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Posts Tagged ‘change’

for better and worse

My husband,
and I
recently took
one last trip to Legoland
before we let our annual passes lapse

(Much as I enjoy
Legoland, I already spend
too much time driving on
the weekdays to drive
more, routinely, on
weekends)

It was Anthony’s birthday,
and I spent much time
that day thinking how
grateful I am that he
was born, and that
our paths crossed,
and that he is such
a loving father to
our boys

There was another
gratitude, too

Recently,
I have seen
what it looks
like
when one
partner doesn’t
like the way the
other is growing
and changing;
the little digs
and pushes
and scowls
that say,
“You’re not
supposed to
be like this. You
are supposed to
stay how I know
and like you,
meeting my needs
in exactly the ways
you always have,
whether or not
that meets

yours

As I watched
Anthony with our boys,
I heard the dozens of
different ways he’s
told me he doesn’t
expect me to
remain the same,
and appreciates
what I’m trying to
change, and
why

He sees the love
behind my sorrow-
fueled rages, and sees
how the balance is
shifting away from
rage and toward
love

He knows I’m changing;
I couldn’t be unchanged
by all I have read
about centuries of
cultivated devastation
driven by colonizers seeing
(and portraying)
“the other” as
simply a roadblock
to obtaining more,
and more,
and more

(He knew
about these things
long before I did)

So he sits with me
as I say things like
,
“Oh, my god, people
in drought and famine
exchanged their kids
because they couldn’t
eat their own;
others, too weak
to fight were carried
off by jackals
and the like,
and it would
never have been
that way if colonizers
cared more for building
structures to protect people
than extracting from them
everything capable of
extraction”

and he hugs me,
and says I should not
forget the beautiful things,
too; that acts of courage and
defiance abundant but too
small individually to
make it into
history
books,
were just as
real, and can be
just as real today
when those things
are celebrated and
cultivated over mourning
that looks like
rage

I am changing;
more than being
passively okay
with that,
Anthony actively supports me,
nudging me back toward
compassion (and occasional
fiction reads, because,
he rightly says,
no one’s life is
improved by
reading all political
history, all
the time)

I see
how it doesn’t have
to be this way; how easy
it is for some to say, “when I
said ‘for better or for worse,’
I meant ‘for,
forever,
exactly
the
same'”

I see that,
and I see
Anthony,

and I am
grateful
for how
the love
of my life
accepts
all of me,
as we grow,
(for)
better
and
worse

After reading this,
Anthony said, “It’s
weird seeing my name
so many times; usually
it’s just ‘Daddy,
Daddy, Daddy'”

He’s half correct:
he is usually
“Daddy,” but never
“just” that

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Fortunate

I graduated from law school in 2004. I had no interest in practicing law, so I moved to Japan and taught English there instead. Though I was supposedly the teacher, I learned a lot and had a blast.

I moved back to my hometown for family reasons and took a job temping in a small HR office. Job opportunities did not abound, so I was simply glad I could pay my bills. I felt the same when I took on a temporary administrative role at a larger company before long. I sucked at it, but did my best to find silver linings, of which there were many.

As my temporary admin gig neared its conclusion, a woman I’d met exactly once offered to take me onto her team as an admin. I sent her a copy of my resume; once she saw I’d gone to law school, she became determined to get me negotiating software contracts on her team. I rejected at first, saying I’d have taken the Bar if I wanted to do anything law-related.

She persisted, thank God. I soon began negotiating contracts, and felt (happily) challenged for the first time in years. I loved learning about hardware and software, which I had to do to be effective at negotiating. I enjoyed negotiating and was grateful to have an encouraging, supportive manager nudging me outside my comfort zone.

I worked on software contracts for a decade. Then, two years ago tomorrow, I began working as a software licensing contractor. My commute to a full-time job with great benefits was just too long. I accepted job uncertainty as a small cost compared to the benefit of not spending four hours in my car daily.

My first few months as a contractor were deeply uncomfortable. There was a lot of ambiguity, which frustrated me until I took it upon myself to lessen the ambiguity. If anyone didn’t like how I was doing that, I figured, they’d be sure to tell me. 

Taking risks, I found myself growing. I found joy in that growing, though I’d started out discombobulated.

As that contract wound down, an opening came up for a software asset management position. I seized the opportunity. Sure, I’d never done it before and didn’t know a thing about helping ensure neither too many nor too few licenses were procured, but I knew I’d grow. I knew that any frustration I felt at being a noob the first few months would be counterbalanced by the ultimate joy of learning.

I “knew,” but I didn’t really know. ‘Cause, see, I had no idea how much I’d learn, nor how much I’d be encouraged to learn. I couldn’t have fathomed how much support I’d have, nor how mistakes would be treated as just a part of the journey of learning. I had no idea what it’d be like to feel genuine psychological safety for the first time in my life, among a team that makes me laugh while pushing me to do better every day.

I took a risk two years ago tomorrow, and another one fifteen months ago. Because of those risks, my whole life feels so much richer than it did two years ago. For how rough my life began, it’s pretty rad now.

This is all a necessary background for another story to come. For now, though, I want to say that I am more fortunate than I sometimes remember.

I’m thankful to be challenged to remember this.

Peace derived from truth

As I type this, militarized police are assaulting Native American water protectors. The protectors’ offense? Standing against oil interests while fighting for water, for earth, and for their peoples’ land.

If you still confuse Washington Post, New York Times, CNN, MSNBC, Huffington Post and their kin for news providers, this is quite probably news to you. If you have seen anything about this, it’s likely been vague allusions to hostile protestors–or, in short, a skewed representation of reality which helps you avoid seeing the many ways the U.S. government favors corporations over breathing citizens.

This isn’t anomalous. It’s part of the same system that criminalizes acts that don’t even warrant charges in other countries, the better to have cheap prison labor available for U.S. corporations, and the same that conceals from you massive prison strikes protesting such labor system.

It’s part of the same system that tells its people, “We want a no-fly zone over Syria for humanitarian reasons,” all while failing to explain that creating a no-fly zone is an act of war–one, in this case, that could bring the U.S. and prominent Syrian ally Russia to nuclear conflict. While conveniently failing to mention that its hostilities toward Syria began when Syria rejected a U.S.-beneficial oil pipeline that would have run right through the middle of Syria, or its non-humanitarian destruction of Yemen, where it helps starve those not killed by its bombs. While definitely not mentioning its decades-long history of forcing brutal regime change, or the fact it’s effectively committing genocide by bombing seven Muslim countries. Read more…

Our old tree

One of my landlords came by
Thursday evening to explain
they need to remove the tree
in front of our garage;
the tree’s roots
are beginning
to impact
the garage’s
foundation

Walking with
my six-year-old son later,
I explained what would
be happening

He got really quiet
and clouds gathered
on his face

Read more…

acknowledgment, an act of love

Yesterday, black Republican United States Senator Tim Scott took to the Senate floor to describe being pulled over seven times in one year as an elected U.S. official. In some cases, he was pulled over for speeding; in others, “driving a new car in the wrong neighborhood or some reason just as trivial.” He explained how this is common among the black men in his life, regardless of their position, income, or disposition:

His brother, a command sergeant major in the U.S. Army, was once pulled over for driving a Volvo. The officer thought it might be stolen.

One of his staffers was pulled over so many times for driving a nice car, he traded down for a less-nice model.

“Thank God I have never been bodily harmed,” Scott said, adding that he is nevertheless keenly aware of the currently slanted scales of justice.

Today, he will follow up with proposed solutions.

I hope you’ll listen to yesterday’s speech, and sit with some of Scott’s parting words: “just because you do not feel the pain … does not mean it does not exist.”

To acknowledge this
is an act of love;
the beginning
of change

 

 

 

Why I blog

We live in an amazing world. Everything is changing, and it is changing by the second.

More and more by the second, those with internet access have the ability to see what life is like for people around the world and in walks of life incredibly different from their own.

This is amazing, yes, but I think it can be terrifying, too. I see behind some fearful assertions questions like, “How the heck am I supposed to take in what someone else feels and believes if I don’t even know what I feel and believe yet? How am I supposed to answer questions today that couldn’t have existed outside science fiction a decade ago?”

I am exhilarated by the change. I’m thrilled to be living in this world where objective and subjective information is becoming ever more available, if I’m less thrilled by how easily the subjective is currently confused for the objective.

My fifteen-year-old self dialed up local bulletin boards in the early 1990s. She thought it was amazing to connect to dozens of strangers in her own community. After she created her own website in 1995, she was even more astonished when she began receiving emails from around the globe. She suddenly understood the world to be so much smaller than she’d realized!

Screen Shot 2015-06-17 at 9.44.59 PM

Fifteen-year-old me would be flabbergasted by 2016 reality, which is that people around the world will soon experience connectivity in ways we can’t fathom today. The horror lover in me finds this a little creepy, but most of me thinks the world will probably be less lonely and less exhausting as we learn to see the commonalities underlying all the apparent differences between people.  Read more…

The wild ride that was 20-one-five

I began 2015 between jobs, but prepared to begin a new one negotiating airplane entertainment contracts a couple of weeks into the new year.

I was excited to begin that job. I’d be working on airplane-related contracts! For all my flight anxiety, I found that exhilarating. Add to that the fact I’d be traveling internationally for my position and I was stoked. I spent my long commute studying Spanish and Portuguese in my car.

Just as I began to find my groove in that position, my sons’ school closed its baby room at the end of February. I had to scramble to find a place for my Littler J, apprehensive about the impact to my already long drive.

Before the close

Before the close

I didn’t even make it a week driving to Littler J’s new daycare before realizing I couldn’t sustain my lengthened commute. I took a contractor position with a company nearer the new daycare to shave most of an hour off my daily drive time.

I gave blood for the first time in years, prompting me to finally understand what my mom meant when she once told me I had beautiful blood.

wpid-img_20150224_102941.jpg

Soon after, I wrote my favorite post of the year: my bulimia / my beautiful body. Read more…

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