I hold a Ph.D. in English literature with specialization in Victorian fiction and emphasis on gender/sexuality studies.  I reside in New England where I teach a variety of traditional, hybrid, and online courses.   

Growing up in a trailer park in New England to literacy-challenged parents sparked in me a passion for learning and a desire to cultivate accessible instruction strategies suitable especially for disadvantaged, adult, and low-income learners.  My parents encouraged in me a strong love of philosophical inquiry and a deep respect for the acquisition of knowledge through experience.  When I decided on a career as a teacher at university I did so because I believe that academia fosters the kind of learning that sprouts at the crossroads of personal history, literary exploration, metaphysical reflection, and everyday experience.

During the early years of school my literary endeavors were a source of shame. I never understood the shame that I felt until I finished my Master’s thesis.  I couldn’t wait to show my father the bound copy of it and will never forget the sharp embarrassment and disappointment that I felt watching his excited expression disintegrate to confusion as he tried to read the first page of it.  I snatched it away.  I actually threw it in the trash.  I felt angry at myself for giving him something to read — some token of my accomplishments — that was so inaccessible.  I was ashamed to take pride in a thing that blatantly separated me from my physical history.

In my teaching I have striven to bridge the gap between history and writing by encouraging students to explore literary avenues informed by the topics with the most bearing on their lives.  I want to be a teacher who can speak to students plainly about the complex fabric of Western culture in a way that sutures national contexts with personal history.  I want to be a researcher and academic author who reads contemporaneous hot topics into literary history in fascinating ways that help modern readers understand the politics of selfhood.  I want to be a creative writer who takes risks in exploring the boundaries of conscious experience.

Most importantly, I would like to be someone who can speak proudly and with conviction about her profession. 

Recent Posts

Week 2, Day 2

Yesterday was to be Day 2 of the second week of my wellness program, but I was hit with a rare retinal migraine, which I have not experienced for over a year now. There was a time for a span of almost 20 years, during which I experienced these debilitating migraine attacks frequently. They always begin with aura in my right eye and then I lose my sight in the right eye. Then I experience aphasia (which can last for hours), then numbness in my limbs, then vomitting, and then — when the experience is really bad — I lose control of my bowels. These early phases can last anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour. After the first phase, then the migraine begins to set in. It is only on my left side and usually renders me completely unable to move or do anything for the rest of the day. There was a time when this would happen a couple times a week.

During the last four years I have made enormous strides in learning tools for helping me “stop” the attack at the aura stage so that it does not progress at all through the other symptoms. I do, however, still have to go through the migraine that results. This was the case yesterday.

I have come to learn through the years that my triggers for these attacks involve some emotional and physical components. Usually they happen when I have done strenuous exercise. Usually, it will happen before my period or right at the beginning of my cycle. And, usually there is some stress-related emotional charge happening at the time, which I have been working through.

The day was to be my first formal day at Irish Step Dance class, so I was really bummed when my husband had to notify the instructor that I was not able to attend. My focus for the day was just to get through the day to the best of my ability. There was a lot of drama to deal with — more than usual, unfortunately — and I had to slur my way through some speaking as I had to attend to some issues. I went to bed early and got 10 hours of rest.

This morning I felt a lot better but I continue to feel the “aftermath” of the attack. My brain is foggy, my eyes are slumped down, my head is sore, and feel very exhausted even though I got plenty of sleep. I know that I have to take it easy although I want to workout and push the limits. I have learned to take these cues from my body when it tells me that is enough is enough. I suspect that I know exactly what the problem is, emotionally, right now, and I plan on slowing down and dealing with these stressful issues right now even though they are difficult.

Today’s Workout

I eased into this recovery day with some mindful yoga and meditation, taking my time to enjoy each delicious movement. I focused on gentle, intentional breath for healing. For the meditation, I found my inner light and worked that through my chakras, paying particular attention to the heart and throat, which are the areas that I need attention the most through this emotionally-charged moment in time.

Also, I reached out to a friend and we are meeting today just so I can have a little extra care today, mentally.

I had a great walk in the beautiful forest this afternoon. I love this time of year!

Today’s Nutrition

Lately I have been staying within my calorie range but eating a lot of chocolate — one day I even just had 600 calories of chocolate for dinner. My goal has not really yet been health-focused as much as it has been range-focused since I do generally eat very healthy (unless I am grappling with emotional turmoil, as I have been lately, then I tend to binge eat). My focus remains on staying within a healthy range of calories right now, but the next step is to deal more directly with my binge-eating moments.

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