I Am I

IMG_5192Warm vibrations to you. It is my pleasure to know you, and have you know me.

My name is Kimberly Martin. I am a graduate student finishing my Masters of Women’s and Gender Studies in May 2019. I obtained my Bachelors of Psychology, with minors in Religious Studies and Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies, from Guilford College University in 2015.

As an earth spiritualist, I do not see myself as only part of nature. I am nature–a creatrix birthing life to life with each breath I take. I enjoy exploration of ancient cultural practices devoted to goddess worship and valorization of the woman/feminine.

As women, we have been severed from our immense potentialities by the patriarchy. I find delving into cultural histories pre-dating the patriarchal takeover–ones that once embodied a deep reverence for the Mother/Goddess archetype–forges the needed reconciliation I need to step into my power as a woman. Further, as a divine individuation of the cosmic whole, I feel the connectivity between myself and every form of sentience around me. I hold space for others with the awareness we are one, wishing to dismantle separatist ideologies burdening individual psyches and our collective societies.

I routinely spend time abroad in SE Asia, both academically and for personal enrichment, to better understand deeper spiritual practices and ways of being in/engaging the world I feel have the potential to transform hearts and wars. More recently, I spent the summer of 2018 abroad in Sikkim, India doing field work/research on the operational status of their prison system juxtaposed against the modern day slavery industry of the United States.

My thesis work looks at trauma narratives, feminist engagements with trauma studies, and essentially asks, “What kind of world creates the ‘criminal’?” I walk my audience through what constitutes trauma, the mind of a trauma survivor and what a moment of snap looks like. My work is founded on both my own lived experience as a felon in the United States, and past research where I examine how institutions situated within the carceral state further compound traumas already present in persons who flood those spaces, rather than addressing the issues that drive their presumed deviant behaviors. I critique carceral humanism and gender responsive prisons as expansions of the carceral state.

My work is a call to action–a call for the end of the carceral state, prison abolition rather than reform, and new policies and structures that take into account the narratives behind what bring people to their knees–for both a recognition and understanding of the wounded mind, coupled with a more appropriate communal response.

Additionally during my academic career, I examined how the history of world religions worked to create the psychology of the people, and how both work in tandem to shape the societies we co-exist in, as well as the structures and policies that serve to protect a few and marginalize many. It is my hope to partner with community organizations or institutions, drawing from my explicit understanding of systemic oppressions and my compassionate heart, to collectively work with young adults and/or marginalized persons/populations to help foster esteem, shift self-defeating thought patterns and invoke self-efficacy where motivation is lacking and barriers to success (both internal and external) have stifled growth and development.

Specifically for those who live with complex post traumatic stress, my goal is to highlight the positive aspects that can come of living with and managing said stressors, whether one is a survivor of direct/indirect violence, racism, sexism, classism, or any other form of oppression. While it’s no simple task, I am learning more each day the value in my lived experiences–that the greatest pains in life become our greatest teachers. I hope to help facilitate that in others.

There are those who imagine trauma as a burden of consequence, but I find it can be transformed into  superpowers. Trauma survivors have unique lens’ for operating in the world, for navigating the messiness and complicated aspects of life, in far different ways than those who have not survived extreme traumas. I would like we all learn to hone in on those gifts rather than be defeated by them.

More personally–I am a complex, nuanced, dynamic, lived, enigmatic phenom. I am the unexplainable, yet quite simple all the same. I have moved in and out of liminal spaces since I came Earth-side. More often, I struggled to make sense of all the women within the woman, to explain and justify them…to excuse and apologize for…to carry on in a world that says you must be this or that, all things while no thing…never realizing they all simply needed integrating, not changing or disposing of. When I accepted I AM I, and the life I have been given as a gift—not a burden to carry but a space to share with and uplift others— everything shifted.

As someone who has succeeded well beyond her circumstances, I hope to nurture the necessary motivation in others who face various challenges in ways they may be able to do same. I acknowledge my responsibility to not only recognize where gaps need patching with love, but to do the work in the trenches to heal those rifts, and pay it forward whenever given the opportunity. I feel deeply the suffering of others and realize none of us are free, until we are all free.

It is my desire that something I have lived and shared here will serve you. I harbor radical thoughts and quiet expressions, and sometimes none of it makes sense. Everyone won’t understand, and now I realize they don’t all have to. I have no wish to be anything more than in service to life, in whatever way spirit guides me. Along the way, may we all touch that experience of freedom we so deeply long for.

Love all ways.

“What is it that never changes even though everything is changed? It is love.”

(Soren Kierkegaard, Three Upbuilding Discourses, 1843)