Monthly Archives: August 2017

The Tipping Point

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The Tipping Point

Charlottesville was the tipping point for me. I watched the Vice video which opened with a parade of angry looking white men carrying torches, shouting “Jews will not replace us!” “Blood and Soil!” “Whose Streets? Our Streets!”Here’s the link in case you missed it – https://news.vice.com/story/vice-news-tonight-full-episode-charlottesville-race-and-terror

I will admit that the sinister music playing in the background added to the fear and severe disgust I experienced while watching it and I’m a white Christian. I can only imagine the horror that a minority would feel watching that. I wept for my friends for whom this hate was directed, I wept for all of us. I thought we were further along than this, we are not. The fact that I didn’t realize how bad it is….that is shameful in itself and I own that.

In the days that followed I saw a post on Facebook by an acquaintance. The post used white letters and a black background and asked something like – Has anyone lost sleep over statues in public squares? Not just now, ever?

Now I have stayed out of most of the political fray with the exception of some occasional low level snark. This wasn’t even political in my opinion, he just asked a question. I thought about my reply…it went something like this – “I have not personally lost sleep over a statue in a public square. That said, I can see where having to pass by a statue of someone who died trying to keep slavery intact would be hurtful to a person of color. Imagine being the ancestor of slaves and having to pass that every day on your way to work, school or home. I do lose sleep over the fractured state that our country is in.”

Things declined from there. The man who made the original post went on and on about art and artists and honestly I wasn’t sure if he was joking. And commented. “I’m not sure if you are joking – too soon.” Then I unfollowed him. I did post about my new found love of the unfollow button on my page and signed off to go to bed. Unbeknownst to me, this infuriated the man that made the original post.

The next morning when I logged on I could smell ash and smoke from a night gone terribly wrong on my Facebook page. The comments had been deleted by then but there were some cryptic messages from a few participants in the prior evenings rant. This man made the unfortunate choice to go after me on my own Facebook page. Foolish on his part since he is a local business man. I wasn’t present but a small army of mom friends had my back and held this person accountable. When he tried to attack me personally, they shut him down. When he tried to argue his worldview, he was outed as a sympathizer of white supremacy. Things got ugly quickly despite the fact that I wasn’t even present to argue with him.

Now I suppose I could have just scrolled and rolled on his original post. However, this was after Charlottesville, my tipping point. Silence is complicit and that is no longer an option for me. I’m not sure what my next moves will be – protests, posts, one on one discussions, etc. I do know this though, I will not be silent.

 

*photo credit to The Boston Globe.

 

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My Monkey is a Prairie Dog

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My Monkey is a Prairie Dog

I attended my first Writer’s Digest Conference this past weekend in New York City. It was an interesting mix of topics ranging from improving your craft to branding and more. Lots of options for newbies and veterans alike.

I noticed a recurring theme with the variety of sessions that I attended. Writers were consistent in their suggestion to the audience members to “find your own voice”, be authentic, use your personal experiences to filter through your writing. The business end was more cautious – be authentic but not so much that you lose market share. Sigh…mixed messages. Be authentic…..BUT…..everyone knows anything after BUT is bullshit. Guess I’ll just keep offending people and not make money writing for now….double sigh.

One workshop was titled “Shut Your Monkey! How to Control Your Inner Critic and Get More Writing Done.” It was facilitated by Danny Gregory. He wrote a book about it in case you are so inclined….https://www.amazon.com/Shut-Your-Monkey-Control-Critic/dp/1440341133

It was an interesting topic which sadly afflicts a majority of humans. That inner voice that says you suck, you’re stupid, are you really going to eat that? The asshole that lives inside your head and spreads doubt like pixie dust in a Disney movie. Apparently most humans (except psychopaths) have this negative voice that we constantly shush. Danny Gregory calls his a monkey…..I prefer to think of mine as a prairie dog. I never know where that bitch is going to pop up. She’s kind of cute and kind of annoying and damn unpredictable. What’s your monkey?

No Paper Thin Skin

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No Paper Thin Skin

The other day I posted this on my Facebook Page:

“Informal Poll – If your kid went to a dairy farm camp and they (along with a friend) decided to name their cow “Burger” would that be considered funny or disturbing? Asking for a friend….”

Most of my FB friends thought it was funny. Except one person who wrote this:

“Are they prepared to butcher and eat it?That would be the difference between ” for real/funny” and “removed/ callous”. If my kid were in the first category, I would be immensely proud because I think we all need to own our shit, and as a parent and teacher, our kids NEVER own their shit because we have failed and created “snowflakes in climate change”!”

And with that the levity and humor was sucked out of my post. I know the person who wrote that and I like that person. I still do. It kept nagging at me though so I decided to put in under my mental microscope to take a look.

First, the use of NEVER is non starter for me. I point out my kid’s errors on a daily basis. I don’t consider myself a maker of snowflakes but perhaps that is like the crazy person who can’t see their crazy. To say someone NEVER does something would actually take some serious effort at consistency. Doesn’t apply, let it fly.

Then I focused on the term callous and that’s what got under my skin like a splinter you can’t quite get regardless of the tweezers and incessant picking. Then I came to the realization that my kid needs to be a little calloused. The fact that she is showing some grit in a humorous way actually puts us in the plus column.

Don’t get me wrong I don’t want to raise assholes. I’m not looking to groom my kids into soulless androids that put themselves first 100% of the time. I also don’t want them to have paper thin skin that can tear at butterfly breezes.  Once again it’s all about balance….and growing some calluses.