Lovely Faces! I need you! Thank you for your visit here. Take off your shoes, not because this place is fancy but because this is our living room. Get comfortable. Lean in. Make sure the blanket is covering all of your feet.
My name is Tera McIntosh. I am a professor in the Department of Organizational Leadership at a university in Pittsburgh, Pa. A spoken-word artist. A lesbionic lover of home depot. A change agent. A owner of a farmhouse with doors that rattle. In 2016 I was ranked the 53rd woman slam poet in the world at the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York during the Women of the Wolrd Poetry Slam. That is the only time I will be okay with a ranking as such. I am a tom boy sister----that is never is fun to take shopping at the mall. A daughter who will always know you are late to dinner again. An alumni third grade student council nominee who still wants free vending machines, and a community member who knows all of her neighbors names and wishes nightly for smaller lines at the DMV. I love the way that pudding sounds when you squirt it back on to the spoon. I am a future wife. A hiker. A part of a pack. I like blowing bubbles in my chocolate milk. When I crack the knuckles on my left hand I always crack the same ones on my right because I never want them to feel left out or that I am unfair. I am a philanthropist. A giver. A fixer. A tank always half empty because I am always spilling onto others. I also have anxiety and depression and have spent most of my life hiding those parts of me so that I never "appeared weak" in any of my other successful roles in life. I am a suicide survivor (many years ago) and have a gnawing calling to serve a cause greater then myself. Hiding pieces of yourself is not easy. Today's world is no longer a place where you should have to check your bad things at the door, walk in and look pretty. They are pieces of you, just as important as the opposable thumb and the right eye. They each bring their own gifts to the table. Not all that we are is pretty, and the beauty of that is that we grow from our imperfections. I am writing away the stigma of mental health, as a coping skill for my own life.
I have buried two friends to suicide exactly one month apart. I have cut the rope from the rafters where he hung, I planned an off site life celebration for the other who was not accepted for her sexuality. I have stood in their pain. Felt the guilt on my shoulders of "I should have done more". I have stood in my own pain post their deaths and have come full circle again through my own current struggles in which the call to write, share, learn, explore and love is too big to fit in this body. And now that the pain is to heavy I have to let it burst from my seams into this blog---email kind of thing and the Journey of 86 in order to wake up everyday and feel my bones can support this frame for another day. No worries, the bursting is more of a steady flow, as I'm not one for messes. I like a clean comfortable living area. Read on to learn more about my Journey of 86 and how you can be a part of it too.