Saturday, July 3, 2010

U of T (In Which I Complain to a Professor About the M Ed Program)

Hi Professor X

I honestly can't tell if there is something here that will be offensive to you. Please take what I am writing in the spirit of honesty and doing my best to make it about me and my work. My intention is to create understanding. I have no quarrel with you but I do with the program, as you know. I am trying below to communicate my difficulty with fulfilling the requirements and my confusion over how to work that out even with you, an understanding and caring teacher...

I was thinking about your suggestion to consider doing 100 hours of work in order to fulfill the requirements of a course.

I am not being glib or purposefully obnoxious by contending that if this is the criteria, here at the University of Tasha, I have many PhDs by now.

The University of Tasha, solely populated by one idiot savant, has been a very very busy place lately. Full of idiocy and, if not knowingness, then at least a lot of awareness of idiocy. Here at the U of T, I am always busy and aware if not always able to act on my awarenesses in any "successful" way--success in terms of personal and societal and academic criteria hardly ever being achieved! Fail me now!

But your lonely researcher has been toiling: sincerely, effortfully, and with purpose.

Right now I am typing on a keyboard while barely being able to stay attached to the earth my body is so rapidly vibrating. Some of that is about taking the Human Body Project on the road in a few weeks, but there is more to it; I am always working at being myself in what the majority of my perceptions tell me is a hostile world. Twelve years ago (in a longer timeline of not-so-good vibrations) I felt like this and was diagnosed with sub-clinical depression (?) and prescribed drugs. With my many U of T PhDs I am now able to stay in this vibratory place drug-free. I do believe that one day it will even be enjoyable (it isn't yet; it's exhausting).

This is my work: I feel deeply, I stay in the shit, it takes me places. I could write about it and I could art about it and sometimes I do. I could also attach it to the work of other people and say they have influenced me but that is mostly not true at least not in the limited academic sense of doing that. I have said from the beginning of grad school that the biggest influences that happened for me were: illness, Kripalu Center's yogic teachings, and becoming a mother. These three educational contexts shifted me into a new paradigm forming me as a human being working toward wholeness. I am, of course, moved and interested by the work of many other writers, artists, and teachers but I am able to find and process that on my own when I want or need to.

Here at the University of Tasha, most meaningfully and importantly, I learn and research emotionally and in my body. This research experiment basically consists of one theory: how I feel is how I feel and is meaningful and is connected to a bigger picture and influences the bigger picture in a way that leads to greater human understanding.

Here's what drives me crazy:
-I'm good at this
-I hold an incredible amount of wisdom and knowledge about how the dots of our world connect
-I've created a completely original project, the Human Body Project, to share and grow my own and humanity's wisdom with no institutional support that puts my whole self on the line, not to mention my finances and, in some way, my family life.
-Also I know why I'm doing the Human Body Project and, while I actually could write essay after essay about what it connects to in education, in academia, in art, in non-violent protest, in activism, in feminism, in cultural criticism, in documentary filmmaking, in theatre, in ethical grey areas, in life writing, in curriculum, in health and wellness, in evolutionary biology, etc., I don't value that process as meaningful for my own education or use of time and energy. The project speaks more strongly for itself and is enough in itself. The fetish in academia for being more meta-critic than creator is not useful for me. My idiot savant skill is meta-criticism. I don't need more.
-I spend and have spent hours and hours and hours (decades) feeling and processing deeply
-I, Tasha Diamant, a wise and 48-year-old adult person, am not only satisfied with this process in the sense of I understand it to be the most educational way of being for me, it is also very valuable and very educational for others (supported by data, as they say)

But, unbelievably, in my education that I am paying for in time, energy, and money, it appears to not be enough to satisfy Master's of Education criteria.

In my M Ed I have been asked to be honest and when I have been let's say that my perception is that I have not been supported.

I get that you are trying to forge some kind of mutually satisfying agreement with me and I feel very appreciative of that even if I sound like I'm not.

It's just that what I need to do is feel feel feel and vibrate vibrate vibrate! That is the most educative process for me right now and I'm okay that I am the one deciding that. I don't want to have to explain and justify. The process is exhausting enough.

I mentioned before that I feel like I am continually straddling two paradigms and that it can be unbearable. We live a compartmentalized, fragmented, unnatural, masculine-energy reality and I am connected to the muchness of all. Most people, of course, are vaguely okay while being vaguely miserable with the first reality. And there are some people who are able to navigate or negotiate holding both--I see you and Y and Z as people who seem to be able to do this and I admire you all for it. And then there is me who struggles struggles struggles. I am only barely able to do both, e.g. in my "real" life I barely manage a household and kids in suburbanality-land.

Here's a far-out, unsubstantiated-by-clinical-studies belief I hold: I am one of the people who is moving us into that connected to the muchness of all paradigm. I believe that some of us are doing that work for others. I believe that my illnesses and intense feelings are like a filter for those who don't feel. When I started to understand that I was in a deep healing and learning process that goes beyond my own self I was finally granted a layer of sanity and non-desperation that did not exist in my previous life. I still struggle struggle struggle with insanity and desperation but there is a strong and determined part of me that knows that I am moving myself and the world forward (I do at least have the "data" for this contention from people who have experienced Human Body Project).

My point is: If hard work and hours and results are the criteria I should be good to go. And if they're not, does it not seem reasonable that some explaining and justification to me, rather than from me, are in order? Ha ha. In other words, I believe there is no way to reconcile what is best for me with the parameters of the institution.

I know we talked about some options for me to write about and right now I'm drawing a blank.

Thank you for your kindness and consideration and understanding, Tasha.

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