The Joy of Being: Notes on the Academy From a Black Woman

June 12, 2020

My therapist often reminds me during our sessions about my commitment to care and joy in my life. “What are you doing that brings you joy?” I usually think to myself, “not a damn thing, which is part of the reason why I’m here” and on the direst of days, I blink and ask: “what is joy?”

As I work to define self-care, joy and pleasure, and how I want and need it to look in my life, I fail miserably as soon as I turn it into an intellectual exercise, which occurs on more than the rarest occasions since it happens to be my dissertation topic. What is joy? What does the literature say about joy? How is joy different from self-care and what are the implications for my research on the self-care practices of Black women and gender non-conforming activists in Milwaukee?

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