I have finally finished the rough draft of my book chapter which is due FRIDAY!  The last section is less polished than the beginning because I literally just finished writing it.  The paper is 36 double spaced pages with almost 3 pages of references.  It is too long by 11 pages.  My professor said I would end up with too much.  I didn’t want to believe him, but I guess (to use a cliche’) the proof is in the pudding.  Here is the first section of that pudding as it now appears.

The Heart of Darkness

It is a powerful calling, this Darkness called Sleep. It lulls.  It is a siren song, sounding so sweetly yet so deadly.  I cannot keep my head up.  It is an act of will, one that I am failing at.  I can think one thought:  to sleep.  I want my death sleep.  It is a place of no dreams, a place where I am just gone.  It is three or four hours of nothingness, of blackness.  My two king-sized bed pillows on my queen-sized bed encase my head in my grave.  My heavy comforter’s weight anchors me to the physical world.  I am gone.  I no longer have to pretend to be happy.  Here, I cease to exist.  I can die for a time.  I awake.  I am not refreshed, but I am not searching for metaphorical death as a means of survival.  It is better this way.  It is less permanent than suicide.  It helps, I imagine, until the doctor changes my medication again and the new antidepressants kick in.  It was through extensive reading and therapy over many years that I finally understood that others felt exactly how I felt.  There were fragments.  Pieces.  Ripped.  Torn asunder.  Melted in the fire of labels, of complexity, of misunderstanding.  Pieces shed one by one in an attempt to fit in.  To assimilate.  To belong.

Because of my Literature by Women of Color course that I ended up in completely by chance during the Spring 2012 semester and the Third Wave Feminism readings that I did for that course, I have discovered that there are many people in the world, and in America specifically, who are fragmented.  The fragmentation is a result of sexism, racism, homophobia, and a myriad of other  –isms and –phobias that seek to construct people as Other by maintaining the dominant culture.  It wasn’t until I overcame my fear of people thinking I was crazy that I began to share my own story.  I began to speak about my depression with coworkers and church members.  During this semester, as I studied the fragmentation of others and their search for wholeness, I even came to voice about my depression with my own high school students.  The essayists in Colonize This!, This Bridge We Call Home, and This Bridge Called My Back discuss their fragmentations, their otherness.  This paper explores the sense of awareness these texts provided the essayists and how awareness in any situation is the first step in moving out of oneself, away from fragmentation and towards wholeness.  In order to piece together our fragments as individual and as collective selves we must be vulnerable and engage in dialogue.  This awareness and dialogue result in an inner, spiritual transformation that allows us to make the personal political and to become whole.

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