of undergraduate education on
the nutrition of free doughnut holes from Hornbacher's in Moorhead, MN
(and still don't feel comfortable calling that "poverty"),
is now a home-owner
who hasn't always been the most supportive of her husband,
especially not while writing through the two major DIY renovations of our little house
who hasn't always gotten the utmost of his support,
especially not when waxing over and over about
That I am also a daughter and a sister
who hasn't been standing next to her family when they've most needed her
who's been standing in the shower, instead, an ocean away
And I am also the daughter, and wife, and mother
who's been next to them at other times of both need and prosperity
getting dirty, stinky, forgetting showers
That I am a foreigner and a reluctant patriot
whose heart aches
in the midst of privilege and security
whose mind wanders
in the midst of dissertation concentration
and my simultaneous shame, and pride, and fear
to be the one
who can rock your socks off
and is still not doing it.
I am punctual, 10 minutes - done!
Clean and cleansed,
I step out showered:
brilliant for striving and struggling to live a daily life of care for others
a scholar writing care as communication
a teacher motivating care,
for, though sometimes frustrated, not one of us leaves the classroom disconnected.
The neat 6-7-paragraph structure of a cover letter
cannot contain this showered brilliance
and now, I over-wrote the 2-page limit.
Lily Herakova is a native of Bulgaria, currently living with her husband and son in South Hadley, MA. She is completing a PhD in Communication at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and teaches at Western New England University and Holyoke Community College. Bringing together her passions and interests in community building, critical pedagogy, and baking, she co-founded the Pioneer Valley Bread House, part of the Global Bread Houses Network, where bread-baking becomes the occasion and vehicle for social dialogue and learning.
Read more by
Opinions on Inside Higher Ed
Inside Higher Ed’s Blog U
What Others Are Reading