Pain and grief and shock and terror and overwhelming heartbreak have been at the center of the news cycle as of late, and I’ll be the first to admit I have no idea where to go from here. All I know is that listening is a must, ignorance needs to GTFO, and we have to keep making room for love, even (and especially) in unexpected places.
Micah Johnson Is The Making Of America’s Own Racist Creation: I began following Shaun King last year, and have been grateful for his truth, for his words, for sharing his experience with the world, and for helping to open my eyes to things that I cannot fathom as a white woman. Racism has been an embarrassing part of our nation from the day it was born, and we must ACTIVELY work to get rid of it. We must check our privilege. We must be willing to have uncomfortable conversations. We must listen more. We must.
We Live On The Internet. We Die Alone. (Nora McInerny Purmort): I’ll say it once, and I’ll say it forever - Nora is one of the most wonderful and badass humans I know. She and I became internet friends, and then IRL friends, and I’m so thankful for her words and her honesty, especially about hard stuff, like, you know, death. My generation is GREAT at reaching out online - liking, commenting, sharing, retweeting, etc - but what about when the real shit hits the fan? Are we showing up? Are we reaching out? Are we willing to step over into the holy-hell-this-is-uncomfortable-and-I’m-not-sure-at-all-how-to-handle-any-of-this territory? I am too often guilty of living behind my screen, and I hate that. As wonderful as social media is, let’s not forget that all those people we like and all those photos we share are just pieces of their lives, and showing up in your real, human self is what we are REALLY here to do.
Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie: “So after this listing of don’ts, what’s the do? I’m not sure. Try listening, maybe. Hear what is being said. And remember that it’s not about you. American Blacks are not telling you that you are to blame. They are just telling you what is. If you don’t understand, ask questions. If you’re uncomfortable about asking questions, say you are uncomfortable about asking questions and then ask anyway. It’s easy to tell when a question is coming from a good place. Then listen some more. Sometimes people just want to feel heard. Here’s to possibilities of friendship and connection and understanding.”
My sister gifted me this book for Christmas, but it slipped into my lengthy to-read list and I didn’t get a chance to get to it until about a week ago. My goodness, it was tough to put down. They way in which she weaves the narratives together, her choice of vocabulary, the discussions on race and family and background and story and belonging - all of it. I’m ready to read everything she has ever written now. If you haven’t read this, definitely pick up a copy ASAP.
Trevor Noah On The Fatal Shootings Of Alton Sterling And Philando Castile: In the midst of an incredibly painful week for many communities, Trevor speaks with eloquence and simplicity: “If you’re pro-black lives matter, you’re assumed to be anti-police. And if you’re pro-police, then you surely hate black people. It seems that it’s either pro-cop and anti-black or pro-black and anti-cop, when in reality, you can be pro-cop AND pro-black, which is what we should all be.”
White Lighter by Typhoon: Introduced to them in college, Typhoon has become one of my most favorite bands, and they just announced they are starting to record a new album. In case you haven’t heard them, take a listen to their most recent full-length album for a taste of the incredible sounds they produce.
Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats by Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats: While not a new album, I was listening to it again recently, and was simply blown away by the amount of sound they are able to make with their instruments and voices. Pairs well with whiskey, adventures, or nights in your room.
Love Is Love Print: After hearing Lin-Manuel Miranda’s moving Tony acceptance speech, I made a piece inspired by his words in celebration of the one-year anniversary of the Supreme Court legalizing gay marriage in all 50 states. It boldly declares that love is love, no matter what or whom or when or how or where, and we all ought to be striving for more love in all areas of our lives. Each 9"x12" original piece using gouache and ink on watercolor paper is $25, and all proceeds from the purchases of this piece will be going directly to the Human Rights Commission. (You can find more information on the HRC here) Today is the last day I’ll be taking orders for these, so if you’d like to be a part, now is the time! Love is love is love is love is love is love is love is love.
Ask Polly: When Will My Boyfriend Realize I’m Too Needy To Love?: This week’s collection is actually featuring my sister a few times (since she is wonderful and amazing and I’m so glad we’re now friends-and-sisters and can send each other things like this) - she was the one who originally introduced me to Heather Havrilesky’s work, and she sent me this piece last week. As someone who is anxious for a good portion of her days and has plenty of insecurities about plenty of things, her words here were like a twist cone with sprinkles on a muggy Midwest summer day that doesn’t drip on you one bit. Her advice?
“You can make statements instead of asking open-ended questions. You can stand up for who you are and what you believe. Instead of asking your boyfriend to prop you up and make you feel whole before he knows you well enough to even try, you can do these things for yourself. The illusion that you've lost ground, that you're losing yourself, is all in your head. You are learning, every day. This is your adventure. Not every single thing will go according to plan. Your boyfriend might dump you at some point. Or he might love you like crazy until you outgrow him and you decide to move on alone. People will tell you to care less about these outcomes, but you will care more than you can possibly stand. It's time to accept that this is how you will live. It's time to stop fighting yourself, day in and day out. It's time to enjoy the way you are right now. Your desperation is beautiful. Your disappointed Chihuahua eyes are beautiful. You have to see that, and feel that, and know it in your terrified, shivering heart.”
LET’S GO, FELLOW TERRIFIED, SHIVERING HEARTS.
Solitude: A Reprieve From The Noise Of Doing: Three sentences in to this piece and my eyes are smarting. Five sentences in, I’m googling local cabins I can Airbnb or friends who live in slightly more remote places that I need to visit tomorrow. As I’ve been working through some things lately, silence and solitude are both triggering and healing. I am only with myself and all my thoughts which mostly seem to be in the trillions at any given moment, but I am also phone-less, internet-less, and completely disconnected, which is freeing in a way not much else feels these days. It can be a bit scary to truly disconnect and to take time to make efforts to connect with yourself, and it all makes me feel a bit hippy-dippy, but as it turns out, we are the only thing we have for our entire life. Might as well try to go through it together, right?
May your weeks be full of listening and learning, active participation in your community, showing up, supporting yourself, and reminding you/your friends/your family/your community/your country/your world/your universe that love is love is love is love is love is love is love is love.