I’m not new to keeping a notebook, to writing for myself. For what has now been decades, I have been writing about my emotions, memories, insecurities, ambitions, personal and professional aspirations and growth. I have had notebooks in which I have logged my travels, wondered about my pregnancies or voiced my frustrations.
I’m not entirely new to writing for audiences, either. I have published articles about my teaching, about my advocacy for equal educational opportunities for my students. I have kept a blog in which I have shared my adventures with my husband from where our story began as two 20-somethings living abroad to building a house in Austin and beginning a family in recent years. I have spent time on social media, posting about politics or tinkering from time to time on twitter.
Neither writing to think nor writing to speak out loud is new to me. The idea that has been swelling up in my mind over the last few years and, particularly, as tensions and divisions have built in our country over the last several months, is that it does not make sense to compartmentalize, or divide, my thinking about my work, my family, myself. There has been this push and pull in my concentration, this challenge to be present in one area of my life or another. The idea that is helping me to focus now is that my roles as a mother, homemaker, teacher, active citizen, and advocate for equity can’t exist in competition with each other.
Constant connectivity in the world today has taken multi-tasking and split-attention to a whole new level, but it has also linked us to broad audiences and diverse viewpoints. While I’m cooking I’m thinking of teaching and while I’m teaching I’m talking about my children. And while I’m doing anything from grocery shopping to exercising I’m thinking about how I can work toward being a stronger woman, educator, and advocate who influences the people and the world around me in positive ways.
So, today, I write in this new blog space, Writing in Reality, where it will seem that, just like in my life, my attention will jump from my children to my teaching, from my cooking to my citizenship. As I continue to work to be present with each person in front of me, each experience I enter, I hope that the thread that weaves through my writing will be tied tight to my genuine belief that in each role we take on–as parents, teachers, workers, neighbors, and citizens–we have a social responsibility to use our voices and our stories to encourage connectivity and reject the rhetoric and systems of division that still plague us every day.