Echoes and open spaces

There’s this spot on campus, it is in front of the Immaculata’s fountain and it is marked with a + inside of a circle.  If you stand on it and speak into the space you can hear your echo.  I find that space to be the perfect parallel for my afternoon.

I happened across a post by Peace, Love, and Pretty Things that featured an author/speaker and in-general advocate of healthy self esteem and the like.  I looked around her site ( and being the researcher that I am, I looked first for her credentials.  What qualifies you to be an authority? Why are you credible? The point isn’t about whether the author was or was not credible, just the event got me thinking.

A few months ago a book was sent to my office by an author in hopes that we would order more copies for our center and also host the author for a lecture on the books topic: Black women and maintaining high moral standards in dating.  I did the same thing, researched the author’s credentials and as I got nowhere (and found the book to be nothing more than a bound and printed collection of common sense) I did not order more of the book.  Then it hit me, literally like


I actually am credible, in many senses to speak on certain things not just in a public, community setting, but in an academic one…and in the greater public sector.  I mean, to be quite honest after the hazing experience that was working for the federal government’s mental health agency I feel like I can do anything.  So I took to g-chat and told her my thoughts and then she said, “The thing that these people have in common is that they have written a book.”  Yes…that is the thing, they both have, and then I got a little angry (at myself), “Jess what are you doing with all this knowledge?”

An aside: I have been told many times, or rather asked, when I was going to write a book or when.  I never had an answer and really the thought made me cringe.  The idea of marrying myself to any singular idea and then putting my words on something so permanent as a book made me weary.  I always thought, well but what if I write something and then a year later I completely disagree with myself?  Well then, my Self said, you would write another one.

I am not sure why it never seemed that easy before now.  Looking to Alice and thanking her for the sentiment, “…but it’s no use going back to yesterday, because I was a different person then.”  So then it didn’t feel so scary.  Then it actually felt right.  Yes. I think perhaps I am ready and so many pressures have been lifted. I do not have to write a book about any one thing.  I do not have to produce some great work to be revered by many for years and years to come. That kind of pressure would have kept me silent another twenty-seven years.  No, instead I will write what I know from where I am.   As J reminded me, I write nearly every day anyway and surely this blog in its entirety is a book in and of itself.  Three years of writing.  Nearly 1000 posts.  My heart is already wide open, why was I so afraid?  J was my echo.

After our talk I wrote the following words: Sometimes when God speaks it echoes throughout you vibrating your very being; and that’s when you realize what a vessel you are and how open He has made you to receiving his message.  Its silly really.  How it takes the echo, and sometimes the 2nd or 3rd reverberation for you to get it, hear it, feel it.  But the thing is, we can’t hear it until we are open, until we are completely cavernous so that the message may be spoken into us.

It has been a strange and beautiful day.


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