Excitement and Discomfort

“I am uncomfortable being comfortable.” – Steve Nash

I came across this quote in an old notebook, written by a younger me during a summer at Point Guard College in 2011. Six years later I find myself continuing to push my bounds of comfort in an effort to achieve what I often refer to as “personal growth”. This summer I am expecting a lot of discomfort but looking forward to being challenged by Ada and Shannan, emboldened through my work with Girls for Gender Equity, and inspired by the brilliant minds of the 6 other Moxies as I venture into the realm of feminism.

Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Devon. I am a rising senior / biology major / chemistry minor / pre-med / freedom fighter. My first 18 years of life were spent in Frisco, Texas (a northern suburb of Dallas) before I took flight to Durham, NC. At Duke, I have learned to question everything and this has brought me to a deeper understanding of who I am as well as led me to further questions. This summer I hope to address my role as a feminist and how it can be incorporated into my everyday life while staying true to my identity as a black woman and aspiring physician.

During an activity at DukeEngage Academy we were instructed to ask our partners repeatedly “who are you?” followed by “how might you be perceived?” for one minute each. As Shannan asked me the first question with a patient smile, I responded “Black. A woman. A friend. A daughter. A sister. A Christian.” When she moved on to the second question, I was forced to confront my own discomfort with the idea of perception.

Perception is a concept that has recently plagued my thoughts. On an impulse last semester, I deleted all my social media profiles to get away from my doubts and fears concerning how I was being perceived through social media. In a recent conversation with a stranger, I realized that perceptions are inescapable. In my ideal world, we would all be seen for who we are; but the reality of life is that from another person’s perspective what you are can only be encompassed by what they perceive of you. Perception. So, as I work to understand who I am, I am also working towards living a life that reflects the person that I wish to be perceived as.

As I journey to the concrete jungle next week, I am filled with excitement. Excited to explore my responsibility as a woman to dismantle the patriarchy and address the inherent oppression of our society. Excited to work with GGE to evaluate systems that are affecting our girls and empower a new generation of leaders. Excited to grow and learn and connect with the Moxies. I don’t exactly know where this summer is going to take me but I know that I am excited to find out!

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