Wednesday, June 27, 2018

What To Do, What To Do

Greetings faithful blog readers,

You may be wondering if my two week disappearance is because I'm too busy to write while taking care of a baby. The short answer is no. The long answer is that I'm so horrified by some recent actions of our administration that I feel like I cannot in good faith write about planners, breastfeeding, my chapbook, working out, or all the other day in the life stuff on my mind. Instead, I took my friend John's advice and read this book (more in a minute), donated to this organization in honor of my brother's birthday, emailed my senators, and did some serious soul searching about what I believe our country should be, what I believe humanity means, what is in my control, and what isn't.  What is one to do?

I highly recommend reading Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City. This book is an excellent ethnography that gives the reader an emotional connection to each person profiled. The writer does an excellent job removing himself from the third person narratives, and his agenda is really quite simple: we need to have more compassionate policy that helps all people have an opportunity to parent, work, and live with dignity. After you read this, watch The Pruitt Igoe Myth on Amazon Prime. I re-watched it after several years: it's so heartbreaking and related to the issues Evicted discusses. Honestly, both this movie and book changed many of my view points and increased my awareness of how our country works as did my experiences. A few more thoughts:

Point #1: Don't be afraid to is too short to feel like you need to spend it defending or justifying your past views. You can't work to change systems you don't really understand, and you can't really understand without looking at the bigger picture.

Point #2: Don't let yourself become saturated by news that depresses you without taking action. Even though I'm pretty sure my senators do not listen to my views, I still write to them. I vote. No excuses. I also continue to live and enjoy my life. To let your great fortune and the wonderful memories you could be making pass you by would be a tragedy.

Point #3: I discovered the meaning of life, and I really strive to live by it. Spoiler alert: it's not all about me (or you). We have to help other people. That's what makes human beings human beings: our ability to empathize and step outside our own bubbles and imagine what someone else is going through and then extend a helping hand. This is what draws me to reading and writing. Reading is always a good use of time.

Point #4: Thinking about what we can do locally is a great use of time. Since we don't get to influence national policy nearly as much as we can influence local policy and organizations, try to figure out where you are needed. After learning that Dress for Success is starting a chapter in the Permian Basin, I will be combing through my professional wardrobe for gently used pieces to donate to a great cause.

Point #5: Some issues are really not about politics but just about doing what is good and just. We've had some pretty terrible laws that oppressed people or allowed violence to perpetuate. We shouldn't use laws to justify our behavior or letting the bad behavior of others slide (read Emerson and Thoreau for a beautifully worded version written by someone that doesn't have to change their sheets right now).

Point #6: To me, one thing that makes America so special is the diversity of our population. Honestly, diversity is our strength, but some are trying to turn that into our weakness. We shouldn't turn against each other.

Point #7: I don't have all the answers but neither do you. Remember that no one ever knows it all. Keep striving to understand other people: people that aren't just like you aren't worth any less than you are. Everyone is loved by someone. I always remind myself of this.

Point #8: Sometimes you need to take a yoga class or participate in some form of self care. Do it.

Point #9: I think all Americans really want to think of ourselves as good. We shouldn't be so quick to think everyone is out to get us. The world is changing but we can't just "pass the buck" when it comes to our responses. What do we want our children's children's textbooks to say about this period of our history?

I don't have a tenth point, and I have to change my sheets.

I hope to check in with some upbeat content. But it felt good to brain dump.

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