The introvert and the contradictions

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It always amazes me how much of an introvert I really am, especially when immersed in social spaces and places. Many of my gente y estudiantes wouldn’t believe this at all, but I am.

Familiar voice in the back of my mind fades in: “Are you serious Ms. ContraSantolina?” “Do you really feel nerviosa y con ansiedad?”

“Ay si!” Especially so in these enormous conferences featuring the so-called (and many self-proclaimed) academic giants and many of the groupies that closely follow and cater to them. [Serio, academics have groupies, I’m watching some run after one now. “Can you please, please sign my special edition hardbound copy of your so amazing book that has been reprinted 3 times?!!”]

Over the years while in attendance at these academic spaces I’ve often wondered (sometimes out loud but much more in my head) – “what’s wrong with me?”

A few years back I finally realized that it’s not me and that I’m actually okay. I had to make peace with the fact that my priority in life wasn’t and will not ever be to become part of some radical educator clicka. Yes I said it – clicka.

[Aside: for those of you who have not been ilustrad@s enough in life to know what clicka is, here’s the definition straight from el Urban Dictionary: A crew or set. It means the same thing as clique.]

Man I can’t help but feel the uncomfortable flashback come on that takes me head deep into the high school days when I often felt the same way.

Could academics be a reflection of some form of higher level trite popularity contest? And if it is, I’ll never fit in and at this point in my life, don’t really want to. [Question to self: have I ever really wanted to?]

When I feel the introvertic [yes just coined a new word!] wave come over me, I have to remind myself that as I uncomfortably share a table with a complete stranger who keeps mumbling under his breath, that the reason why I paid my own way to get over to the ‘windy city’ was so that I could learn a new trick or two to put up my ‘angry’ and critical educator sleeve.

But as I sit here in this big-time corporate hotel writing this piece, I also think about all of the contradictions floating about.  Yeah bien chingones talking all that about race, capitalism, and oppression but yet here we are playing under one of their roofs. Imagine if we all [or at least just the race radical chingones] refused to give one talk in spaces that were created and constructed without us in mind.  Oh, that is except for all of the cleaning crew and cooks they absolutely need to run the damned place.

As I sat in the back of the packed room full of academes listening to the keynote, I kept wondering what  could possibly be going through the minds of the older Latino and Black men who were invisible to many of those in attendance so ironically hearing a talk on justice.  These strong and weathered brown faces were the backdrop to it all and our social justice critique as they were tasked to pick up after every single one of us, including the race/class radicals.

Isn’t all of this a contradiction to what we are preaching and teaching? All of this just doesn’t make sense to me.  Maybe this is why I tend to enter the heavy duty introvert mode in these academic spaces.

Big sigh… Deep breath…

Recovering-from-academics-y-que [Wait a minute, I wasn’t ever officially one. Right?]

#lablogadora  #chicana  #recoveringacademic

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