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  • Anna H.

Making Time for Play; or Justifying My Roller Skates Purchase




Yesterday, I planned to spend the day prepping for the graduate course I teach. I took a cute Instagram photo of the book, made a lengthy post about how I was teaching said book, and sat down to work. I didn't get any work done. The rollerblades that I ordered the previous week arrived on my doorsteps, and I spent the rest of the sunny, mild day at the park with my daughter and partner. I have no regrets--or I'm trying not to.


I spent a beautiful Saturday playing with my family, as I should have. Yet, guilt threatens to tarnish the edges of the joy I experienced. Of course, these negative feelings are part and parcel of a toxic academic work culture that I was content to participate in, until now. I am realizing that I was letting my own feelings of inadequacy allow me to engage in, rather than interrogate, destructive and self-harmful behaviors and attitudes around my work, behaviors and attitudes that the University supports and rewards. But, as a Black woman, I know the University will use me up and hang me out to dry. As the shortened lives of so many Black women in the academy can attest to, academia will quite literally kill me. I plan to survive.


I am course-correcting by refusing to embrace the guilt at the periphery of my consciousness. I plan to play again next Saturday. I'm not gonna lie: the idea of missing another day of work frightens me as my projects and responsibilities pile up (clearly "no" and I haven't yet become intimate). I am not going to let fear ru(i)n my life. I am definitely not going to let higher ed chew me up and spit me out. I will play and rest as resistance.


These skates were definitely a necessary purchase!

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