I was a super shy, cling on to my mama kid living in the shadows of a very young mother who was set on standing on her own after a horrible marriage and divorce and finding her barbaric roar. I think she used to go to Aikido back in Lahaina and at 25 (I was 6 or 7), I watched her take her black belt test at the Waialae Dojo. People came at her and she had to block them, submit them, throw them. It was the most badass show ever. I always wanted to go to Aikido, but the one time I tried, it was so scary I never went back, but I admire that kind of discipline and tenacity and wish that I intrinsically had that in me.
I think what I learned from her was a tenacity for self preservation and independence, but the discipline part still eludes me. I am hoping that by writing it down and saying it out loud through this medium, I hold myself accountable so here is why I want to do it and what I am trying to do.
I had my chancellor for our university, Dr. Doris Ching, come and talk to my students about her journey as an educator and one thing that she said really made me think of my own mom. It was about discipline. My chancellor shared that when she was getting her doctorate, she left her husband and sons behind in Hawaii so was determined to finish and get her degree within the year that she was gone. In order to do this, she would read a textbook a day, highlight and just keep reading. She sometimes didn't understand what she was reading, but she read anyway. She said when it was time to do her comprehensive exams, suddenly at the test everything that she had been doing to prepare, the hours and months of her reading discipline just started clicking into place. She says she still tries to read a professional article everyday and now she can understand and make connections to the pieces much more quickly.
I always feel like I am the anti-intellectual. I am not as well read or as widely read as all of my colleagues. I always thought I was a writer, but to get writing done is a major chore for me. I take forever to edit in my head and I am always more interested in how it's read, the aesthetics of the experience, than in the logic in which I format my argument so my husband always is taken aback when I say I am writing a paper and he reads it like an article (because he is analytical so he actually has an idea of how these two genres are really different). In my quest for self preservation and preservation of my own voice and my own philosophy, I tend to forge my own path, but I feel like in the process, I am not giving enough respect to the Indigenous women and men, philosophers and academics who have already forged the path. I want to stop fighting the invisible borderlands and start tuning in to the vibrations around me. I want to make connections to my own thinking as well as understand those who challenge my own thinking through these professional readings. I see them as "sacred" readings because I need to have faith that this piece, whatever it is, was meant for me to read in this time and in this place; there is more at work in the universe than my random choosing of articles that caught my eye. I want to fine tune my ear to superhighway of mana'o flowing in cyberspace.
In other words, I want to discipline myself to read every day in order to honor the sacred in these readings and write about those connections to my own living work whenever possible.
I said it, I am aware, eyes open, and now I have to do it. Conscientization. It's not enough to know. Now, what you going do girl? Taking action. I will be 49 in half a year which means if I do this for one year, I will almost be 50. I want to make this practice of reading and writing both sacred and routine (like brushing my teeth) before I hit that landmark.
If you have articles I should read, please pass them on. Day 1.