Jul 27, 2016

baby's second video!

this one starring me and my unwashed hair! camerawork by tony green, music by british sea power ("man of aran").

please don't pay me for this as i haven't licensed the music or purchased the stock photos yet. thank you.

i think: having children (for real)

ok my last post was a joke (i remembered how i liked jokes). but now that i've gotten that out of the way, let me write a few paragraphs because my thoughts meet the minimum importance requirement for inclusion on the internet.

i'll start with a few facts: this year i turn 35, i don't have a partner with whom i'd like to make and raise children (see post 1), and i could either afford child care or my rent, but not both, and they don't let you live at the daycare, even though no one's using that space overnight.

aside from the facts, though, i don't feel like it. i haven't felt like having a kid for 8 years now. the last time i wanted a kid was when i was getting married, and everything i wanted at that point in my life (including marriage ...and lots of dresses) came from this desperate urge to not be depressed anymore.

i didn't know at the time what i was experiencing was depression -- i just thought it was adulthood. but adulthood isn't crying daily and feeling no connection to your life. that's depression (i'll write another post about that later).

so i no longer take seriously the things i think i want when i'm depressed, even though i think i want them SO BADLY. because once i'm feeling fine, i do not want those things, and i think what you want for yourself when you're feeling fine is really what you want for yourself. hard to tell in the moment, but that's the theory i try to function off of.

anyway, i don't want kids. i could go into all sorts of reasonable explanations, like "seems like there's enough new humans on the planet at the moment, i could just take one of the existing ones if i wanted" or "i'm not sure earth will be a nice place to live in the next couple generations" or "i like naps," but really i just don't feel like it. having a kid seems to be one of those things people do because they want to, period. if you don't have to have a reason for it, i shouldn't have to have a reason against it. just don't feel like it.

people ask, "but who's going to take care of you when you're old?" the same as you, i suppose. either the people who love me or a paid professional if they're not available.

and people tell me "it's the most amazing experience you can have in this life," and you know, i believe that. i see it second-hand through my nephew, through my friends' kids, and one time i even got to take photos at my the birth of my friend's son, and holy shit, i will never forget the feelings in the room that night. and that wasn't even my kid! i can't imagine the intensity of love parents feel. it looks amazing. i believe it's beyond anything i can even imagine.

but it's ok i don't get to experience that. i'm not convinced we all get to experience the most amazing experience in the world. i'll take some of the other, lesser experiences and be ok with my little collection. because they're the ones i want.

Jul 17, 2016

i think: racism

ok i was not going to get so heavy right off the bat but WHAT IS UP, AMERICA? we need to have this conversation daily until we fix this shit.

i think if you're white, you're racist. it's ok! (it's not ok to BE racist, it's ok to admit we are.)

you can read multiple studies that show white people have conscious or subconscious biases against people of other races -- easy to find online. OR you could just listen to a black person and believe them.

i get it, it's so uncomfortable to think about how you might be kind of a bad person. but you know what else is uncomfortable? being black in america. so i think we can stand being uncomfortable for a few minutes.

and i don't believe that most of us have hate in our hearts -- most of our biases come from ignorance. we were raised in a society that shows us over and over and over again that the lives of people of color are worth less than white people's lives. it's a big, complicated thought-habit to break.

here's something that i try to do whenever i'm interacting with someone who doesn't look like me (this works for skin color, ability, sexual identity, socioeconomic status, etc.) -- i think to myself, "i probably have some assumptions about this person. i wonder what they are."

you might be surprised or even downright ashamed about what comes up, but that's ok too! we're all a product of our environment, and hey, back when we were cavemen, we had to make snap judgments all the time to avoid getting eaten by a sabertooth tiger. but now that our species has evolved and tigers aren't around every corner, we can check those assumptions against reason and logic, and then we can dismiss them because they don't make sense.

assumption-free is a great place to start when interacting with someone.

for any readers of this blog who think, "ok, but my assumptions are often confirmed," note that our brains always look for patterns that reinforce our beliefs and dismiss the things that don't fit in. you might not even be registering all the evidence to the contrary.

also i hope you know that cultures (and our perceptions of them) don't exist in a vacuum. for example, i'll take a common stereotype racists have of black people: they're lazy. but white people have systemically prevented black people from obtaining the same level of education, employment, and wealth for centuries. we have repeatedly shown generation after generation that it doesn't matter what they do, they can't have the things we have.

don't they therefore have to work 10 times harder to overcome the obstacles we've put in their way? and you might see someone who's just trying to survive or who can only work five times as hard, and you'll call that lazy. you know who's lazy? some white people. and some black people. all types of people can be lazy. some cats are lazy! if you think color of skin has anything to do with it, that's called ignorance and you can fix it by learning. i mean ask yourself: are you slightly lazier when you're tan? that's how much sense that makes.

here are some easy ways to learn:
  1. follow some black feminists on twitter (if you're not already a feminist, kill two birds with one stone! also learn about white feminism.) and when they say something that makes you uncomfortable, try not to get defensive and just listen and believe them. my faves:
  2. read some books and articles on racism
  3. watch a documentary on racism
  4. engage in black communities and black culture, and when you do, just shut up and listen with an open mind and open heart
i hope all this is super obvious to my friends. i've surrounded myself with some very conscientious people, and i like to consider myself pretty thoughtful, yet i have to work constantly at battling the biases i was raised with. but that's nothing compared to the work people have to do to battle them from the other end. 

so step up and try to be less racist, my fellow crackers. and people of color: if i'm off about any of this, please let me know. i want to get it right.


Jul 16, 2016

i think: relationships

hello good evening. i'm going to write a serious post now, the first in a series called "i think." this one's about relationships.

i think some people are not wired to be in long-term monogamous relationships. actually i think a lot of people aren't, but it's the default in our society so we try to do it anyway. i base this belief off 1. my own experiences, 2. looking around, and 3. reading (especially reading Sex At Dawn).

there's a lot of evidence that indicates humans are biologically wired to partner up for about four years, or as long as it takes to produce and raise a child to the point where it can walk around and do things for itself, and then we're ready to move on. looking back at my two serious relationships, that timeline pretty well holds up.

i understand there are many people who find partnering up for life to be desirable and completely comfortable -- those people should definitely do it. the rest of us probably should not, because it makes for a lot of heartache.

here's my real issue with it though, and most people will agree: maintaining a long-term relationship is hard work. and i don't want to work hard on that. you know what's hard? all of life. school is hard, work is hard, families can be hard. keeping yourself physically and emotionally healthy is hard. money can be hard, caring about what's going on in the world is really hard. doing your taxes, taking your car to the shop, chores, and all the unexpected shit life throws at you is hard. i don't want the thing that's supposed to make that all easier to handle to also be hard.

and you know what i've found? this lifestyle really works for me. being alone can be lonely at times, but it can also be tremendously relaxing. it allows me to spend time the way i want to spend time, and it allows me to care for other people better. and it can mean that people leave my life when they want to, but i can deal with that better than i can deal with one of us staying when we don't want to. and you know, the important ones tend to stick around anyway.

the reason i'm writing this is in case anyone out there feels like me, and like me has spent a great deal of time feeling guilty for the way we're wired -- feeling like a failure at the thing we're supposed to do. i let go of that idea a couple years ago and decided to live with integrity -- being honest about and true to who i think i am. my life has gotten so much simpler, and is actually filled with wonderful, meaningful relationships. they look different, and they change easily, and they might not even have all the pieces i'd like all at once, but i've never felt so ok.

Jul 6, 2016

baby's first video!

(where baby = me. me's first video.)

for my new job i get to learn how to shoot and edit videos! this is my first attempt. i would say the shooting needs a LOT of work, but i did a good job putting bits together and replacing all my chuckles with bird sounds! of course none of this would be possible without professional stone skipper and subject-matter expert, tony green.

go team!