It was one of my first and biggest healing experiences in a long relationship with my critic part, the part of me that learned early on to be suspicious of following my joy. My relationship with this part of myself has stretched on long after attaining that MFA degree, and yet that conversation in particular set the course for my life in ways that bring me profound gratitude. I, in fact, got accepted into a graduate creative writing program against a lot of doubt in my ecosystem and moved to Louisiana where I worked for the Southern Review, taught undergraduate writers at a large state school to fall in love with their ideas, and met William Winters, who I later married. While in Louisiana, I also joined AmeriCorps, working with Anna West, Chancelier Xero Skidmore, and Donney Rose to support more young people to be writers, and I acquired a ton of social change technology: asset-based community development, resiliency-driven participant-centered advocacy, and restorative justice conflict management.
After moving to California with William, I started chipping away at my identity as an artist and a writer in the work world, and over the last ten years, I have launched myself as a freelance editor and writer who now supports global progressive, feminist movement work (activisteditor.com), as a visual storyteller (www.newpolyanna.com), as a self-made healing arts writer-researcher (www.livelikelove.net/blog), and as a budding biographer (more news on this to come!) for my own mother, Karen Hagrup.
And my body has never forgotten the feeling of that moment standing on that sidewalk with my advisor — a feeling that brought me back from the brink of giving up on myself multiple times. I love you, Achy Obejas, and everything you have given to my life — your own beautiful words that you generously share with the world and that we get to rest in, your contagious creative spirit, and a personal critical access point in my body to believing in myself and to conquering my internal judgment monster.
Thank you and so much more.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Who helps you join with, understand, soothe, and ally with your critic part?