Thursday, November 12, 2009

I'm Young... So What?!!!

So, if you've been following my blog since it started you know that I am relatively young to be pursuing a graduate degree. My age has been a constant source of insecurity for me over the last few years, and even moreso now that I'm in the PhD program. It also doesn't help that I'm Black and a woman... yea that's a doozy lol.

My family and my mentors reassure me regularly that my age has nothing to do w/ my intellectual ability... a lot of them wish they had went straight through and were doing this in their 20's. Yet no matter how many times they have reassured me that "I'm the F***ing Queen" (yes someone actually bought me a mug for my birthday that says this lol) I find myself constantly second guessing myself and my abilities.

But yesterday I had a breakthrough... and it came at one of the oddest times and from a totally random situation... don't most of my breakthroughs happen this way? Anyway, I've had a few discussions w/ my "intellectual" friends lately about the plight of the Black women in America... particularly how we are rarely protected and supported when it comes to abusive situations. It amazes me more that Black women tend to be the first to blame the woman when she is abused, raped, molested, etc... and will continue to support the offenders. Someone mentioned that "women hate other women" period... and they would rather support a man than a woman any day. Most of these conversations were sparked by the women who still defend abusers like R. Kelly and Chris Brown, but berate Alicia Keys for being a "home-wrecker."

Anyway, I posted a random vent on twitter which included the following tweets:

Rant deleted because it is clear that people are missing the actual point of this blog due to their feelings about my rant... I am not trying to turn my blog into commentary on anyone or anything but me and my academic experiences.

Well apparently my rant hit a few nerves and caused someone that I have e-known for at least 6 years to call my rationale for not supporting/listening to R.Kelly's music retarded and blamed my decision on my age. I won't even go into detail on why the word choice or the fact that using my age to judge my intellectual ability are wrong, but I will admit that mentioning my age struck a nerve. Why? Because as a young, Black woman navigating my way through a White, male dominated space by another Black woman hurt. It also furthers my thoughts on Black women fighting one another over a Black man that could care less about either of them, but that's not the topic at hand. Plus, if she wanted to take things personal than she really needed to look in the mirror at her actions and consider her own maturity level.

Ironically, after I got over the initial sting of the statement and became angry I realized that I've been putting myself in this "I'm young, so people won't respect my intellectual abilities..." box... so why get hurt when someone actually says it? Because she's wrong and so am I lol... because I am in a place that people who are older would love to be and because I'm here way before a lot of my peers... because I can state confidently that I am a scholar and well on my way to being an intellectual. If anything my youth should make me more confident in my abilities, because I had the good sense to do this now... because I was able to choose a career path for my life without having to bump my head repeatedly. I was SMART enough to listen to those around me when they told me to do it now when I'm young. I was SMART enough to learn from the "mistakes" and experiences of my elders. I AM SMART enough to know that age is not indicative of maturity or intelligence. I AM SMART enough to know that just because someone is young it does not mean that they have not had just as many if not more life experiences than someone older. I AM SMART enough to realize that not everyone has to bump their head to learn... some people learn from those around them.

So, to the person that challenged my ability to make logical arguments based on my age I say THANK YOU! You just helped me more than you can ever know. I spent the rest of yesterday with my head held high knowing that I DESERVE to be in this space. I gave a presentation later that day on my current research completely confident that my ideas are original scholarship and will be well received... and they were by the way.

Oh and the next time you try to judge me based on my age take the time to reflect on where you were at 26.... where you are at 30+ and where I'll be at 30+... I can confidently say that by the time I'm 30+ I might not have the same "life experiences" but I will have an enriching career that fulfills me... I will be mentoring other young Black women who are aspiring to follow in my footsteps... and I will NEVER use someone's age to discount their ideas and opinions... hell you're an R. Kelly fan didn't he write "Age Ain't Nothin but a Number?"


Sterling said...

the r. kells bashing has got to stop. sex is not the worst thing that can happen to a 14 year-old girl. and even though sex between a 14 year-old and a 30 year-old might make a 20th century human cringe, it has been going on for tens of thousands of years prior. and from what i hear from most women, sex with a 14 year-old boy is horrible:)

now, i do not defend r. kell's decision to stalk the high schools of chi-towns southside for female companionship. i mean, he is r. kelly...he can get any woman he wants, right? really, who knows. from the outside looking in that is the logical conclusion (but we are talking about a functionally illiterate, formerly homeless dude that makes ghetto operas that include midgets and country white women...all in the same city!!) he may not be the extra alpha-male that he portrays himself to be. people sometimes publicly project the polar opposite of who they really are. look at all of the homo-hating conservative republican politicians that have been and will be pushed out of the closet.

r. kells has made some bad choices in his private life. he likes them young...a little too young according to the law. but should that negate the positive public work that he has done? i don't think so. he made one of the most inspirational songs of the 90's...had the nation believing that they could fly. he tried to bring back dancing back to a genre of music that was overwhelmed with booty shaking and had thugs two-steppin' in the name of love.

if 14 is old enough to go to jail for life, then it is old enough for one to be able to make the decision on wanting to have sex or not, even if it is with a superstar. i am pretty sure that r. kells got turned down by many a high school freshie. the girl on the tape (yes, i saw it) does not look forced to do what she is doing. she is not raped. plus, she let someone urinate on her. not the actions of a first timer. if r. kells had not been involved with her she would have been doing this same s**t anyway, but just with less famous dudes. kells put some money in her pocket...she bought a new dooney and burke bag, got her nails and hair done and became a hoodstar.

i grew up on the southside of the chi...i got friends just like this girl. we called them carbooties because they would hop from car to car looking for the dude with the most cash. and if they had to give some up to get it, they would. the hard life of the city - little money and even less proper male attention - is the real beast snatching up the young girls of the hood. r. kells - like so many other men, most who do alot worse than pee on the chick - just took advantage of the situation.

TheMochaPeach said... make a great does Sterling (Heyyyy Sterling! *waves* ) and I just feel age has nothing to do w/ intellectual or life experiences. While I dont agree with your stance on R. Kelly...I wouldnt go so far as to say those who like "Half on a Baby" are for the plight and destruction of black women. He's an artist..a tortured soul as MANY a creative genius can be (and that he is..whether we like it or not..whether we debate its validity or not..LOL). I think the bigger issue lies in not R. Kelly..but what atmosphere CREATED R. Kelly and address that. How do we correct that?

AB said...

I really wish I hadn't included the actual rant on R.Kelly because it's taking away from the main point of this entry and my blog in general. This blog is a place for me to explore my growth in academia and how it came about... not a place for political commentary. I think people are so caught up in my thoughts on R. Kelly and the support of him as an artist, and that was so not the point or what I want commentary on at all.

Samantha said...

Speaking to your actual POINT, I understand exactly how you feel. I'm the youngest person in my class at Georgetown, and many of the people are 5 years or more older than me. I definitely sometimes feel like I've done myself a disservice by going straight through, especially when it comes to applying for jobs (as other, older, students have more experience to offer firms in particular fields).

But then I think about the fact that there are a number of people in my class who are spending their late twenties in school, while by the time I'm that age I'll be securely established in the legal field and paying down loans, lol. Plus, how many of those people that I'm competing with and comparing myself to would have gotten into this top ranked school straight out of college? I'm quite sure that a good number of them got in, in large part, because of the "real world experience" they had, not because of their intellectual astuteness, like moi. :)

All that to say, keep your head up! You're fabulous, have a family that loves you, a guy who--while this post was a little suspect--loves you, and utterly great hair. What more do you need??