Tag: work

Splendour and Chaos

I am just starting the second year of my PhD and last Thursday was the first appointment of the year with my advisor. Before then, I was asked to write a summary of the research I had done during the first year so it could be reviewed by a research committee. I can gladly say that both the committee and my advisor were satisfied with my work and thought everything I had done so far was convincing and sensitive. They also concurred in saying that it was very clear and explained carefully… And that’s where I get to the title of this post.

Capture d_écran 2017-10-21 à 21.52.31

Because inside my head, everything looks quite the opposite. There’s a chaos of thoughts and doubts hiding behind the splendour of the summary that I gave to the professors. There is something about writing a dissertation that creates messes and confusions inside your brain. Sometimes, it feels as though I were facing a large ball of wool that I didn’t know how to disentangle. I have the intuition, deep down, that this ball, once it is  unravelled, will be the long, beautiful thread which will hold the thesis together, but now, it just lies there twisted on my brain-floor.

And I do have most of the elements I need to write and make an outline, but all of the ideas just keep floating inside my brain, and they are unwilling to come together. It scares me… All of these doubts… Teachers say it’s natural and healthy. Keats even believed the ability to remain in doubts and uncertainties was key to writing poetry and to easing the burden of being unable to understand everything about life. I agree with that… I really do, but what happens when positive, philosophical doubt turns into questions about whether or not you are capable ?

I suppose you have to push ahead. You have to take a step back and reflect on what you’ve done so far and how you can go on. You have to let the fog scatter and clear. And you have to write, even without a plan or a specific goal, just to see where the ideas take you. And hopefully one day, it will all make sense. So if there’s any piece of advice I can give myself, and anyone else, it is just that:  DON’T GIVE UP !

Love,

Sacha 💙

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Starting (almost) over

It has almost been two years now since I wrote the very first article in this blog, and I was very proud of it at first. I would post almost every week – there was something exhilarating about it! But I have been stuck… Looking over the posts, I could see no direction. Something was simply missing… Perhaps it was my rambling too much, or perhaps there was element of repetition… Maybe it was the long pauses in-between posts… I can’t really tell what it was, but it definitely was there – Just blots of ink and erratic strokes…

Abstract 101
Confusion – Watercolour and Ink on Paper

So I thought to myself: “Do you want to give up the blog? Do you want to start a brand new one?” The answer to both questions was a definite “NO”, but I did want to change it.

I turned my computer on this morning and trashed a number of posts I had written; I will probably use them again later and I want to make sure that I have all of the poetry saved in Word file as well. I changed the theme, and the header image. I created two new categories, which you can find in the menu section on the top right corner of the blog, and decided on what I wanted to do differently.

First, I am hoping to write more about mental illness and love, my two new categories. I will try to be more consistent in writing the blog as well. I love writing – poetry, prose poetry, prose, essays… anything that sparks the candles in my brain, but if you don’t ever write, you can’t get better at it. It’s just like drawing and painting… if you never do it, there’s no chance you’ll ever get anything out of it. So yes, I am going to try and make sure I write every week and post a painting or drawing with each piece too. I have been telling myself I would do it for months on end now… I am just a little tired of telling myself I’ll do things… I think I’ve said that in another post, but who knows? I may succeed this time. So wish me luck and perseverance 🤒

Love,

Sacha ⭐️

Teaching, Studying and Living Feminism

Part 2: Studying Feminism

Hello and welcome to second part of Teaching, Studying and Living Feminism!

Working on gender equality and feminism with my students  showed me how easy it can be to teach feminism, but also to study it. I am not saying, however, that the subject itself is an easy one to manipulate, quite the opposite actually. One may too quickly come to biased conclusion or make shortcuts that should not be made. It is a fine and fragile line between learning about feminism and making close-minded statements about it.

What is easy though is finding sources. Today, you can pick from a variety of sources to study gender equality, queer theory and feminism. Of course, there are the classics, like Virginia Woolf’s A Room of One’s Own or Judith Butler’s Bodies that Matter. Then, there are many newer releases that you can take a peek at, like Roxanne Gay’s Bad Feminist.

The amazing thing about being provided with an Internet connection is that if you do not know where to start, someone will have a list of the best feminist reads ready for you. Kristian Wilson published one I enjoy quite a bit on the Bustle website: 69 Books Every Feminist Should Read. I obviously haven’t read all 69 books on the list, I am still learning and studying, but what I like about this list is that it spreads from Mary Wollstonecraft to Roxanne Gay and does not concentrate on white female writers only, which I believe is essential if you are going to study gender equality. How could you focus on women and their social issues and forget that a vast majority of them also has to deal with issues of racism, religious proscription or homophobia?

Here are some of the books from the list I really want to read:

  1. Nightwood, Djuna Barnes
  2. The Feminine Mystique, Betty Friedman
  3. The Hidden Face of Eve, Nawal El Saadawi
  4. Bad Feminist, Roxanne Gay
  5. Sister Outsider, Audre Lorde
  6. The Beauty Myth, Naomi Wolf
  7. Mom & Me & Mom, Maya Angelou
  8. Americanah, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
  9. The Second Sex, Simone de Beauvoir
  10. Full Frontal Feminism, Jennifer Valenti (because that cover!!!)

Then, there are blogs, websites, articles… Sometimes, I feel overwhelmed with the sheer amount of information you can find, even just here on WordPress. But it is also here that I have read some of the best pieces I had read in a long time. A good example is the blog language: a feminist guide, which had a very good article about whether men and women wrote differently and how showing that you are a woman writer could impact your chances of getting published. And impacting your chances it did…

So that’s why studying feminism still matters today. Sure, advances have been made. Sure, many women can now have a career and wear what they wish to wear… But not all can. And women are still scared. They still tend to remain silent while men speak. And if reading about feminism and gender equality can do one thing, it can open people’s eyes to the issues all women face and help us all find solutions and fight for a fairer world.

Hoping to see you soon for the last part of the series 🙂