With the COVID collapse of academic hiring, catastrophic weather events, and the appalling slide into fascism in the US, more and more of us are forced to confront realities that we never expected, that are painful, and frightening. Drawing from the inspiration of the fabulous actor and gender provocateur Billy Porter, who has shared his process of “slowing down” to connect to his authentic self in a hostile world, Karen and Kel discuss what it means to hit rock bottom and confront the sorrow of things not panning out. With slow and careful attention, it’s possible to remember that we don’t need particular institutions (ie, academia) to be who we are, and to remember that conversely, desperate scrambling to evade that sorrow keeps us off-kilter and susceptible to exploitation. Once we “stop digging,” in the AA metaphor, we can stop rationalizing self-defeating actions (such as adjuncting out of desperation to remain inside an academic fantasy-land) and operate from a place of strength and self-knowledge.
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