My name is Kelene Blake and I have opinions, experiences, knowledge and a penchant for writing. I am in grad school and have had a few valuable insights during this process. One is that I will never stop writing. I have been juggling my academic pursuits with performing and slamming my poetry and have recognized that I will not be happy if I’m not writing for me (well, writing things other than research papers). I have also recognized that I need to mold my own space in this world. This academic life has given me first-hand lessons that, in a world not made for the likes of me, creating my own spaces and asserting my presence and value is extremely important to success and wellbeing.
As a result I am launching several new projects. This particular one is called “Blackademically Inclined”. This is a personal and educational blog that I will use to share creative work, insights on my journey and things I have learned, or am learning, about self-actualization in this black body, travelling through a world that was not made for me.
I want to share my journey to help other people along on their journeys. We can all do with being a little less alone in this world. This is me – connecting, sharing, teaching, learning, trying to make the world a better place in whatever small ways I can.
This is me trying to self-actualize as a black woman, currently in the USA. On the morning of Thursday, June 18, 2015, I stopped trying to be strong. I generally try not to say “I can’t,” the way people say when they can no longer deal with the bullshit happening around them. I avoid saying this because I believe in the power of my words and want to always push myself to move forward, to deal with things face on. But that Thursday morning, waking up to news of good Christian sheep being slaughtered while praying to the Shepherd made me decide I can’t deal with it any more – at least not quietly. It is not easy to process being bombarded constantly with the violence of a world built on white supremacy, patriarchy, systemic racism. It will be processed, filtered through my heart and mind, sometimes slowly, while I’m lying in my bed in tears counting every breath I take with simultaneous gratitude and grief. After the process though, I must take action. I will fight back using the methods I know.
I recognize I hold certain privileges and I intend to use those things. I have a good brain that has gotten me far in the academic sphere. I am an English speaker and writer in a place where those are beneficial skills. I want to share what I have learned and experienced in a practical way that helps others. I also want to express the stuff I’m processing. This world is fucking frightening. This is me taking Audre Lorde’s poem, A Litany for Survival, all the way to heart. She says,
and when we speak we are afraid
our words will not be heard
but when we are silent
we are still afraid
So it is better to speak
we were never meant to survive
My hope is my writing will be a tool to help us do what we were never meant to do, more than that even. We can more than survive. We can thrive. I’ll do what I can to make that happen. I don’t have much money, but there are other forms of power. One thing spoken word and poetry slam has taught me, there is power in my words, in my voice, and I will use it.
Photo: Audre Lorde, Poet
© 2015 Kelene Blake, All Rights Reserved