Get your shit together!
It’s been a while since I wrote to my femtee community so I figured I’d do a reintroduction. My name is Dra. Yvette Martínez-Vu and I’m a first-gen Chicana academic coach, author, and speaker. I am also a mom of two, disabled, and neurodivergent. I have struggled with my mental health, specifically depression and anxiety, for as long as I can remember. I also developed a chronic illness in graduate school due to workaholism and burnout. And you know what, on the outside not many people knew about these things. Why? Because I got really good at masking them by “getting my shit together.” In fact, lately I’ve been thinking about how to modify my email newsletter and blog to improve them. I had not been feeling motivated to work on either because it didn’t feel like me. It felt more like a chore because I was trying to do it like other people do it. And when I mentioned trying to come up with a new theme or title for my newsletter to a long-time friend, she told me to title it “get your shit together with Evy.” That’s not the title although it’s not a bad one.
Why did she say this? What does it mean to get your shit together? How do I define it? For me, it doesn’t actually mean that I have my life together although I have been known to be very organized and efficient with my time. Having spent most of my childhood feeling like I had very little control over my surroundings, I acquired a coping mechanism that involved trying very hard to control things. While I learned some handy time management skills through this process, it also led to self-harm and self-criticism in the form of workaholism, perfectionism, people-pleasing, and being afraid to ask for help. For me, getting my shit together has been more than just getting organized and being my type A virgo self. Trust me, I do like me some organizational tips, project management tools, time-management strategies, and productivity hacks. But something was missing. Getting my shit together has meant going through a self-discovery and healing journey. I needed to heal from my toxic grad school experience; I needed to come up with a work system that honors my disabled body and neurodivergent mind; and, I needed to get to know myself deeply and fully accept myself as I am, instead of hiding under the quilt of other people’s expectations of me.
The story of my life could be described as a story of person trying to get their shit together, and for many people, I’ve already done that. Getting my shit together has been informed by a variety of experiences, including getting a PhD in theater and performance studies and working in higher ed for over ten years. It has been informed by going to therapy on and off for over 20 years. (I still go to therapy to this day.) It has also been informed by the work I’ve put in to learn about social justice, about Black, Chicana, and Women of Color feminisms, about anti-racism, decoloniality, and compassion to get a deeper understanding as to why I have struggled with so many things. Working on my healing has helped me understand how many of those the issues I had personalized are not a singular “me” issue but rather a collective and systemic “we” issue. We can all benefit from self-compassion and self-love and honoring our bodies when they tell us that we need to slow down, rest, reflect, reassess, and make changes in our lives.
So my newsletter and blog are going to be about a few key things that have changed my life. I will share insights on demystifying graduate school and higher education as a whole. This includes sharing first-gen BIPOC grad school stories from my podcast guests. I will offer tips related to sustainable productivity to help you work smarter and not harder so that you can do more in less time and then use the rest of your time to focus on other areas of your life; and yes, that includes pausing, resting, and taking time for self- and community-care. I will also be sharing my reflections on personal and life development, that is, how to better get to know yourself, your dreams, and your goals to help you reach them and ultimately, live a more meaningful and fulfilled life.
Just to be clear, I don’t have my shit together and I also don’t expect you to get your shit together. I’m not sure if that’s even possible. But I’ve arrived at a point in my life where I’m living in alignment with my values, where I finally understand what it’s like to feel joy, and where I can pour from an overflow. Healing isn’t linear so I can’t guarantee that what I share will ensure that you make constant progress on your academic and personal goals, but what I can guarantee is that you’ll learn something new each time you read my writing.
Thank you for being part of my femtee community. I look forward to sharing more with you. And don’t be shy, if anything I share resonates with you, please let me know. I love hearing from you all.
Please note that I am taking new coaching clients at this time. If you’d like one-on-one support as you navigate your academic and personal goals, please review my services and schedule a free half-hour coaching consultation meeting with me.
I am also accepting new podcast guests. If you or someone you know would like to be a guest on my podcast, please fill out my podcast consent form.