Shoe Story

It’s Gotta Be the Shoes.

I’m not a sneaker head. I only own two pairs of sneakers.. My Saucony running shoes and my no name workout/ backup shoes. I did a lot of research before the purchased the Saucony shoes that now accompany me on every long run but I never really thought about them as more than a tool- a necessary piece of equipment for a sport that I was now doing more than occasionally.

I have more than 40 pairs of shoes. Boots, sandals, flip flops, slippers, heels and my sauconys but I never considered that they might have their own story- their own journey- from concept to creation to my door and beyond. The link above it to the story of the Jordan III a sneaker that started a revolution in the evolution of footwear and fashion. it’s a very good read and I highly suggest it to any one who has any interest in history, fashion, basketball or design/ business. It’s also a story of change and innovation and not being afraid to try something different, to stand out and step away from the norm in exchange for something better. It’s a story of listening and adapting. There are fantastic stories all around us. This is one you too may enjoy.

Defined by Loss

Defined by Loss

I might forget the names but I’ll never forget their faces. We say “In loving memory…” because we understand that sometimes our memories are the only things we get to keep, but sadly those are poor compensation. Sitting down to think about the losses, I can’t always remember how old I was, how old they were, or even full names and little details but what stays, what I’d like to share are the reasons that these losses matter to me and have stayed with me year after year.

I have lost count of the number of people I’ve known who have died. My list is 30 people long of just the significant ones. Over time they have solidified into groups- more digestible bites.

I was 6 when my grandfather, my father’s father, died. I barely remember him. Some memories, I know have been instilled through stories passed down over and over until they have become real in my mind. Umpap, a minister at a church, would take us with him on Sundays. In the summer, he sat with my brother and I on the porch in front of their house where he’d peel oranges and share them between us. He and my Grandma lived just down the street. I remember him in brown, light brown and he smelled like mint. I can’t remember how he died. I remember my mom taking us to the hospital and we saw him in the hospital bed. He smiled when he saw us.

Despite the fact that I was only 6 and my brother TJ, 4, we were included in every part of the homegoing. My family believes that when you’ve lived a good life devoted to the lord and to other people that when you die you get to be reunited with all those you’ve lost in everlasting paradise with no pain and no more toil. There is so much comfort in that idea and there was no question that he was a good man. From the very beginning, I was taught to embrace the duality- life and death. Losing people hurt and you were allowed to be sad and to cry but you were also expected to be happy for them. Dying and going to heaven was a reward after a life that might be difficult and full of tribulations.

Even so, it’s hard not to question the evenhandedness of a God who takes children from this world. When I was ten there was a boy a couple years older than me at my church named Christopher Reeves. I hated him. Well, I didn’t really hate him. Every Sunday he would beg to sit in our pew so that he could play with “the baby”. I was a big sister again, Tre was born and he was adorable. He was also mine so I was irritated by he fact that Christopher would always want to come and play with him.

“Let him be,” My mother told me, “you get to play with Tre all the time and he only gets to see him on Sunday.” I decided that if Christopher was going to be sitting with us then he at least need to know how to handle my brother. He was patient with me. He was a very kind kid and he loved church.

He started begging the pastor to baptize him. He was maybe 12 and he was old enough but in our church if you weren’t baptized as a baby then you had to wait until you “knew what it meant”. Pastor Taylor keep putting it off and putting it off but finally one Sunday he called Christopher forward and invited him to give his life to Christ and be baptized. I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone smile so wide. Christopher got baptized and somehow he and I became good friends.

That summer he went on vacation for a week to visit family out of state. His cousins decided to play a trick on him. While he slept on a bunkbed they snuck in and wrapped a sheet around his neck and then scared him and woke him up; he strangled to death. I cried for weeks. My mother tried to comfort me; she cooed that sometimes God needs young angels too and it was all according to his plan and his timing. I wanted to believe that but ever since Christopher’s death I’ve had trouble embracing the religion I was raised into. I don’t consider myself Methodist and haven’t in many years now. I’m very spiritual but because of how old I was and how things happened my faith was damaged.

A year or so later my Grandpa Frank died- Frank was married to my grandmother and he was a really sweet old man with coke bottle glasses a billion wrinkles. I remember him as grey. I remember that he was buried in a suit that looked too big for him.

Some deaths break everything. They create a line in your life- a before and an after. Growing up, I lived on a street where every house was owned by someone in my family. My grandparents, 2 aunts, and a few cousins all lived within walking distance which meant there was always a cookout, a babysitter or a shoulder to lean on in close proximity. Auntie Ann lived in the house right next door to my grandparents- 5 houses from us. Sometimes, after someone dies we tend to worship them. We make them into symbols or larger than life characters but Auntie was the person you spoke fondly of while she was alive too. She was a nurse for many years and she could hunt, shoot, skin a squirrel, a rabbit or a deer. She loved hockey and passed that passion to me and my brothers.

My brothers idealized her. She and I had less in common. I don’t hunt or fish and don’t really want to shove my hand into a dead animal’s belly. Even so she tried to connect with me. Once she asked me to come over and help her do her hair. I smile when I think of it. She didn’t care about hair but she wanted to have something for us to do together.

Auntie died in 2009 when I was 22, though I always feel like I was younger, she was 77. Symmetry. She died in her home of natural causes and, a fact that still hurts, Tre found her. He was 12 and it was my brother TJ’s birthday. Tre went over to check on her and to visit with her after school like he did most days. She was lying next to her bed on the floor. He ran across the street to a neighbor who called my parents and the police.

I loved her and it hurt a lot when she passed but my brothers were devastated. Tre was never the same. I have tried to support them but every year in February they struggle. The last few years have been better but it seems like it will always be a difficult time for them.

Auntie’s death damaged our family. Her daughter from Philadelphia came breezing in and took anything of value, called us the moneygrubbing relatives and left never to make contact with this side of the family again. When I asked my mother about this she said “Well, everyone deals with grief differently.”

Auntie’s death began what my mother calls “The Year of Death” in which we lost many people in close succession. I’m going to be honest- I don’t remember everyone who died that year. I think I was probably a little in shock and I defaulted to business mode. In business mode you help with the funeral arrangements and pick the flowers and clean the house out and close their accounts. You don’t have time to be sad yet because there is so much to keep you busy and if you stay busy then the reality doesn’t have time to sink in. And just when we would finish with one death another arrived on its heels. My mother didn’t want to talk about this when I asked her because it’s still difficult for her. She actually took her grief seriously and started therapy the following year to deal with the emotional impact and though she is much better now it’s the kind of sore you don’t pick at. When it was happening, she was so in control and strong that I just assumed that was how you were supposed to handle death. I learned from her example that death was a part of life and we had to be strong and work hard to give the people we love the best send off. I didn’t know how hard that was for her until many years later.

In November 2009 my paternal grandmother passed away at 90 years old. A month later a really close friend of the family named Mr. Jenkins followed her ending the year of death.

Though my grandmother dying was still quite sad it was the first time I’ve been grateful for someone I loved to die. In the final years of her life my grandmother became mean. She would often forget who we were though she remembered my dad and my uncle until the very end. She became paranoid, convinced that everyone was trying to steal from her- despite there being someone who actually was taking advantage of her- a neighbor how asked her for money constantly only to wait for her to forget so they could ask for more.

I remember my grandmother as she was. She was the textbook grandma. She baked and cooked better than any person I’ve ever known. She was a talented seamstress and could both knit and crochet. It’s because of her that I wanted to learn to sew She’d get us off the bus after school when I was in elementary school and feed us fresh baked cookies and milk before sending us home with little bags of penny candy. She smelled like apple pie, which she’d bake by the pan to take to church events. She loved us.

Until she didn’t. Until she couldn’t remember me at all and she would ask where the baby was despite that fact that by the time she died Tre was 12. In the end Alzheimer’s and dementia took my grandma away from us. This experience taught me that sometimes death is a blessing. It’s necessary both for the individual and for the loved ones they leave behind. We loved her and we supported her even though she acted like she hated us. We reminded each other of the “good old days” with her and disregarded every mean comments and rude name she called us because somewhere inside the shell was the women who flew across the country to visit us and made stuffed animals for us by hand and hung up every single 8X10 school photo we’d ever taken on the living room wall of her house.

I remember going to her bed side in the hospital just before she passed and she looked at me and then looked and my dad and asked “Who is this?” and my dad said, “This is Thomasa your granddaughter.” My grandmother looked at me, smiled with a mouth still full of all her own teeth and said “My granddaughter huh…ain’t she beautiful? Can’t be yours,” We all laughed. Then she said “Hi Thomasa.” That was the last time I ever heard her say my name. She died shortly after.

I cherish that memory and it has helped me be more accepting of people, wherever they happen to be in their journey. Sometimes, through no fault of their own, they aren’t the people they were or who they would like to be. We all suffer.

In 2011, I was 24 when my maternal grandmother died. This woman was a firecracker beginning to end. She lived a full life with lots of love (several husbands) and children (6). She was a caregiver and a rebel and I miss her. From her death I learned the importance of pre-death planning. This woman, she had everything in order. When she died she already had all of her plans made with the funeral home. She even picked the time of day for the viewings and funeral services. She picked her flowers, her dress and had everything already paid for. Most of my family on that said are non-planners, with the exception of my mom. They weren’t particularly good at death planning but Grandma Lattimore had everything done so all we had to do was show up. She didn’t want to leave a burden and she knew what she wanted.

At her funeral, my dad offered to speak. Everyone was somber and serious and he got up, all 6 foot 5 of him and said “She would not want her family crying today, today we celebrate the old bat!” and then he preceded to tell some of the funniest stories about her until everyone was laughing and smiling. He was honest about who she was and who she wasn’t. I was finally old enough to really experience and remember the moments. There were people in that room that I’d only see again at another funeral. My mother called her sisters and some other family together and handed each person a memento as my grandmother had instructed and we went out to eat at eat n park as she wanted. This was the first funeral where I learned that it was ok to feel happy while also being sad. I was happy to see my cousins and all me family together in one place. We are all over the country now and for once we were all in the same room.

In 2016 I traveled to a funeral for the first time. All the deaths before my Aunt Shelia passed has been fairly local- within driving distance. For her funeral my mother and brothers and I went to North Carolina.

Aunt Sheila had always been the “Aunt on the Island”. She distanced herself from the rest of the family long before I was born. She lived most of her life somewhere in Washington state. She barely called though she would occasionally send a Christmas card. She was diagnosed in 2014 with cancer and after her treatment she came off the island. She even came to Johnstown to visit with her husband Ronnie. She knew very little about me except that I had a studio where I made jewelry so she sent me a box full of supplies, beads and wire and fasteners. She ended up getting into the hobby herself and started making beautiful jewelry to sell. She moved in North Carolina just a year or so before she died.

Sheila was the oldest of the sisters so there was never a question that my mom was going to go to the funeral. She hates flying and traveling and I wanted to be there for her so I called off work and went too. It was another occasion where family I hadn’t seen in years was all together in the same place. I felt like I should be sad but I wasn’t. I’d barely really known her except for the little reconnection we had just before she passed.

I was hurt during the funeral because my mother was crying. The members of her church greeted us with open arms they supported us but they were the ones with the stories to tell, they had the memories. My mother cried because with this finality that would never change- she didn’t know her sister anymore because her sister hadn’t really wanted to know her. From the stories her church family told she was a great woman, loving and kind, creative and funny. I wish I’d known her. I wish she’d known me- we’d have had a lot in common. I learned from this experience not to regret the past. We tend to say wish for things to be different once it’s too late to change them. If you want to know someone- talk to them now. If you want to have them in your life, invent in those relationships while you still can.

I thought by this point in my life, after countless experiences with death, that I understood it. I thought I’d learned every lesson it had to teach me. Of course I was wrong, death never finishes teaching you until your own.

In 2017, my dad, Tommy Pridgen Sr. died in surgery due to complications after a car accident. It was May 19 and I was 30 years old; he was only 60. Symmetry.

There is nothing I can compare to losing a parent. Perhaps losing a child is worse, I haven’t had that experience and I pray I never do but my dad’s death marked a definite before and after in my life. It also marked a lot of milestones. His funeral was the first I ever spoke at. It was also the largest funeral I’ve ever attended with over 200 people coming to support and mourn with us. It was the first time I has to sit in a funeral director’s office and hash out details- unlike the rest of his family, he’d had no arrangements in place. It was also the first time I wasn’t on the outskirts of the mourning party- I was in the center stage.

The night he died I got a call from my mom that we needed to go to the hospital because there’d been an accident. My boyfriend at the time went with us. My uncle and his wife were there when we arrived. When we first got there it wasn’t a deathbed moment. We were trying to figure out who would take off work to take care of him when he got home, what he might need at the house. We didn’t think for a moment that he wouldn’t be going home.

We waited in the ER for almost 3 hours before the doctor finally came out to deliver the news. He was very apologetic but that’s all I remember about him. I remember everyone started crying and my boyfriend was holding me and telling me it would be ok.. He’d lost both his mom in 2016 and his step dad a few months before. I made myself stop crying. “I have to call the boys!” I kept saying- they were already told about the accident and they were waiting for us to call. TJ lived in Arizona at that point and Tre was in Maine playing hockey. I called them and I could barely say the words TJ said he would be on a plane in about an hour and Tre got his Hockey mom to drive him down the full 16 hours. While they made travel arrangements we had to wait another 2 hours before we could see my dad’s body and an additional hour to meet with the coroner.

I remember going over to my dad and of course by that point they had taken the tubes out and removed all the wires and probes and they had his eyes closed so he looked like he was sleeping. I held his hand and it was already cold. I said my good byes but I never got to look into his eyes again.

Unlike in the past there was a hold social network waiting for news so I also had to post to my Facebook about what happened. I was flooded with text messages, DM’s and phone calls. It got to the point where I just stopped answering my phone. I was getting messages from people I’ve never met who’d worked with my dad years about and wanted to extend their condolences. My job because not to mourn but to console the mourners. As the people in the center we were the ones taking on the grief and sorrow- the stories and secrets and goodbyes. It was like having to plan a party you didn’t want to have for people you didn’t really know to celebrate something you weren’t happy about when all you really wanted to do was be left alone in a corner to scream and cry. It overwhelmed me how many people showed up to support us and how even months later who showed up to check on us. Over time, the sympathy wore down and the calls finally stopped- which was a blessing because every one was just a reminded that sucked me back and told me I needed to still be sad. I never returned to Facebook after that- I couldn’t deal with being the spectacle and being so easily accessible.

In losing my dad we also lost our family home and my cat fritz, who had to be re-homed. When I moved back to Johnstown I got an apartment that wouldn’t allow cats. My dad took Fritz and especially he became my dad’s cat. When my dad wasn’t there anymore Fritz couldn’t be either and since I couldn’t take him he needed to be placed in a new home. It’s take 3 years to deal with the after math- my mother doing most of the work, closed all the accounts and cleaned out the house and sold it. Death isn’t finally until the last check is cashed.. That’s what our lawyer told us. It took almost 3 years for that final check to finally be cashed. But I still get mail in his name- despite the fact that he’s never lived with me in my apartment.

My dad’s death had the most profound and lasting effect on me. The me, after, is more private and more realistic. Its taken time but I accept that I will also die and my mother will die and my brothers will die and it’ll hurt. This experience taught me that loss will make you feel like you are dying without giving you the final relief. Each day will get a little easier and the memories will fade a bit more and the story you tell yourself about what happens becomes more important that what actually happened. Because at the end of the day, it’s the stories that live on.. It’s the stories we get to keep.

Finding Balance in the Bullshit

The beginning of a new year is the worst possible time to make resolutions for change. There I said it!

People struggle just getting through the regular expectations of their lives. In many places, we are in the depths of winter, cold and dark and mildly depressed. There is little accountability for New Year’s Resolutions because people have a shared understanding that they mostly fail, making failure ok- making it a feasible option.

Last year was a transformative one in my life and it all started at the beginning of the year.. not because it was a new year but because I was ready to step to the plate on a few challenges.

This year has begun in much the same way- several weeks before January 1st but for some reason I am seeming to find more balance and more motivation while those around me are not.

At work, my co-worker told me that she is working on her positivity. She started this practice midway through last year where for every negative thing said it had to be followed by a positive.

“You may have lost your shoe but at least you have plenty of time to find it!”

Building on this she is working hard to balance that feeling of “this sucks” with “It could always be worse”. Yesterday was a hard day and she admitted that she couldn’t see any positives.

“Then fake it,” I told her. Sometimes, we forget that positivity is a choice but it isn’t easy- it doesn’t come naturally, it’s not always the default. Sometimes the only positive you can think of is “eventually this will pass”. That’s ok. There is nothing wrong with feeling what you feel and struggling and hurting. There is nothing wrong with not being positive when you don’t feel very encouraged. Just try not to stay there. Let yourself feel. Feel fully and deeply and cry if you must- yell, scream and cuss! Let the universe know you’re pissed! Let it all out. Then just breathe and keep going because this life is bullshit sometimes. It’s hard and there are moments you will live through that will challenge your faith and hope- its just the way things are. What matters is that- you’re doing your best and that you keep going.

If you’re NYE goals aren’t quite working for you now is a great time to reconfigure them. Look at them again and create a different plan. Remember why you wanted them and give yourself permission to adjust.

 

To Be Real

“Real isn’t how you are made,” said the Skin Horse. “It’s a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real.”

“Does it hurt?” asked the Rabbit.

“Sometimes,” said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. “When you are Real you don’t mind being hurt… You become. It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.”

Margery Williams Bianco, The Velveteen Rabbit

We are all in the journey of becoming real. Real to ourselves and to one another. A tightly wrapped gift which slowing reveals through trials and disappointment, triumphs and love.

I can finally begin to understand who I am– only now- only after so many years of life and even so I still make decisions I don’t understand and learn new things.

The most interesting part of being a person for me is watching, slowly, as someone becomes real to you. Try to pay attention to this in the future.

They go from a face in a crowd to a name. Then that name slowly adds facts. Likes chocolate. Hates reggae. And before you know it they can become more than just someone you see occasionally. You might go and see a movie together. Have drinks after work. Slowly and all at once they can become important and real. They can change your life and influence your decisions and future. Someone who at one time you didn’t know existed can become the person you hope to exist with.

As the Christmas holiday draws near just remember to celebrate the people and relationships in your life. Don’t forget that this is a time for showing people how much you appreciate them through gifts and time. Show the “real” people in your life how much you love them.

 

Never Flustered? HA

They say I’m never flustered.. always cool and super calm.

They say they’ve never seen me sweat and nothing phases me.

But they don’t know how wrong they all happen to be.

Because I never let them see the sweat upon my palm.

 

They don’t reside inside my mind, where voices roam and wail.

They can’t feel my body tense each time a question’s asked.

They don’t care to pull back my pleasant and relaxed veil.

To see the scared and tortured me that i’ve kept carefully masked.

 

“You’re always so positive!” I strive to be.

“You’re always so kind!” It’s hard for me.

“You are not afraid to be yourself!” I do it anyway;

but deep inside it scares me too, the hurtful things people think and say.

 

I’m not as confident as I appear to be- I just wear my mask so well that you only think you know me.

 

What happens next?

As this year begins to wrap up i’ve already begun to ask myself …What now? What should pour myself into next?

I tackled this year with a vengeance that was, though a bit fanatical, very very productive. I took new year’s resolution to the extreme but i’m very happy that I did.

The list is already growing as I mediate on what else I want to do in the coming year. I’ve never been one to find comfort in stagnation.

So the big item is, drum roll please- I want to run a half marathon.

A few years ago I would have definitely considered myself a runner. I went out and had nice long runs 3-5 days a week and I felt fabulous. I could run for long distances for a fairly long time but I never really pushed myself to the limit to see where my body would fail.

Well, crap happened and I stopped running. I still try to have a decent run once a week and I walk a ton but I can feel that i’m certainly not in that crazy running shape anymore. I want my old me back.

I’ve healed and i’m ready to push myself to the limits- So i’m back on the couch to 5K app…Yes, i’m that bad lol but once i’ve built myself back to where I was I want to advance further.. Next year I want to be able to complete a half marathon and then i’ll begin training for a full.

Why? That’s the question people ask and that you must ask yourself. I use to, half jokingly, say that I was training for the zombie apocalypse. The truth is- I want to be healthy enough to live without pain, run without getting winded, climb stairs and dance and skate with all the energy of my youth. I know I can’t be 14 years old again but I also know that I have the potential to be healthy and fit well into my old age.

As the snow begins to fall there are less distractions to keep me out of the gym. The time is now- the time will pass anyway and it makes much more sense for me to be using it to reach my goal. No more excuses! No more half-hearted attempts; no more gimmicks and apps and quick solutions. Now is the time for old fashioned hard work and determination and discipline. I have to embrace that saying no is saying yes. Yes to health and no to dessert. Yes to running and no to sitting and skipping training. Yes to the future me and no to the whims of the present.

Saying Yes is only the first step but it’s an important one. What are you going to say yes too?

Is “Pet Culture” Humane?

pets

Domestication of animals for human use is nothing new. Since there have been people there’s been a need to bend nature, including the four legged and furry inhabitants of it, to the needs and whims of the local human culture.

We raise cattle for milk, milk based products and meat; as well as chickens, pigs, sheep and many other creatures. The ethics on this practice are heavily debated but today I’ve been thinking more about the animals that we have breed for less practical purposes.

When dogs became man’s best friend the exchange seemed fairly equal. The dogs helped herd and protect and in exchange the human provided a share of the spoils and a warm place to rest.

Today’s pet culture is a little different. If these animals weren’t domesticated to the degree that they are would they want to be pets?

Think about it. Even the most cared for and pampered of all pets can still be a captive, a prisoner to the human that owns it. Confined to a tank, crate or room waiting for their human to return, spending long stretches of time alone and isolated, and subject to major lifestyle shifts being re-homed, gifted, or put up for adoption. Imagine how bored you’d become locked in a crate for 8 hours at a stretch with nothing to occupy you.

Our pets can often be problematic to the local ecosystem and the rate at which we interbreed to customize and Frankenstein new sub categories of creatures is quite alarming. As someone who owns a ball python, I’m speaking about my own ethical dilemma. For my desire to have a docile and low maintenance companion I brought a creature that’s nature habitat is warm and moist climates to a cold wet one. I’m also dealing with the idea that if something were to happen to me there isn’t anyone who would want my little snake friend, making him hard to re-home and more subject to mistreatment after my passing.

The question, for me at this moment anyway, isn’t should we keep pets because we clearly already do and in all honestly I don’t see that changing very quickly.. There are so many benefits to people with pets- stress relief being the biggest. My question is “Is there a way to keep pets more humanely- were the exchange is more equivalent?”  How do we make sure our animal friends get as much out of being had by us as we get by having them?

Cancelled

Cancelled is becoming a cultural movement but is it a good thing?

cancelledIt has begun to become common place for us to sit and talk about how technology has changed our lives.. The fact that at any  moment I can read an article and then feel compelled to talk about it on my on personal platform where anyone or no one can read it is quite remarkable. It’s revolutionary.

So, the idea is that we have gone beyond just “unsubscribing”and “un-following” people on social media platforms; we can cancel them from our irl lives too.

I noticed lately this weird thing when i’m texting people; I might get a response back like “Laughed at “(what ever I just sent)” and when I got this kind of text the first time I thought they were mocking me until I realized this was a text messaged based equivalent of “liking” my message.

Our online personalities are seeping into our everyday lives and that includes the way we treat people.

So, the idea of cancelling or “unsubbing” from a person is a little worrisome for me for a couple reasons but first i’ll tell you what I like about it. This is something we have always done. You grow apart from a friend or have a falling out and you don’t talk anymore. You might say hello if you bumped into them on the street, there isn’t any anger there, but you don’t get together for coffee or text them for advice anymore. We find someone to be disruptive to our self esteem or their behaviors aren’t ones we can condone or associate with.. we have to choose to distance ourselves because that is what we need to do in order to be healthy. Typically, though not always, something happens as a catalyst for this decision and a discussion may even happen. Both parties know why they don’t talk anymore. If you know that there is a person you don’t get along with and nothing they say will change your opinions and vice versa than sometimes it better to just walk away.

What this new version does is more troublesome because it can be more like ghosting. Sometimes the person being “cancelled” isn’t even aware that it’s happened. Maybe there was no event or discussion to let them know that the decision was made. There isn’t any space for learning or growth or acceptance. When you cancel someone you act act as though they don’t exist—but they still do.

Second, this is happening a lot in high schools,  a time where social life is very important (as it always is) but when our modes for interacting with peers, love interests and authority figures is developing. This may be being used to ostracize individuals, isolating them from those that they may once have considered friends. This could have lasting effects with how they interact with people for the rest of their lives.

The weird thing though is that it seems as though these young people are using this as political justice as well, directing classmates from bulling and using slurs- they are battling for cisgender language and inclusion. It’s becoming more cool to be kind!

So where does that leave us? What does this mean for the future?

Well, in my opinion when used correctly the idea of Cancelling can be a powerful tool for change. It is a declaration that I’m taking notice of what is happening and i’m not ok with it. I’m not supporting it. It’s actually a little more powerful than simply ignoring a comment or behavior because when told that they are being cancelled it can prompt the person to look at their actions and question if its worth it to keep doing the same things if their friends will choose not to associate with them. It’s the different between not hitting the like button and choosing to hit the dislike button or unsubscribing.

I hope moving forward we can still remember that we are all human, doing the best we can. We make mistakes and always will- we are growing. Don’t cancel a person because of a simple mistake– if you must, call them out on continued behaviors following clear warnings. And keep in mind that sometimes the first few seasons of a show aren’t very good but with collaboration the following ones can get better and it would be a shame to miss out on something good because you discounted it from what it was.

OK, that’s enough from me.. What do you think?

 

 

 

Down Disappointment

I’m not going to lie. It’s hard. It’s hard to see the bright side. It’s really hard not to sit with the complainers and the whiners at the lunch table and focus energy on all that is wrong and ridiculous in our world.

There is something slightly therapeutic about sitting with friends and hashing out all that pisses you off.  and it’s nice to have others to express your disappointment to.

At some point though this gets inky. It’s not productive to complain without also thinking of solutions. There is only so much people want to hear about the negative emotions you feel.

When my ex boyfriend broke up with me I was going through a really hard time. Everything in my life seemed to be falling apart and he would sit and listen to me cry and complain for hours. On and on until he couldn’t anymore and who could blame him. I took for grated the positives that still existed- I had him. I had my health and a job and a place to live, food to eat and very supportive friends and family. Instead of turning toward what I would have liked to keep I focused on what I felt I had lost.

Now, years later, i’ve learned that my positivity is a choice. It’s within my power to choose what to look at, what to focus on and what to allow into my head space. Just because something is offered doesn’t mean you have to accept it.

As I shift into yet another iteration of myself I have embraced the disappointment and the finite nature of existence. Nothing lasts, nothing can stay, and that is just part of being a person. That is part of the greater picture. When your eyes are opened it becomes impossible to close them again- when you start to glimpse the patterns and the purpose it becomes hard to believe in things you previously thought to be true. I feel like I will fight with who I was until there is no longer any need to. And until then I’m down with the disappointment- Because it will eventually lift me up.

 

Blessed Be