Weekend Links

It’s been a week. Let’s get right to it. I’ve mixed in a few pieces of welcome wackiness to break up the anger and updates. I’m posting this early because just thinking about all the new that can break before the end of the day is making me sweat, and will likely require it’s own post to respond to.

If you’re going to any marches or protests this weekend, check in with me on social and let’s swap some photos.

STRAP IN.

Get mad. Stay mad.

This…isn’t bad for us. More savings and less spending.

Oh, so he was guilty. Who knew, right?

It doesn’t matter if you’re “good.”

Getting really, really stressed about November.

A friend and I were texting this week and I opined that you need a PhD in internet studies and memeology to understand most extremist groups these days – across all ideological stripes. I stand by that.

Two words: sex weasels.

There is a great confrontation coming in society about how much we can exist and expand as an economy based on “service.” Whether that’s other people cooking the majority of our food or serving it to us, we need to think boldly about alternative ways of living.

Small Dog Nation LOVES an art heist!

It also loves an archaeological find.

The last man in an iron lung.

You create this world where you’re not just militarizing the police—you equip the police like soldiers, you train the police like soldiers—why are you surprised when they act like soldiers?” Rizer, a former police officer and soldier, said. “The mission of the police is to protect and serve. But the premise of the soldier is to engage the enemy in close combat and destroy them. When you blur those lines together with statements like that…It’s an absolute breakdown of civil society.”

Well, I’m crying now

The Rhodes Center on what comes after COVID, optimism and pessimism both considered. (Finance and food updates are less than chirpy.)

QUEENS OF INFAMY UPDATE.

Seems like a relevant anniversary to remember with solemnity.

Zoom fatigue is real.

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Friend of the Blog Caitlin penned a piece on being a stranger in a strange land: a Canadian in the US in the current day and age. Worth a read.

When we elected Donald Trump, we elected a political arsonist. The sole consolation of his presidency, in its early years, was that there was surprisingly little dry tinder. The economy hummed along, seemingly imperturbable. We faced few foreign crises. Domestic divisions remained mostly digital. This is not to dismiss real disasters or excuse cruel policies — from children thrown into cages to toxins dumped into our streams to the lethal mismanagement of Hurricane Maria — but it could have been worse. Playacting civil war on Twitter, as the president often did, was never the nightmare scenario. The nightmare scenario was the social fracture and violent crises of the 1960s layered atop the political and media system of the 2020; the tests of presidential leadership that have defined past eras demanded of this leader, in this era. We weren’t there, and then, all of a sudden, we were. We are.

This cheetoh-dusted failure of a human being has made every single crisis we have faced – natural or man made – worse. Every single bloody one. I honestly hate him.

Edited to add: hate him. His malignant narcissism is a poison.

However, he doesn’t cause damage by himself or in a vacuum. He’s aided by protections from people who long professed contrary values but were happy to discard when push came to shove, and has surrounded himself with useless yes-men who add confusion upon confusion

K-Pop stans are having none of your racist bullshit.

No shit.

Call it out in your own groups.

….this is…this is a hell of a headline...

The god damned gall of this man.

General Mattis has chosen now to speak. So has a former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

We live in the dumbest timeline, but we can’t change the past and we can change the future:

Clicktivism is Not Enough

If you posted on your social media yesterday, great. Time to do more.

 

Consume Diversely

Black owned beauty brands – women of color are not just disadvantaged in not having their skin tones reflected in product offerings the way lighter tones are, they are also not proportionately included in the business, development, and ownership structures in the beauty industry.

Black owned businesses you can shop from online

 

Educate Yourself

This doc is making the rounds and with good reason!

White folks – it’s not on people of color to do extra work to make us more understanding and comfortable. We cannot be passive actors in this and must fill the gaps in our own knowledge.

Read diversely. I’m sorry to say my education in retrospect is woefully lacking in writers of color and the only way to fix that is to ready more writers of color! Make an effort, check them out from libraries, buy from bookstores, attend events featuring black authors. Give yourself explicit goals on Goodreads or with your book club. Read widely, fiction and nonfiction alike, to educate yourself on the policy AND the personal and how they intertwine in the lived experience of your neighbors.

 

Advocate for Others

If you are the beneficiary of privilege, you have a moral obligation to use it for others’ good. So say all the major religions, most moral philosophers, and The Gospel of Small Dog Nation.

Black Lives Matter. Full stop. Put money where your mouth is.

If you’re white, deliberately support your communities of color better.

Donate to bail funds – black communities are disproportionately affected by this and have less access to resources to make bail (when they are more likely than other demographics to be arrested for the same crimes or actions, receive harsher or more punative treatment and state handling).

Support Minnesota specifically. The murder of George Floyd happened in their community and they are the epicenter of this messaging movement right now. (Also, my dear friend Lauren is a Minneapolis native and has been posting local resources and messages dilligently on her Instagram)

 

“Lift EVERY Voice…”

Register now if you haven’t. Show up in local elections and not just November. And – this is critical – support measures and candidates that seek to strengthen and enhance voting opportunities for your co-citizens, not curtail them. Different candidates will have different platforms like making election day a national holiday, expanding and resourcing additional polling stations, election protections, and more. There are a lot of ideas, vote for the ones you think best and most likely to expand the rights and benefits of citizenship to those who may not have access.

Volunteer to register voters and expand the ranks of the citizen support network that makes our elections possible and trustworthy. Democracy is a team sport!

Take it a step further if you can and put yourself in the shoes of the most marginalized. If you were a prisoner, would you want the right to vote? If so, do you support candidates who want to restore voting rights to that group? If you felt a school was underfunding and therefore not the best option for your child, vote to increase its funding so that other parents less privleged than you. If you wouldn’t wish it on yourself, don’t inflict it on others. This is basic, basic stuff.

 

June Moodboard

While clearly I made this board prior to the explosion of bad news, I’m harnessing summer energy this month regardless.

If we’re lucky we will travel to the States to see my husband’s family – though we’re keeping an eye on everything and there’s still a chance this isn’t happening. We’re eating well and exercising daily. We’re watching our wallets. We’re keeping ourselves steady in an unsteady world so we can then turn energy outward.

And yeah, summer is protest season. I’m signed up for two so far. I encourage you to do the same.

 

 

Sunday Check In – Recognizing Racism and Doing Better

God, I hope I get this right because this is a difficult subject and while I want to write from my perspective, I want to also state clearly and up front that this is not about me. It’s peak white woman to try and make someone else’s struggle your own, but that’s not what I’m trying to do here, I’m trying to write about the only personal existence I’m an expert on and that happens to be my own. If I’m clunky about it, help me do better and make my actions and word better reflect my intentions. 

I was raised in a religion that denied ordination to the priesthood for men of color until only a few years before I was born. More than that, the doctrine of Mormonism requires participation in certain sacred ordinances – which in turn require those (male) participants to have been ordained. These rituals are necessary to salvation. In other words, I belonged to a faith that for a century taught that people of color couldn’t be “saved” in the same way as white folks. By the time I was growing up in the church, this was no longer true, but generational racism didn’t vanish from that community and it was a long time before I really confronted the history and teachings that had reinforced it for so long – and which have never been fully repudiated. The last time my husband and I voluntarily attended church services was the week that the church published an essay on its past racism and a white man who was teaching the lesson stood up in front of our predominantly black congregation and lectured people of color about how he had been taught “certain things” about race growing up and how the essay didn’t make sense to him. Of all the people in that room, we had the least right to anger, but we still felt it and it was still a transformative moment in our decision to leave the faith.

I spent large portions of my life as a racial majority and didn’t really think about how that impacted me. This included two stints in Virginia and one in Texas – not exactly places with an ambiguous history when it comes to America’s racial history. Luckily I also spent some important years on a Micronesian island where white folks were the minority which was instructive in ways I didn’t fully appreciate at the time but do as an adult. Everyone should experience being a minority. I was outrageously privileged given my family’s circumstances, but it was the first step in more self awareness that my experiences were not the norm.

This isn’t to big myself up, quite the reverse. I can look back on my life and cringe at comments I’ve made which I didn’t realize until much later were racially charged. I’ve never used racial slurs and would have reacted with outrage if anyone accused me of being racist, but I can see in retrospect that while I might have been innocent of malice, I was still ignorant.

One of my grandmother’s once told me that she and my grandfather would “have a big problem if [I] married a black man.”

University professors lectured me on how poverty was a self-inflicted wound.

Family members opined on how various communities could only experience tragedy or difficulty due to a lack of “virtue.”

Church leaders taught me that God had to wait for white people to be “ready” to accept black folks – as if other people’s salvation were dependent on my personal level comfort and that was a perfectly okay thing to believe.

I grew up swimming in racism, I just didn’t recognize it for a long time. 

You learn better, and you do better. I still screw up despite good intentions, I’m still unlearning assumptions and patterns that I didn’t realize I’d ever been taught, and I’m still unpacking where I may be part of the problem. Sometimes this means speaking up, sometimes it means shutting up, and other times it means using whatever voice I have to amplify other voices instead of my own. Because it’s not about me. 

Becoming anti-racist requires you check your assumptions, your privilege, and your power at the door and deliberately work to empower others – even and perhaps especially at the expense of your comfort.

Here are some resources to learn better.

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Weekend Links

“Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.”
– President John F. Kennedy 

Anyone who has cheered the dismantling of the State Department, the propaganda attacks that reduce the credibility of the Justice Department and trusted law enforcement, or outright dismantle them…

Anyone who cheered on some people marching on state capitols armed like militias, confident they would come to no harm…

Anyone who turned a blind eye to localized radicalization and militarization in their own community’s power structures, or worse enabled it because they knew they would benefit from it…

Anyone who shrugged at actual Nazis marching in the streets, or downplayed leaders who refused to condemn them…

Anyone who wanted systems broken rather than reformed in ways that meant they would have to share a bit more of their power, money, or sense of communal safety…

Anyone who worked to suppress voting of communities they didn’t want represented, undermining the point of the democratic process by ensuring that election results are increasingly at odd with with will of the electorate…

Anyone who shrugged or cheered when our press institutions were attacked, taken over by conglomerates, dismantled, and disparaged…

Anyone who raged at athletes kneeling, people marching peacefully, boycotts, and all other inconvenient non-violent actions as an “unacceptable” way to protest…

….what did you think was going to happen?  

What we’re witnessing in the States is not rioting, it’s rebellion. It’s what happens, in the words of Dr. West, what happens when the system cannot reform itself.

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Notorious AHP knocks it out of the consumerism park again – tackling how spending and debt has been ingrained into American/western society and framed not just as normal but necessary and even patriotic. Now it’s catching up with us all. But we’re also experiencing a forced alternative…and finding out how a forced break from our “business as usual” might be bad for “the economy,” but is much better for our brains and wallets for many. “In many ways, the pandemic has functioned as a great clarifier, making it impossible to ignore the dilapidated state of so many American systems. It’s highlighted whose work is actually essential, which leaders actually care about people who aren’t like them, and whose lives are considered expendable. The supply chain is broken; the social safety net is in shambles. And a whole lot of things we thought of as needs have revealed themselves to be pretty deeply unnecessary.”

Help, I’m poor but everything in me is craving this beauty of a summer dress.

Lizzo on the power of being your own hype man and rejecting performative feminine humility.

Karen-ism strikes again. Fellow white women, do better. (For the record, NO ONE should be subjected to the abuse being hurled at this woman, and the gentleman involved agrees, but she does deserve scrutiny and her behaviour condemnation for her actions. Her claim of not wanting to cause harm literally doesn’t make sense when she was explicitly attempting to get this man in some kind of trouble and was willing to dramatically exaggerate – to be polite – her description of circumstances to do so. She was trying to weaponize her privilege. That should come with consequences.)

Speaking of fashion, I think Gucci is on to something here. Seasonal collections are literally a hundreds of years old construct, and may not be as relevant in the current age. Go for it, Gucci, experiment!

Great idea in the middle of a global pandemic, cool leadership.

THINGS. CAN. CHANGE.

We live in the dumbest timeline

Anyone interested in going subterranean?

Another black man is killed on camera, another wave of protests, and quite likely another summer of rage opens.

To no one’s surprise, the algorithms of social media are fundamentally skewed in favor of radicalization. And thus too, their business model.

Sure. Why not? I assume we can expect the zombies soon?

It’s not even June yet…

 

The Year of Back to Basics: May

Another weird month in lockdown, a lot of plans disrupted, a lot of progress to celebrate or report back on.

Money

After a lot of governmental shenanigans, stimulus checks arrived for expats and we put ours straight towards debt without hesitating. The ‘Rona may still hold sway but we are staying steely-eyed and focused.

Money was spent however, especially since I shredded my athletic shoes and put irreparable holes in my workout pants – in the crotch and thighs no less. Fetching! Both were replaced. We picked up some household goods like pairing knives, a cooling fan, and an Ikea shelf, and I also bought a batch of new knickers to replace pairs that I’ve owned since before we moved to the UK and were becoming, er, unbecoming. And then, I confess that stress lipstick was purchased at one point.

I plan on purchasing some additional items for summer – believe it or not, I don’t own any shorts and seeing as how we’re already sweating in our city flat in late May, it looks like August is going to roast us – but after that, I’m going to close down the wallet for several months. I’ve got everything I need and am trying to be extra careful to stay aware of needs vs. wants right now.

 

Relationships

Long calls with siblings and parents, good therapy sessions, controlled mental health symptoms, positive work relationships. My friendships have not had the focus I wanted this month, so will be spending more energy on that in June.

 

Basic Bitch

Weight was a problem this month, no two ways about it. But I’ve been sticking with my virtual barre classes (shoutout in my favorites post of last month!) and have started tracking my food again, because while it might be basic, it’s honestly the best way to keep myself on a health track. I upgraded a free app to a annually paid version to help with this and it’s helped. I CANNOT STRESS THIS ENOUGH – do not focus negatively on your quarantine response and coping mechanisms. My health and weight goals predated the pandemic and we’re all doing the work to figure out what healthy means for us on individual and macro levels right now. This is what’s working for me, but YOU DO YOU, BOO.

 

Elsewhere

More Agatha Christie. Also lots of romance novels, because self care. I’ve nearly read 100 books so far this year!

I declared my “make a garden” project ticked off. We don’t have a terrace anymore and I can’t see us moving for a very long time, so I’ve built an indoor Eden instead. As the proud mother of 13 thriving plants, I think we can adjust this one a bit.

Dramatic reduction of plastic in my life, blog post coming.

 

 

 

Sunday Check In

A little while ago a tweet ran across my timeline that I have not been able to stop thinking about:

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This one hit so deep my bones felt bruised. It was just so accurate.

2019 was probably one of the most substantive years of my career, and it turned out to be one of the most important of my marriage/family and friend relationships. It was a tough year in many ways, and a really rewarding one in others. Most of all, it felt progressive in the sense that I was able to actually feel and see my own progress. Money and career felt steadier than they had for the entire decade prior, my mental and emotional health felt more under my own command than any time I could remember – life felt like something I was living and moving through intentionally rather than something that was buffeting me along.

I don’t have a single friend who wasn’t experiencing some version of hard work paying off in a significant sphere of their lives. It didn’t diminish the very real, grown up challenges many of us were managing…but we were managing them.

And now, we’re looking at our third full month of some kind of lockdown, side eyeing the people who are acting as if government official guidance has changed (it hasn’t, substantively), and honestly debating what our summer will look or feel like. Everything – from the economy to social life to a sense of “normal” – has just stopped.

The sudden, crashing halt from progress to stagnation is unsettling and vertigo inducing. We’re all just waiting to see what happens next, and planning for the future is so theoretical as to be useless.

My 34th birthday is coming up and I’ll be spending it in lockdown. We’ve been in it since mid March and we’re nearly at the halfway point of 2020. Who knows where Jeff’s birthday will find us in fall. We talk about it jokingly, and I try to keep a cosmic sense of humor about it overall, but what does it mean to “write off” several months if not a year of our lives? Not entirely of course, life goes on in lockdown but it’s not life as many of us know it – and has a heaping pile of anxiety and stress on top of it all as an added bonus.

Will we travel to see Jeff’s family as we planned? We haven’t seen family face-to-face in about two years. Will we go back to our offices in any way, or is our “work life” fundamentally and permanently altered? If the latter, even if you’re happy about it, how will we adjust to this? How long will it take? Will I have a job in two months? Boy I hope so. Will there be a recession (probably unless you think that we’re already in one, which is a compelling argument to me)? Another one?! Yes. How will we handle it? *Lol shrug.*

Sorry to be a bit of a downer this week – it’s mostly due to hormones, so don’t take it too seriously. But if you too are struggling with this feeling of “stuckness” please let me know, and how you’re dealing with it.

Off to perk myself up with a Bank Holiday weekend mimosa and some vitamin D through our open window.