Sometimes I think my life is just one giant, sadistic episode of Whose Line Is It Anyway. The life where everything’s made up, and the points don’t matter. The situations I find myself in, regularly, are… you know the skits where they ask the audience for like.. a location, and a career and a movie monster, and you end up at the gym, as a luchador, with the loch ness monster? Like, that wouldn’t even phase me at this point in my life. On the bright side, the level of weirdness that truly permeates everything in my world has made me an excellent improv actor.
Anyone else an over-apologizer? I apologized for literally the most ridiculous thing last night. As I was typing the apology (via messenger) I realized it was ridiculous, commented as such, but continued to say I was sorry anyway. WTF is that?! And then.. my favorite, apologizing for apologizing. Please tell me I’m not the only one doing this. I say I’m sorry, the person is like.. “oh, you don’t have to apologize,” and then I’m like… “Oh, okay… sorry… ” What is this? I feel like I apologize for being me. And this has gotta stop. Seriously. If I do something wrong, or bad, or hurt someone or… obviously there are a million good, legitimate reasons to apologize but all the bazillion dumb reasons I say it, no more! I don’t do the pop music – I fall more into indie, alternative, punk, whatever – but a part of me loves the Demi Lovato (just to prove how out of touch I am, I had to google how to spell her last name, I had something that kinda looked like a Harry Potter spell, originally) song, “Sorry Not Sorry” There is something really empowering about being savage, when called for. I’m not say be a bitch to errbody, but… ya know, do no harm, but take no shit. So… again, I’m not all woo-woo resolution, new year, new me nonsense up on here but… I’m sorry not sorry.
This book is so impactful for how little it is; it’s 80-ish pages long (per Amazon, what I wrote down was that is was 63 pages, so maybe depends on the version, I admittedly can’t really read the note I jotted down super well so…) I don’t often really ponder feminism. I’m very privileged to have never really felt discriminated against, based on my gender. The company I work for full-time is a very female-centric one so.. our VP is a woman, our top educator is a woman, our social media person is a woman.. I’ve never felt like I couldn’t do something, based on my gender. Again, I am very lucky and very privileged. And that is why “Dear Ijeawele, or A Feminist Manifesto in Fifteen Suggestions” was so important for me to read.
Adichie promotes the idea, “Be a full person.” You are more than a mother, a sister, a wife, you are all of those things, but you are also an innovator, a creator, a healer. Be a full person.
Another bit from the book I loved was the quote, “Feminism and femininity are not mutually exclusive.” YES! I grew up very tomboy, oversized shirts, baggy pants, no make up, and it was great. Currently I’m happily in skirts or dresses 5 or 6 days a week, with makeup on as often, and you know what, it’s great too. I think there is the idea if you’re a feminist, you shouldn’t be glam, or gorgeous, or girly. And you know what? Fuck that. BE A FULL PERSON.
One last quote from the book – “Everybody will have an opinion about what you should do, but what matters is what you want for yourself, and not what others want you to want.” You want to be a stay at home mom who bakes cookies from scratch? DO IT! You want to be a CEO who wears high heels bigger than the average cock? DO IT. You want to do both at different points in your life? DO IT.
BE A FULL PERSON.
Again, I grabbed any book that looked tiny, pretty blind beyond length, but I am so thrilled that this one ended up in my hands. I know I didn’t get into many details, and this not much of a review, because I think you should experience the book itself. The entire thing is quotable and relate-able and teachable and… I knocked it out, while writing down some fantastic passages, in… maybe 30 minutes?
Read books that don’t apply to you, maybe you’ll find they do. Read books about subjects that haven’t touched your life, and let them.
My job allows me to connect with younger people. And it’s incredible. Things that I don’t give much thought to, profoundly hits them. It’s retail so we’ve been playing holiday music for a while now. I typically tune it out, honestly. One night though, Rudolph came on… “You know Dasher and Dancer and…”. I sigh inwardly and keep on keeping on. I overhear one the kids though start this tirade about how fucking awful the song is. Yeah, Rudolph was bullied, everyone recognizes that. But my co-worker really felt that, deeply. He went on about how people only liked Rudolph once he was useful to them and how awful that is, and how Rudolph should have been valued prior to “one foggy Christmas Eve”. There is legit anger as the kid talked about it. So, I’ve been noodling “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” (I love how dirty that sounds lol) for a bit, piecing together some thoughts on it.
Bullying is wrong. We all (hopefully) get that, at this point in time. Discriminating against people… reindeer… due to their physical appearance is a dick move, and we should be more evolved by now. I’m not a doctor, I’m not sure of any condition that gives people shiny red-noses but there are things like acne, there are people with braces, birthmarks, people in wheelchairs, whatever it is, whatever people see about you, before they see you. Now… Rudolph, the story ain’t real fleshed out in the song but.. my thought here is, he has this nose, right? and like.. the schoolyard bully, who probably feels bloody awful about himself, with super low self-esteem, who has some major shit going on at home, lashes out at others as a way to protect himself, started some crap one day. And it snowballed – winter pun not fully intended. It takes one comment, from one person, to completely change another persons experience; good or bad, be aware of this. People have made off-handed comments to me, not even thinking about them, at all, that have left me with scars I am still in the process of letting heal.
So, Rudolph has this run in with the bully. And again, I’m extrapolating here but.. I think it made him shut down. I think it made him feel small and it made him hide. And this, to me, is the real tragedy. If Rudolph has been able to be like… “Oh, y’all don’t want me playing your games? That’s cool, fam, I’m good,” and had like wondered over to an EDM festival, with his glowing nose lighting up to the beat of some Diplo, he would have been wholly accepted and embraced. So, I think there is a bit here about finding your tribe. You’re not for everyone. Everyone is not for you. Show kindness to everyone, but understand you won’t always get it in return. And, if finding your tribe seems impossible, maybe it’s because the other members are waiting for someone to start it. So, if you can’t find your place, create it. “How do you feel about people with red-noses? Good? Awesome! Let’s go eat some tofu. (or whatever)” I think especially if we’ve been bullied or picked on it feels that much harder to reach out, but that is exactly when we need to be doing it the most. The reasons some hate you, or are intimidated by you, or feel uncomfortable around you are going to be the same reasons others love, admire and respect you. You have to find it in you to keep going, keep connecting, keep creating – creating yourself, your crew, your reality. Take the thing about yourself that makes you most uncomfortable and hoist a flag for it, shine your red-nose as bright as the sun, celebrate it and yourself, others will join.
I guess this is my holiday post, since it’s inspired by a Christmas carol so, let’s sum up with.. as we get through the hustle and bustle of whatever winter thing you do, and we all stumble into the new year let’s take lessons from Rudolph. Don’t be a dick. Be careful with your words. Never make yourself small for the comfort of others. Find/create your tribe. Celebrate yourself. You’ll go down in history.
As I sit here, eating a fruit roll up, which is the same consistency as edible panties (give or take, the panties are a little more… plasticy), I wonder if people are viewing my blog, thinking it’s porn, since the word ass in it. Or if they are searching like… anal sex type stuff, and finding me instead. This idea makes me laugh, hardcore.
I read a book! I honestly couldn’t even tell you the last time I read, from start to finish, a book. It’s been far too long. And this is where the little books come into play. I read One-ing by Sheri Ritchlin. It was tiny (64 pages, per the info on Amazon). I think it took me maybe… 20 minutes to read, and that was with writing down a few brilliant quotes from the passages. I will say this is not a beginners book. Despite looking short and simple, there is a lot of content here, and it felt like, to me, the reader is supposed to maybe already have an understanding, deeper than surface level, on some of the concepts here, which I don’t. I can’t say I loved it, due to that, but… it did give me things to ponder, like.. deep ponder, which for 20 minutes worth of work, I will not be mad about. Let’s hop into some of that.
There is this great quote, “We cannot play another’s part or live out another’s nature. Neither can we expect another to live out our own.” Sheri then talks about seeds. How does a marigold seed know to bloom into a marigold, versus say.. an oak tree. And this, this thought, I just love. I don’t think too many plants are having existential crises. I don’t think they are down in the ground, fretting about what they are going to become. They stay grounded, the absorb nutrients from the soil around them, drink in the water given to them, bask in the sunlight that shines down, and they bloom into their potential. And I think that is a pretty decent outline for us too. I’m not trying to be too fatalistic here, I so strongly believe in our ability to grow and change and become but again, a marigold seed will never become an oak. But, it can become the prettiest, tallest, most hardy marigold in all the land. Nurture yourself. Bloom beautifully. Be the best that you can, whatever that means, or looks like. If we were all oak trees, the entire ecosystem would be fucked so, don’t ever feel bad about being you, whatever that is.
Also, blooming, growing, becoming, this all takes time. Don’t discredit tiny advances. Again, all these thoughts are flooding through me from reading 64 pages. You will not break through the soil every single day, but you will grow, millimeter by millimeter, struggle by struggle, you will get there. Keep absorbing. Keep growing.
“We live in a participatory universe. We are part of the picture. And the picture is not static, but living, constantly changing and evolving.”
I’m busy. I know, I know. Everyone is busy. Parents. Workers. Students. I get it. But, I’m flippin busy, ya’ll. I have two jobs, and a commute so.. work and work-related travel takes up over 70 hours a week for me. Ouch. It’s good. I mostly like my jobs. I’m not complaining. Please note that. I am thankful I am able to work. I am happy to be able to provide for my family. I am. But… it’s hard to fit in other things sometimes. Things I like, like reading. So, I popped over to the library today and I grabbed 21 little books. Tiny. Some are barely more than pamphlets. Some will take literally 15 minutes to read. Some will take a week, given the amount of time I have to throw at them. I think the longest one was 177 pages or something. So, I am committing my whole ass to reading these books. All of them. (Unless they suck, I don’t believe in forcing anyone, myself included, to read sucky books, like is too short, yo.) I will be writing about them, probably tossing quotes from them on here. Having like.. a homework assignment hopefully will keep me accountable. Topics range from physics to mindfulness – though I think there is more crossover there than I currently fully realize – so, you’ll be getting a lot of thoughts from the little books. I believe in quality, not quantity so.. while I’m sure like.. War and Peace is an excellent novel, truly.. woof, I ain’t got time for that. I will knock out one tonight and post about it hopefully tomorrow. In the posts about the little books, I will be keeping a count, I’m 0/21 right now.