Posted in know better do better, mental health, mindset, thoughtfulness, vulnerability

Black lives matter, toothpaste, shaving cream

This post passed through my Facebook memories and it helped me to synthesize some of what’s going on. Maybe it will help you, too.

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This activity has circulated for a while in parenting and teaching circles in the hope of teaching children to understand the power of words.

In case you can’t read the text on the photo: You give kids shaving cream or toothpaste or something similar and ask them to squeeze it all out; they delight in this. Then you ask them to put it back in the container. Obviously, this is fruitless. The moral of the story is: things you say can’t be taken back. Once they’re out, they’re out.

I saw this and I thought … this is part of why so many white people dig in their heels about racism.*

Acknowledging we are wrong brings to mind years (decades?) of tubes of toothpaste and cans of shaving cream in our wake. All the damage, all the hurts that we were/are (potentially inadvertently) responsible for. We see all of that, collectively in one messy pile, and we feel like a horrible human being.

Nobody likes to feel like a horrible human being, so we don’t acknowledge that messy pile, and we continue to hurt those around us in order to protect ourselves.

To paraphrase Maya Angelou: when you know better, do better.

That messy pile of jokes and slurs and negative assumptions and offhand comments and staying silent? You own that, regardless of where and when you pivot. You own that whether you acknowledge owning it or not. Those around you know you own it, whether you acknowledge it or not.

You can say, “I didn’t know. And I feel stupid and ashamed for not knowing. Now I know. Now I will do better.”

Also know that even in the process of doing better, you’ll still mess up. Because we all mess up, because we’re human. Anyone who tells you that they’ve never spoken or acted in a way that was demeaning to a minority either lacks self awareness or is lying (or both). And also because this stuff is baked in to our culture. Fish not knowing what water is and all that.

When someone tells you their story, listen. To the best of your ability, put aside your own self-defense and listen. If you don’t believe them, if you’re trying to rationalize the other side, pause for a moment and ask yourself: what if what they are saying is true? What about that possibility makes it so uncomfortable that you’re trying to poke holes in it?

We can rant about the system. (And agreed — the system desperately needs an overhaul.) But… we ARE the system. Know better. Do better.

As an addendum to that: support people who are trying to change. Support people who are doing better because they learning. Too often, someone who had a different way of looking at things 5 or 20 or 50 years ago is vilified for flip flopping or for “well, you used to ___.” Maybe they didn’t know then, but they know now. They were part of the problem, realized it, and want to be part of the solution. Let them become part of the solution!

*Applicable to any power differential.

Posted in connections, exercise, food, mindset, motivation

Keep sharing! Ignore the haters!

There are quite a few memes circulating, as usual, that no one cares about your bread/run/anything they’re not doing.

I assume the person posting doesn’t care about them*, but that’s not generalize-able to “no one” or “everyone.”

I know personally half a dozen people who have made recipes in the last month that a friend shared on social media.

We made scones a week or so ago. A friend had posted pictures and in the comments, there were lots of recipes shared. I picked one of those recipes. We made scones. I posted pics and shared the recipe. The other day, a friend posted pics of scones they made from the recipe I shared. The next day, another friend posted pics of scones they made.

This doesn’t even count the people who see and make the recipes but don’t post about it.

I’ve had four people I can think of tell me that they were inspired to exercise in some way because of something I shared about me or us exercising. (Joined the run series, decided to go for a walk, did some pushups, whatever.)

So yeah. Keep posting. You never know who you’re going to inspire to do the same.

*I had a big tangent to this thought and will share it with you tomorrow.

Posted in Sunday photos

My photography journey 24May20

Walks around the neighborhood.

The last couple of months have included so many walks, runs, bike rides around the neighborhood.

Some of the scenery is the same. As the season has changed (and continues to change), different plants are out and about, so there is some variety.

The canal has water critters in it, and I’ve seen many turtles. I decided to go with Sir Nikolas Cameron (the Nikon, recently named; Nikki for short) and see if I could get some good shots of turtles.

I went out twice. Not a single turtle to be seen. (No married turtles, either hahaha)

I did, of course, get some other shots along the way.

First, the birds.

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Because I’ve been out on the canal path nearly every day, I have seen these guys since they were just fuzzy ducklings. Kind of fun to watch them grow up.

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This one made me laugh.

This little guy was in a proper tree and I wasn’t fast enough to catch him. (This is a serious down side to using all manual settings. I had been shooting in full sun, so my settings were set for that, and he was in the shady side of a tree. So either I miss him entirely or I have shots that are way underexposed.)

He moved to this plant and I snapped quickly. (That’s actually a parking lot in the background.) And I ended up with a photo of a bird wearing a party hat. 🥳

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And, of course, plants.

 

So many sunflowers! They’re really all over the place, which is delightful.

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Palo verde trees have lovely small yellow flowers on them. Many homeowners don’t like them because of the mess, but if you don’t mind them decorating the ground, they’re beautiful trees.

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This was shot into the sun, which isn’t necessarily the best angle. I love the sun through the flower petals, and I love the white outline to that whole plant.

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This is one of those shots that I really like and can’t articulate why and most other people who look at it don’t look for long but I’m sure that someone sees it the way I do and will enjoy it, so here it is.

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I took quite a few variations of this one and had the Climbing Daddy and The Kid choose which they liked better. They chose different ones, of course, and that narrowed it to two. I chose my favorite of the two … and I didn’t tell The Kid, because it’s not the one he picked.

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I love bougainvillea against the sky. Added bonus for the white wall.

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I’ve walked past this tree at least 100 times and not noticed its bark. I’m continuously amazed at how many things I miss.

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This guy had the gorgeous pink flowers from a couple of weeks ago. Still interesting to look at, just for different reasons.

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I love this entry.

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I haven’t learned any editing software yet. (It’s on my summer to-do list.) A few shots that have come out poorly and are useless anyway, I’ve been messing with just in the photos app. Here are a couple of those. (Everything else in this post is either exactly as shot or cropped but not otherwise adjusted.)

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This last one, the sun was hitting it just right to show rainbow. The editing was just to make it stronger, but it actually was there to start with.

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Posted in ebb & flow, meandering

I did myself in with background noise

A funny thing happened.

Weird funny, not you’re-going-to-be-laughing funny.

I went in to school to do some end-of-the-year stuff. Mostly light manual labor.

A limited number of people can be on campus at once and we’re all in our own rooms most of the time, so except for a few minutes on one of my campuses, I didn’t see or interact with anyone.

Headphones in, I listened to podcasts. When I got into a task that required just enough brain focus that I couldn’t listen and do the task at the same time, I switched over to music. Listened to music for the rest of the day.

Seven hours later, I was done my tasks for the day and ready to head home.

In normal times, driving is the primary time I listen to podcasts. That day, though? I just wanted quiet.

No music. No podcasts. Nice weather meant windows down which means noisy. And the freeway is in the midst of being redone. The asphalt is stripped. Ambient noise was even louder.

When I got home, I needed quiet, I got some, and it was fine.

It got me to thinking: do the people who leave TVs on all the time in the background get overstimulated by sound all the time?

It’s really rare for me to get overstimulated when I’m by myself for a long time. And I hadn’t considered that I might like just to work in quiet for some of the time.

If you are a background noise kind of person, do you get to a point where you need to turn it off? Inquiry minds want to know…