Part 1 of 3 in our series on "What I am working on this summer"
Stacey Gibson, Educator/Independent Consultant
The beautiful struggle of the CESA conference is the full-bodied volume of old world, save your soul ancestral directives tangled and tossed with the thick new growth of inquiry/answers and explorations. Having attended the Chicago conference in 2013 and the recent Toronto conference, I am left with wonders, both heavy and airy. I returned to Chicago eager to seek out conversations and practices that did not soft step what it means to inhabit, embody, exorcise, resist, and check for the tentacles of colonization.
To live in a ‘third’ world* seductively and nastily masquerading as a ‘first’ world ain’t for the faint. So for me one way in/out is to massage the sweet spots of creativity, drive, silence and such and allow them enough breathing room when they reveal and unveil themselves. One of the many sweet spots, at least for now, is the ink pen. Since returning from CESA, some recent short fiction pieces I have been editing, creating, and revising are a series of desire/love stories that are ripe with love giving, love taking, love sharing, love leaving, love making, and love movement. Some of the stories have been in process for a longer period of time and others are fresh blooms. Then comes another sweet spot of how to balance those love-ing stories with a second project which is writing a long overdue critical essay on colonizing intellectual experiences by race gazing and fetishizing the darker body in school classrooms.
While the bodies of writing are seemingly different, as I work on each project I am intrigued by the way closeness, proximity, and the negotiation of perceptions fold into each piece of writing. These developing projects are propelling me to read silences both with intense ferocity and tender eyes, for it is in the silences that unique and virtually untraceable manifestations of power are revealed, wielded, normalized, and enacted.
Recently I’ve been reading older interviews of James Baldwin and watching his televised debates. Among the many ideas I have formed based on his oration is that to write about and say ‘the thing’ that results from ‘the shattering’ is the practice and process of what I call “whole-ing”. There is a more whole truth to tell, say, and write than any digitally mutilated bits, bytes, and pics can offer. There reverberates a more whole sense of what is and is not happening on this planet; a sense that is just as much in the belly as it is in the mind as it is in energy meridians. And finally, there is a whole-ing of the self that is no longer negotiable. Much depends on being whole, full beings in a world of systems often trading on magnificent caches of that which is shattered. As I enjoy thinking about this process of “whole-ing” it is not to amplify victimization as much as it is to practice the most natural thing ever which is to be and love the whole entire self.
While there are a host of other projects and realities in my to-do queue (facilitating anti-oppression workshops, college tours with my child, writing conference reviews, rethinking relationships, writing proposals, reading my newly revealed Meyers Briggs profile (the hell?), visiting mountains), it is these pieces of writing that help me practice steadiness and manage the urgent necessity and natural inclination towards being my own whole self. Head nods and a raised fist to the daily grind of being true, whole, and free. That is what this summer has provided for me thus far.
Notes: *Third world & first world references are, to me, false indicators, a textbook example of mislabeling in order to perpetuate tomfoolery and confusion.
Caribbean born Stacey Gibson is a Chicago area parent, educator, and consultant who is committed to whole story truth-telling. Her teaching experiences with children, adults, parents, and administrators in both public and private schools provides her with unique access to vastly different educational models. Though Gibsonholds a M.Ed in Educational Leadership, her deepest learning comes from ongoing discourse, incessant reading, and unapologetic questioning. Long live the cipher! She would like to thank the nameless ones who preceded her because she knows she could not be without them.