I’ve never been female. But I have been black my whole life. I can perhaps offer some insight from that perspective. There are many similar social issues related to access to equal opportunity that we find in the black community, as well as the community of women in a white male dominate society…
When I look at — throughout my life — I’ve known that I wanted to do astrophysics since I was 9 years old…I got to see how the world around me reacted to my expressions of these ambitions. All I can say is, the fact that I wanted to be a scientist, an astrophysicist was hands down the path of most resistance through the forces of society.
Anytime I expressed this interest, teachers would say, ‘Oh, don’t you wanna be an athlete?’ I want to become someone that was outside of the paradigm of expectations of the people in power. Fortunately, my depth of interest of the universe was so deep and so fuel enriched that everyone of these curve balls that I was thrown, and fences built in front of me, and hills that I had to climb, I just reach for more fuel, and I just kept going.
Now, here I am, one of the most visible scientists in the land, and I wanna look behind me and say, ‘Where are the others who might have been this,’ and they’re not there! …I happened to survive and others did not simply because of forces of society that prevented it at every turn. At every turn.
…My life experience tells me that when you don’t find blacks, when you don’t find women in the sciences, I know that these forces are real, and I had to survive them in order to get where I am today.
So before we start talking about genetic differences, you gotta come up with a system where there’s equal opportunity, then we can have that conversation.
I take a sip of coffee and nothing comes. There are no words when I want them. Isn’t that the same with anything? You get no love when you’re lonely, no jokes when you’re sad, no energy when you’re trying to pick yourself up.
I try to type a poem, but my fingers gravitate only to the symbols:
My thoughts are worried bushes I keep pricking myself on.
There are too many thorns in my skin and
no words when I want them.
No metaphors I can chase the
the “before tears”
lump in throat with.
To deal with this,
others see a shrink.
The ambitious write pages of blank verse.
I, hungry and covered in cuts,
decorate my floor with crumpled up mistakes.
I trust the words will come.
But I pick up a pen and the poem that follows is:
"Hufflepuffs are known to have good friends in Slytherin. Hufflepuffs are some of the few who won’t judge based on negative rumours. This means they’re the most likely to approach Slytherins and help them when in need. This makes amazingly loyal friends between the houses. Mess with a Hufflepuff, and you’ll likely find a Slytherin getting revenge for the more forgiving house."
“There will be days when you can’t bear it anymore. There will be hours when you can’t talk past the lump in your throat, the weight on your heart. There will be nights of shattering dreams and shuddering pain.
Take a breath. Take another.
This ache is temporary.
Dreams are remade, hope can be replenished.
Take a breath. Wipe your cheeks and get rid of those itchy tears. Lift your shoulders and reorganise the weight of your burden. Shift it, don’t fight it.
Ignore the hiccuping that follows a sob. Ignore the pain pounding behind your shining eyes. Focus.
Pick yourself up.
Take a breath, make some coffee and wipe your cheeks.
This pain is temporary, and you can get through this. I promise.
Breathe.”—Breathe (for those who need to hear this)
You’ll never die, you’ll never die You’ll never die, you’ll never die You’ll never die, you’ll never die You’ll never die, you’ll never die You’ll never die, you’ll never die You’ll never die, you’ll never die You’ll never die, you’ll never die