carrie kholi

Here’s How to Stop Hiding.

The thing about starting a blog about grad school, was that it forced me to be accountable to you all.  The thing about digital space, is that in order to stop being accountable to you, all I had to do was just stop writing.

Well, I didn’t stop writing. But I certainly stopped writing about grad school. 

The thing about being an overachieving academic who deeply cares about literature - and cares even more deeply about black women writing, and writing about literature - is that, even when not being responsible to you, I must be accountable to myself. 

And so I still have these nagging feelings about my relationship to the academy. About how the academy stifles my relationship to other items on the agenda of what I consider my life’s work. And still, I know I’m compelled to write in ways only acceptable (and accessible) to those who, too, have experienced this same journey.

You know, the one where for 7-10 years you convince yourself that you’re not right enough, that your thoughts are all unoriginal, and then somehow, at the end of it, you realize you were onto something all along. And for that, they call you a doctor. 

Anyways … this wasn’t supposed to be about me. It’s really for anyone else who’s experience of the academy sent them running. 

The thing about the degree, is that no one can take it from you. The thing about the ideas, is that they are your own, and only fully articulated when uniquely expressed by you. 

The thing about fear is that it’s false. And also that it’s something you’ve felt before. And also it’s not worth not facing. 

If you must write, write. If you must teach, teach. If you must destroy the academy and all that it stands for by any means necessary, in order to rebuild it as a safe and accessible space for all. Yea, do that too. That’s hella necessary. 

Whatever it is, remember that you need not hide from it. You wouldn’t have been called if it weren’t for you. You wouldn’t hear the calling if you weren’t ready. 

So, be still. And listen. And then interrogate. And then listen some more. What are you being called to do?

Spoiler: this isn’t just about the academy. But, you knew that.