Time’s Up for Insecurities: College

Time's Up for Insecurities: College

“Are you a feminist?” the philosophy teacher asked the class that was focused on women in philosophy. Dr. Burgess-Jackson stumped me with the first words out of his mouth because I had never considered the term enough to have an answer. He used the Socratic teaching method, which was also new for me, resulting in him becoming the only professor I remember from my undergraduate studies. He engaged my mind to think beyond what he knew or believed. He guided us in making sense out of the world around us. As the only African-American in the class, I was aware of how very different I saw the world than the other ladies in the class. This led to many dynamic conversations that prompted me to think far beyond my limited view of the world.
 
Since most of the freshman faces were clueless, he assigned the feminist question as homework to discuss at our next meeting. I went straight to the bookstore to look for books on feminism. @authoralicewalker was shelved in the section so naturally I grabbed her book because I was familiar with her work after reading The Color Purple. “In Search of Our Mother’s Garden: Womanist Prose” had another word I had never heard of, womanist. It was defined as a black feminist. The way I consumed the book over the weekend in preparation for the Monday class was a record for me but I could not put it down for more than an hour.
 
When we gathered around the oversized conference table to begin our discussion on Monday morning, I listened while the other young ladies answered yes or no to being a feminist. They were explaining their stance and every time they spoke, the knot in my stomach became larger and larger. I believed I had made a serious error in judgment studying Alice Walker because
 
 
none of them were mentioning any of the nuggets I learned over the weekend. I actually decided I would say feminist because I was so insecure about what I really wanted to say.

I am a womanist,” came out of my mouth with absolute certainty when the girl next to me nudged my arm.
“What did you say?” Dr. Burgess-Jackson inquired.
“I am a womanist,” I said again just as leveled as I responded the first time.
“Please explain yourself,” he urged.
“Well, as a black woman, I am not privy to the advantages of a woman who is not of color. So, it would be a miscalculated call for me to identify as a feminist. However, because I believe in my power as a woman, and I definitely believe in my power as a black person, I identify as a womanist.”
Now my voice was leveled but my hands were shaking so bad on the table that I grabbed my pen and placed them in my lap.
The professor stared at me from the head of the conference table and asked “What is your source?”
“My what?”I asked in confusion.
“Your source? Where did you find that information?”
“ ‘In Search of My Mother’s Garden’ by Alice Walker.” I responded.
“Hmmm, that’s good. Okay, next,” and he proceeded to the next student.

While there were whispers around the table, I was so pleased with myself because I did not listen to the knot in my gut. Instead I listened to my heart and my mind. After that, I never hesitated to say what I was thinking leading to a phenomenal range of growth in the course.
Where in your body do you feel insecurity?

Where in your body do you feel insecurity?