Unfortunately, I wasn't mentally ready for the stress. I lost thousands of dollars in a real estate scam. I was homeless for about 2 months until a sister friend allowed me to stay with her until I got back on my feet. And I didn't like my professors---one was an overzealous recent PhD, while the other was a professor who should've retired when jherri curls went out of style.
I lost about 30 lbs the first year as I was coping as a hungry student, then gained it back and then some the following three. I was lonely. I was landlocked, and I was broke.
My program was stressful and unsatisfying. At times I suffered from what I now know was depression. I was in a program of predominantly black women and we all were experiencing similar symptoms of extremelys stressful lives. Ironically, we all focused on studying women, and soon we became the subjects of our own research.
We weren't funded, so we had to work. And since we were in school, we were underemployed. Most of us were ridiculously single, and garnered horrible credit in our search to get a degree, and we were out-of-shape amongst other things.
We leaned on each other to get through. It was during our sessions of bicker, bitching and justified angst we found temporary solace in the post-graduate insanity.
Nevertheless, there were some things that we had difficulty in navigating as we sought mentors to get over the obstacles. I have graduated from that institution and am finishing up my PhD and still working through stressors, and life now as a married woman and stepmother.
Please no violins needed as I narrate. I am being honest about black women shedding superwoman superficiality and being human; especially we who take genuine pride in what we do and our families, our various lives will always bleed into each other. We are looking for healthier ways to exist with these inescapable facts.
This is why I am so happy about a conference that helps black women in the academy and women in corporate American learn how to find balance. I am always looking for sisters to connect with and really forge friendships that will last outside of ivory towers and corporate walls.
The First Annual National Black Women’s Life Balance and Wellness Conference will take place July 15-17, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia in the Atlanta University Center. It is expecting 150 women from all walks of life to engage in 3 days of networking and woosah-ing.
It is a conference that is exploring life and career balance with a refreshing twist. The coordinators are ". . . building our program around the talents and knowledge of conference attendees." Wonderful idea, the participants have a real stake in cultivating the sessions. Thank goodness.
Let me give the folks at this conference a little heads up. Please leave the stuffy, bourgeoisie, superwoman act and the pseudo "sister-girl" rant at home. I went to a conference for black women in the academy at Rutgers University two years back and left feeling disappointed. Us sisters want substance and authentic connections that expand outside of Ivory Towers and corporate walls.
If Eco.Soul can be there, I will. If I am not, I will be sending love and light.