TGIF: Heat Wave

02 July 2015

Hello my friends, and happy Friday! We're having a heat wave here in Portland, and it's tough to stay cool in my non-air-conditioned apartment. Summer came early to Oregon, which is funny, because we always joke about Summer not starting until July 5. Climate change is real, folks.

Anyway, I'm going to get straight to my TGIF for the week.

Trusting:
I am here because some people loved one another. Thursday night, as I lay in savasana in my yoga class, I thought about how much my paternal grandmother and grandfather loved one another, and how much my maternal grandparents also loved one another. I remembered reading my Grandma Louise's story about how excited she was to have my grandfather's baby- their only son. I also thought of how long my parents tried to have a child together until I was ready to come into the world. I am here because of love. This week, I am trusting love.
Grateful:
 I am incredibly grateful to my sister and her husband for giving me and my bf a fan for our tiny, un-airconditioned studio. Given the intense heatwave that Portland is currently experiencing, and which appears to have no end, having this additional powerful fan has upped the comfort level in our apartment, even if only a tiny bit. But boy, are all three of us (me, bf, and Lucy) grateful for that tiny bit.
Inspired:
This week at work, one of the chefs from our San Francisco office was visiting, and treated our office to a delicious afternoon snack of chocolate avocado pudding. I was reluctant at first, but after taking one bite, my mind was blown. This stuff is insanely delicious. I loooooooove pudding, but hate that pudding usually involves cornstarch (I am allergic to corn). The fact that there is a healthy, dairy-free, corn-free version of my favorite treat delights me to no end. This treat has inspired me to be more adventurous with healthy sweet treats. 
 Faith:
This week, I practiced my faith by responding to a comment on a Facebook post, of all things. Instead of getting into details, I will simply share something I shared there- my favorite quote from Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol: “There are some upon this earth of yours who lay claim to know us, and who do their deeds of passion, pride, ill-will, hatred, envy, bigotry, and selfishness in our name; who are as strange to us and all our kith and kin, as if they had never lived. Remember that, and charge their doings on themselves, not us.” "Us" in this case refers to the spirits, and in my reading, I took it to mean God (the Trinity). This quote, though written in the 1800s, is still relevant today. So many lay claim to a faith in God, but that faith is only by their spoken claim- not by any of their words or actions. I hope that my words and actions demonstrate the love in which I put my faith.
I wish everyone a happy holiday weekend, and please, feel free to share your TGIF in the comments below! 
 

Accountability

23 June 2015
Photo Credit
Today on my walk to barre class (ridiculous, I know) from work, I overheard a phone conversation that at first made me angry and then, after I mulled it over, made me feel hurt. Not so much personally hurt, but a more societal hurt, if that is a thing. In any case, this simple conversation that I overheard made me think a lot more deeply about my community and society as a whole.

Let me set the scene: I'm walking by some office buildings through China Town, it's sunny outside, and I'm just trying to get to my class on time because not only is it rude to be late, but they won't let you in if you're too late. I hear a woman's voice behind me, probably mid-late twenties or so. The woman is talking to someone she knows on her cell phone. She is talking about why she did not want to give up her seat on public transportation. "She has a child, it does not make her disabled." I could not believe what I just heard. Someone validating their decision not to give up their seat on the bus or Max to a woman with a child. I waited a few moments to look behind me, to see if perhaps the woman speaking was disabled in any way. Nope. She was walking along just fine in her sundress, and definitely looked to be in her twenties. She continued to tell her friend why she should not have to give up her seat on public transportation just because a mother and her child boarded the bus or Max. All I really heard was, "I'm really, really selfish, and I need you to validate me in my selfishness." I wanted so bad to turn around and tell this woman just how entitled she sounded. I sped up instead.

As I marched on, I really hoped and prayed that the person this woman was speaking to would be a good friend and point out this woman's selfishness. "Hey, I know you may have been tired, but think about how tired that mom must be. It's not easy raising a kid, let alone taking them across town on the Max. Just think about the message you would be sending that kid by giving up your seat for him and his mom- showing that kid how to be a good citizen." In an ideal world, if we all did the right thing, that is how the other side of that conversation would have gone. Instead, I'm sure (and I only say this because I've heard, seen, and been expected to take part in it a thousand times) that the other side consisted of reassuring and commiserating statements like, "yeah, it's not your fault she chose to have kids," or, "yeah, having kids does not entitle you to someone else's seat on the bus."

Why is it that we allow people around us to behave like complete jerks? It has become socially acceptable to go along with bad behavior instead of calling it out. If someone makes a sexist joke, or uses misogynist vocabulary, the crowd is expected (and usually does) laugh it off. It takes a rare person to speak up and call out the bad language.

Some of my regrets in life are moments when I did not speak up. I remember one time when I went to a beer festival with a new friend. This friend made a mean comment about an obese woman sitting on a small fold-up chair. Instead of pointing out how mean and unacceptable that comment was, I tried to change the topic. Not only does fat-shaming upset me for personal reasons, but it is simply unacceptable and mean. I wish I had told my friend my true feelings on the matter, but instead, I simply stopped hanging out with her.

I know it's scary to take a stand and hold people accountable for their words and actions. Pretty much every day, I want to call cyclists out for violating traffic laws (guess what cyclists: you have to follow the same rules as moving vehicles) on my walk to work. Seriously: get off the sidewalk, and stop at stop signs. Instead, I mutter under my breath and hope that none of my pack gets run over (me, bf, dog). Why am I so afraid of how a cyclist would react if I called them out for riding like a complete jerk?

Part of it is that we live in a country where you never know who is carrying a gun. It's too hard to tell when you're dealing with someone who might completely lose their shit and seriously injure you, your dog, or your loved one. Confrontation is frightening. So how do we hold one another accountable?

It starts with choosing your friends wisely. You're not obligated to be friends with, or even get along with, everyone. Respect, yes. Like? No. If a friend says something that sounds selfish, respectfully tell them how their words and actions impact other people. If that friend wants to cut off the relationship because you called them out, then their friendship is not worth it- they clearly value themselves too much to be a good friend to you. I say this from experience: I have had a friendship end because I called out an extremely selfish action. Trust me, my life has been all the better for it.

TGIF: Ordinary Joy

19 June 2015

Today I am bringing you what I hope to be the first of a new series here at Tossing the Script. I've been reading Brene Brown's The Gifts of Imperfection and took great inspiration from Guidepost #4: Cultivating Gratitude and Joy. In this section, Brown talks about a series she writes on her blog called TGIF. These posts are focused on gratitude, and Brown shares what she's trusting, what she's grateful for, what inspires her, and how she practices her faith. In an effort to practice gratitude on a regular basis, and in order to hold myself accountable. today I will share my very own TGIF.

Before I do that, however, I want to share you some of my thoughts about this particular chapter in Brown's book. This particular Guidepost struck a vein with me because it rings very true for me. Brown discusses the difference between happiness (which is caused by outer circumstances) and joy (which is found within oneself). Brown says:
"Twinkle lights are the perfect metaphor for joy. Joy is not a constant. It comes to us in moments--often ordinary moments. Sometimes we miss out on the bursts of joy because we're too busy chasing down extraordinary moments. Other times we're so afraid of the dark that we don't dare let ourselves enjoy the light. 
A joyful life is not a floodlight of joy. That would eventually become unbearable.
I believe a joyful life is made up of joyful moments gracefully strung together by trust, gratitude, inspiration, and faith."
What I took from this is that joy is found in the ordinary parts of life. Seeking the extraordinary means seeking happiness, which is all well and good, but should not be our sole mission in life. Seeking joy means being grateful for the everyday things. Joy can be found in the daily cup of coffee, the smell of freshly-shampooed hair, and in singing along to our favorite songs. Joy is accessible to each one of us as long as we take a moment to recognize and savor it.

So, without further ado, here is my inaugural TGIF:

Trusting: 
This week, I am trusting that whatever happens is for the best, and that when things don't work out, they open me up to better opportunities. I tend to get very attached to ideas and things that I want, but in the end, there are always things beyond my control. Letting go of my desire opens me up to new possibilities.
Grateful:
This week, I am grateful for my team at work. By luck or by design, I have the fortune of working with a group of sensitive, thoughtful, introverted and passionate individuals. This week we had a wellness session where we shared some common frustrations with our working environment, and it felt good to hear everyone's perspective and see how comfortable we all were with sharing our thoughts with one another. We might not always agree, but we value and respect one another's opinions and feelings, and for that, I'm grateful.
Inspired:
This week I have obviously been inspired by Brene Brown's work. I read her book Daring Greatly a couple years ago, and it is one of the few books that I can honestly say has changed the way I think. Brown's work is humanizing and real, and inspires me to be true to myself.
Faith:
This week I have practiced my faith by praying/holding people in my thoughts. I'm not one for telling people that I'm thinking of them or praying for them, as I much prefer to simply do those things. By telling someone that I wish blessings upon them, I feel it draws attention to myself, which is not what I want at all. I simply want that person to feel a moment of peace. Faith, to me, is not something we talk about doing, it's something we do. So this week I practiced my faith the best way I know how: silently, on my own.

Thank you for reading today. I hope that you feel inspired to take a moment and reflect on your own TGIF, and if you'd like, you can share them in the comments below.
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