I once started in a new job, and by Day 2, I knew I’d made a colossal mistake.
Sitting in a leadership team meeting, I cracked a silly joke. The room went silent, and everyone stared at me like I’d grown another head. I thought, “Ohhhhh, this will not end well.” Four months of frustration later, I am done.
I will never work somewhere that I can’t bring my whole self, stupid jokes and all. As I job hunt, I’ve made a litmus test: my new favorite laptop sticker, which is silly, and I LOVE it. It’s from a dog rescue that funds vet bills for people who can’t pay them. If I ever find myself in a situation where I’d be tempted to peel this off before an in-person meeting… the deal’s off.
We often feel our emotions are blended to bits from our jobs. We sprint, run, jog, then walk; we heave, collapse, and lurch ourselves barely over the finish line to realize a new quarter, a new project, a goal, a new deadline to meet, or a problem to solve. Sometimes, it’s all we can do to stagger to our feet again. The voices in our heads start to creep in: “Just settle. Just do it that old, boring, outdated way, and nobody would question it.”
We send messages to others that we think, say, and do what they expect us to think, say, and do regardless of what our intuition is urging us to BE.
In these moments, when we feel like we’re just eking by, or else we really need a win or a confidence boost, it’s so tempting to do something dangerous: conform. A career in a box.
So, let me ask you: have you ever stood there, needing a win, maybe a bit more confidence, and perhaps a goddamn break from it all … and so you showed up as someone other than your true self?
But I think there’s good news for us.
Great work requires your true self and your actual beliefs to come through forcefully. Don’t couch them. Your actual quirks coming out from where they’ve been hiding.
Your work. Your way.
Your career. Your choice.
Your life. Your script.
What “one” is supposed to do is rarely what you are supposed to do. People around you, even people similar to you, are not YOU. However, finding out what path works best for you is squarely on your shoulders. It’s on each of us, and we’re entirely on the hook to figure it out and pursue it. Nobody else will do it for us, and nobody else is coming.
Maybe you really want to open the CAREER IN A BOX. That’s great! Some people like knowing each step ahead of them. Fantastic! The important part is that you know that about yourself.
But while some people want a paint-by-numbers career straight from the box, I tried that, and I was miserable. I realized (thanks in no small part to lots of thrashing in the wrong jobs in my 20s and 30s and 40s) I want a blank canvas career instead. And if I don’t like how this painting starts to look, I’ll just toss it aside and grab a new canvas.
Maybe you are part of a circle of loving friends who do exactly what you do, or maybe your loved ones don’t exactly understand what you do. (That’s me, as you might suspect. A description of my friends and me sound like the setup to a bad joke. “A doctor, a lawyer, a teacher, an accountant, and a [whatever the hell Lisa is] walk into a bar…”)
Because you can’t really use a single word to sum up my work, I say “writer” most often.
“Whatever the hell Lisa is.”
What I “is” is me.
(I did it, Dad. I wrote the best sentence of my life.)
What I am… is me. It’s all I can be. It’s all I’ll ever be. So I may as well stop lying to myself and get on with being it. People say “to each their own,” so we each may as well own it. If you really love the pomp and circumstance, sing the song. If you really love The Simpsons, buy the poster. But do it for yourself, not someone else, and not because you were told it’s what you’re “supposed to do.”
The expectations of others become crutches on which we lean when our confidence wavers. In moments of uncertainty or struggle, it’s tempting to stuff down our quirks and our convictions and show up to work acting like someone else.
No matter how uncertain or scared, or stressed you feel, I implore you don’t obsess over what someone like you is supposed to do. Obsess over what YOU are supposed to do. That’s a lifelong pursuit, but it’s well worth a lifetime.
Know who you are. Know why you do this work.
It’s your career.
Do it your way.
So here’s hoping everyone out there brings their awesome, authentic, whole selves to whatever it is you’re doing. Oh, and tell your dog I said hi.
My bad mood doesn’t have anything to do with world events. Well, not directly. I mean, yes, our country is a hot mess, and, yes, I think most people on social media are cowards, but no, they are not the fountainhead of my bad mood.
Everything else is though.
It’s been a rough day (and a rough few weeks). I Googled “how to dip off the radar” and here’s how the results came back:
“Find your sweet spot and incorporate regular breaks into your year.” (*me, useless)
“’Under the radar’ is a clear dip powder for nails.” (*me, WTF?)
And my favorite, “Someone who wanted to steal the Malaysia Airlines jet could theoretically shut off the transponder and dip down to an altitude of 5,000 feet.” (*me, woopsie…)
What do you do when your ambition exceeds your patience? You know what? I take that question back. My mood has nothing to do with ambition or patience. Or… directly, anyway. But I do want to tell pretty much everyone in my life to kiss off. Is that bad? How terrible of a person does this make me? That I want to tell everyone I know to go away?
I know what I’m not: I’m not a convenience. I’m not a robot. I’m not anyone’s motivation. I’m not cheating death. I’m not making a modern career. I’m not feeding the flame. I’m not known for what I love. I’m not baring all. I’m not expecting things. I’m not depressed. I’m not feeling all of life’s problems. I’m not always right. I’m not always wrong. I’m not breaking bad.
I am: Looking for more trees and less cactus. Wanting to write more and market less. Experience more and watch less. Breathe more and grunt less. Get hurt more and stay safe less. Hang on the bottom rung more and climb less. I want outrageous ideas. I want every bit, handpicked.
I think it’s time for a new chapter. I think it’s time for something bold. Now I’ve heard what people have said about me in the past. That I’m overbearing and even self-destructive. Well, good thing I have immense regenerative abilities, eh? I promise you I can grow back a new tail!
This next season I think is going to be all about extremes, intensity, obsession and desires. Some very serious feelings are bothering me right now.
First order of business might be to get this bad mood in check. I mean, I don’t think I want everyone to kiss off. It just sounds good.
My horoscope this morning read: Shine your light on the lives of others and dazzle them with your colorful conversation.
Hmm. What to say, what to say? Colorful. No pressure. Dazzle. No pressure. Shine, eh? …
Maybe I could talk about the open border crisis and how the Republicans are still asking the dumb question: “Why isn’t the Biden administration doing anything to close our borders?” I believe Tucker already told us why 11 months ago. Pay better attention, Republicans.
Or I could talk about the whole Joe Rogan thing. I can’t say I’ve been a loyal listener, but I have tuned in to Rogan now and then, depending on the guest and the topic. For instance, I listened to his 3 1/2-hour interview with Jewel. GREAT episode (#1724). I highly recommend listening to this one. But back to Spotify and the situation at hand … Be brave. Stay strong. Don’t cave.
Or I could ask you my burning chicken-and-egg question: Do you think your character is formed by how other’s see and describe you? Or is how people see and describe you formed by your character? During my childhood (and my early adulthood), my family, my teachers, pretty much all adults around me described me as timid.
Timid, adjective, showing a lack of courage or confidence; easily frightened.
I mean, when I’m told as a kid that I’m timid, then I must be timid, right? Probably why I grew up being a shy, walking people-pleaser. But tell me, would a timid person go toe-to-toe with a 6’2, 350lb German bully at the gym who invades my space? Yes, I got in his face (er, waist, but my eyes were glaring from an angle). Would a timid person call her boss out on a lie? (That was a dumb idea. I got fired over it.) Would a timid person turn on her camera on a Zoom call and spend an hour presenting a marketing strategy to the folks at Wendy’s? (The real, actual, legit big brand red pigtails, Wendy’s.)
I stopped being a people-pleaser years ago so have my actions changed the way people describe me? Or have I changed how I act because no one has called me timid in 25 years? Chicken? Egg? Nature? Nurture?
Or I could talk about my big news that’s happening in May. I’m moving home to Rhode Island. I’ve changed my mind several times over the last six months, but I think I’m sticking with – the move is on. Lots of reasons and lots of ah-ha moments, and yes, lots of meditation and looking for signs from the universe. Also, yes, I realize my daughter and granddaughter are here (and any day now my grandson will be, too), but maybe I was supposed to raise my daughter here so that she could grow up and bless me with the greatest granddaughter. And maybe Arizona was the necessary so she could meet the man of her dreams, fall in love, get married and bless me with a grandson. And maybe since all has been achieved it’s now OK to go home.
Or I can give you an update on the lactose intolerant, gluten free eating tennis player that I’m no longer seeing (at least he wasn’t a narcissist). I need you all to know that I tried. I really, really, really tried. I was calm. I communicated well. I was very accommodating to his many (maaaannnnnnnnnnnnnnyyyyyyyyy) needs. I listened. His love language (that effing book!!!) is touch (mine is not) (shocker) so I held his hand and did all the touchy feely cuddly things that he needed. I did all the shit – until I just couldn’t do the shit anymore…
Well, I suppose I can write about any one of these things, turning over every stone, then polishing it so the whole story sparkles majestically. Or I can wait till tomorrow’s horoscope and hopefully be let off the hook!
Do you suppose it’s terrible to talk about yourself or anything positive (or negative) that doesn’t happen to be about world events?
With everything that is going on in our world today, I feel pretty guilty writing about myself …yet here I am.
I just accepted a position with a company that will pay me a lot of money. They believe I am “a talented and gifted writer and strategist” at the “top of my game.”
Talented? Shakespeare doesn’t live here, folks.
Gifted?? Not inept, but far from masterly.
At the top of my game? Sure, if we’re talking minor league.
(My cover letter is pretty awesome, though. It begins this way: I consider myself a Swiss-army knife of strategic disciplines. I know writing and editing as much as I know business strategy. I am also a left and right-brain thinker. I believe in turning over every stone (in a piece of writing and every campaign), then polishing it so the whole thing sparkles majestically.)
Imposter Syndrome is real, but so isn’t my vision of greatness in work. Can one transcend self-limitations and be extraordinary when it matters most? The president of Ukraine proves it’s possible. No, I’m not comparing myself to President Zelenskyy. But some people are meant to rise higher in life. Some people have an unwavering attitude of gratitude and grit. They achieve this growth mindset and thereby achieve their moonshot dreams. I’m not even sure I know what my moonshot dreams are. And grit? I might have had nerve… back in my 20s. And do I want to rise higher in life? I’m getting old. I’m getting tired. I’m very comfortable in this mid-level area where I don’t have to work extraordinarily hard to maintain my innate drive to be excellent.
Now, a story about a pike.
Pikes are pretty forgettable fish unless you’re a smaller fish, in which case pikes are downright troublesome. (That’s what you call a creature that eats you alive.)
Scientists dropped some tiny minnows into a tank containing a single pike in an experiment. Predictably, the pike ate the minnows immediately. But then, a funny thing happened. The scientists lowered in the next group of minnows inside a glass cup. The pike, who couldn’t even begin to grasp the concept of glass and, using his tiny brain, began to smash up against the cup in chase of the minnows. He did this for hours until finally, he drifted to the bottom of the tank, dejected.
Then, the scientists removed the glass cup, and the minnows swam freely all around the tank, undisturbed by the pike. Tasty little morsels swimming right under his nose, and he didn’t move so much as an inch.
This is what scientists today call “learned helplessness.”
Learned helplessness is a condition in which a person (or animal) suffers from a sense of powerlessness due to traumatic events or persistent failure. It’s the reason we believe a situation is either unchangeable or inescapable.
What does this have to do with my new job and colossal paycheck?
Learned helplessness is also a form of thinking that we are a certain way, so we can’t do certain things. A job that pays a hefty salary usually comes with hefty accountabilities and responsibilities, right? Hiring managers don’t typically offer large salaries to entry-level employees. No, I’m not entry-level, but the idea that my salary has jumped as high as it did in one move makes me wonder what accountabilities I’m in for. Better yet, am I qualified for?
Back to the pike. He couldn’t get those minnows, so to him, he was destined to never eat another minnow again. I’m a bit like the pike today. I never pulled in this salary, and I’m reasonably sure I’m not that “level” of an employee. Hmm, how can I better tie this together? Try this: tasty little morsels are swimming right in front of our noses, evidence and ideas that suggest we should make certain choices or try certain things. But we don’t budge. We discount or overlook them. Like our ornery friend the pike, we’ve been trained into believing we are helpless in a situation – or in my case, not worthy of such a large salary.
This story runs in my head as I walk into my new job. And it’s the story that’s been running in my head for years. I think I’m suffering from a specific case of learned helplessness. Thanks to years of cultural norms beating a particular message into my brain, it was learned.
So, the appropriate next question is, if we learned something, can we un-learn it?
Yes! We can un-learn our sense of learned helplessness. How we view things may have calcified thanks to a previous narrative. Still, we can and should seek to change that narrative when we recognize our current story is limiting us. In other words, we can tell a better story in our heads, which then affects how we approach our work.
Unlike the pike, we aren’t running into the glass so much as other barriers. Every time we come up against one, we try to make sense of the moment. We explain the world to ourselves. The more we explain setbacks and obstacles, the more the explanation calcifies in our minds. If we aren’t careful, a pessimistic description can harden our worldview. We then suffer from learned helplessness.
We all do something complicated and daunting in our work, no matter what we create: content, companies, cultures, change in society. It’s daunting to think the product of our minds must be good enough to resonate with others, cut through the noise and spark action, and create movements, businesses, and legacies. That alone is daunting enough, but making matters worse is often how we explain the world in our own minds.
But if we knew about learned helplessness and how it formed, and if we could dissect our own explanations of the world, then maybe we could better control the way we see that next task or opportunity or challenge. We can harness our internal narrative for forwarding momentum and avoid falling victim to the tricks our minds play on us, causing us to shrink for the moment. We can un-learn any helplessness we feel and learn to show up better in our work and lives.
Perhaps I never pulled in a big salary because my work wasn’t worthy, but employers didn’t value it. And therefore, neither did I.
I guess what I’m trying to say is even though the world is in disarray, we shouldn’t put our own story on hold for fear of sounding self-consumed. We shouldn’t think we need only to speak the story of world events. In fact, in the end, the most important story we tell is the one we tell ourselves.
I’ve been reading a lot about ‘decision fatigue’ (I didn’t know it had a name).
To describe it, decision fatigue smells like initiative, angst, and Covid.
Another way I can describe it: when you have an idea or a goal and it turns into a big decision and no one can make it for you but you wish someone would come over and tell you what to do (and make you cookies).
I’m struggling with decision fatigue (and chronic hesitation), and it’s self-imposed, which makes it that much more ominous.
In 2009, Paul Graham wrote an outstanding essay called Maker’s Schedule, Manager’s Schedule. I re-read it the other day and it reminded me that, no, I’m not crazy. I’ve just been working in a directly opposite way of how I’m wired. If you’ve never read the essay, and you don’t have time to read the piece, here’s the gist. Paul Graham writes that there are basically two types of schedules, a Maker’s schedule and a Manager’s schedule.
Here’s a quote directly from the essay: “The manager’s schedule is for bosses. It’s embodied in the traditional appointment book, each day cut into one-hour intervals. You can block off several hours for a single task if you need to, but by default you change what you’re doing every hour. When you use time that way, it’s merely a practical problem to meet with someone. Find an open slot in your schedule, book them, and you’re done.”
To keep quoting: “When you’re operating on the maker’s schedule, meetings are a disaster. A single meeting can blow a whole afternoon by breaking it into two pieces, each too small to do anything hard in. … For someone on the maker’s schedule, having a meeting is like throwing an exception. It doesn’t merely cause you to switch from one task to another; it changes the mode in which you work.”
Now, speaking personally and thanks to this essay, I know that I do my best when I can position my schedule as a maker. But increasingly, I’ve been doing my work on a manager’s schedule. While it’s not a wrong schedule, it limits the kind of work I can do – and want to do. And it’s probably the reason for the overwhelmed feeling, decision fatigue, and chronic hesitation.
Let’s go back to the “self-imposed” point. Around December 28 (yes, one week ago), I began speaking into existence my 2022 goals – one, here and there, over several days. And now, four days into the new year, I realize my goals are an avalanche waiting to happen. All I want is for someone to come over and tell me what to do and make me cookies. While conducive to a manager’s schedule, these goals swamp a maker’s schedule. And as I just pointed out, I’m not wired for a manager’s schedule.
My goals list looks something like this:
Rebrand my blog.
Post weekly on said newly-branded blog.
Schedule 3 Writing Days a month (a writing day means I spend 3-7 hours writing consistently and without interruption or distraction).
Journal “Morning Pages” every morning.
Journal daily “One Line A Day in a Five-Year Memory Book.”
Be self-employed by June 30.
Have a completed first draft manuscript by December 31.
(Until Thanksgiving, moving back to Rhode Island on May 1 was on the list. This has since been deleted.)
Get really good at tennis and join a league.
Read one book a month (they cannot be writing books or marketing books).
Get deeper (and more serious) into my Buddhist practice.
Adopt a dog.
To not pass judgment on me and to name what was really going on, I asked myself two questions. First question, what feels life-draining? The second question, what feels life-giving?
What feels life-draining is not unsubtle: the thought of so many rogue, self-imposed, deadline-driven, high-reaching goals. It’s unrealistic to have this many at once, I know. And it definitely amplifies imposter syndrome.
What feels life-giving is easy to identify: Writing. Playing tennis (even badly).
I decided to make a list, for lists’-sake. I cut my goal list in half and deleted deadlines. Here’s what it looks like today.
Hide all the journals in a draw somewhere and forget about them.
Write 500 words a day.
Read one chapter a day.
Develop a consistent Buddhist practice.
Adopt a dog.
For the record, this blog post is more than 500 words. I already feel victorious as I exceeded my goal without much trying.
I think the point of my story is to not let conventional deadlines (or rules) keep you from growth and from your own transformation. Your life is waiting for you to see it, to name it, and to do your next right thing. And if you suffer from decision fatigue, it’s OK to pause, wait, and clear the decks. We’re not robots. We’re meant to breathe in and out. Some seasons are for a deep inhale, and others are for a long exhale. It’s great to have goals – but not at the expense of having a life. The big truth is, our daily decisions are actually making our lives. We’d be wise to pay close attention.
As a reasonably empathetic woman, I feel like I’m in the twilight zone when I hear leftist women speak about abortion. Firstly, baby-making is like a superpower, and secondly, there are so many ways to choose not to exercise the superpower at all. And, of course, thirdly, if you were the victim of a crime to which it forced your superpower into existence, there are also options. Killing babies is wrong, and I don’t relate to or understand these lefty women.
I started blogging in 2007. Fourteen years ago, I opened my browser and began sharing pieces of myself. In those days, I wrote about whatever drifted into my head. I didn’t check my grammar or read my words out loud. I wrote as fast as I could. I paid no attention to purpose, technique, my reader (or grammar).
Today feels like one of those days when I want to treat my blog like my journal. 2021 is coming to an end, and automatically I want to reflect on the rollercoaster year.
But I am not going to. I’m not going to replay the past.
Buddhists perceive everything in life as an illusion — which means that nothing has a tangible presence. What we see as concrete and permanent is only present for the time being. (That statement, right there! I’ll write it again for you.) What we see as concrete and permanent is only present for the time being. Eventually, it will cease to exist within months, years, or decades.
The traditional teaching is that attachment (in whatever form) is the root cause of suffering. And suffering, if you’re wondering, is semantically related to worry.
Suppose you knew that worrying thoughts caused you to suffer. And you knew reflecting on those thoughts couldn’t change anything that happened in the past, nor could they direct the future. Would you continue to think about those thoughts?
I won’t speak for all of humanity, just myself. At times, I absolutely want to change the past, and I definitely want to control the future. But another one of Buddha’s teachings is that the secret of health for both mind and body is not to grieve the past, agonize about the future, or anticipate troubles. The secret is to live in the present moment wisely and earnestly. The law of presence teaches that what we do today is important because we are trading a day of our life for it.
And that’s the reason I am not spending my energy reflecting on 2021. Instead, I am giving my power to new intentions that I will take into the new year.
If you’ve never tried stream of consciousness writing, I say give it a go. I highly recommend cozying up to your own heart in this fashion. Here’s what I have (after writing without pause or hesitation):
Goals for 2022:
Let people evolve
Listen without reacting
Do not expect perfection
Only commit to what is doable
No performances or projections
Communicate calmly and honestly
Ample space to be my own person
Share joy and peace
The point of this TED Talk? Don’t let life go by while worrying about the past or the future. Focus on and enjoy the present. One of my all-time favorite quotes by Margaret Bonnano is this: “It’s only possible to live happily ever after on a moment-to-moment basis.”
P.S. If I may make a suggestion – don’t try to live every day like it’s your last. Instead, try to live every day like it’s your first. There’s a big difference!
My deep need to express my point of view on current events comes in spurts. Sometimes I only go a few days, beating down my personal judgments; sometimes, I can last a whole week or two, absent but paying attention. I reckon people don’t always want my opinion. I imagine it can divide a room — which might be a good thing because I hear diversity is the new black.
(There is absurd irony in that last sentence that is unintentional)
But things are going on (some new things, some old things) that I just can’t figure out. They are mind-boggling-keep-me-up-at-night things that I can only not talk about for so long. So here we go – a list of 10 (in no particular order, although I did purposely save one for last … don’t rush ahead …):
1. Bill Gates is dimming the sun. The man is off his rocker. Where do I begin? Shouldn’t the globe get to vote on this? And when I get to the poll (because of mail-in ballots), you can bet your butt I’ll oppose geoengineering. He’s crossing a line. A really, really, dangerous line. A show of hands of approval for Gates to turn down the sun better only show Gates’ hands. If yours goes up, I’m coming for you. I want you to look me in the eye when you tell me why we should let this man spray a bunch of particles into the stratosphere. Our world is not a science experiment.
2. When did we move past Cuomo? What happened to the coverage of the nursing home deaths’ investigation? I want to know the results of said investigation, or is the goodfella too hot for being taken down? I’ve not heard a peep. And, while we’re discussing Mr. Cuomo, where are all the feminists? The #MeToo’ers? What, they pick and choose which victims to back and which predators to crucify? Hashtag bleepbleepbleep. You all are letting these poor women down. You’re letting me down.
3. Let’s not move past Cuomo. I heard Cuomo wants to give more than $15,000 to undocumented immigrants affected by the pandemic, ultimately benefitting around 300,000 people in the state of New York that lost their jobs during the pandemic. WHAT? First, they’re undocumented. They are breaking the law. They are not law-abiding. They are criminals. Maybe hard-working criminals, but criminals nonetheless, and $15,000 is not pocket change. Second, there are more than 19 million people in the state. While I don’t imagine all 19 million have lost work, I did find this article that says 1 million jobs were lost due to Covid. And until they ban math, this means an additional 700,000 law-abiding New Yorkers lost their jobs. Where is their money?
4.Did you know the Dalai Lama’s family lives in Bloomington, IN? I am flabbergasted. I have a client that said he sold them a house. This makes me smile for absolutely no reason.
5. Where is the outrage? Oh wait, look at his mug shot. Got it. Thanks. For the record, five of the six people killed were children. All five of the children were under the age of 10. Don’t know the whole story – what the grown-ups were into (or not into), but it doesn’t change the fact that five children were murdered. Who decided this wasn’t a story worthy of the media?
6. Pronouns. I’m seriously confused about this. I know it is a substitute for a noun or a noun phrase, but how is it … how do we say … how exactly is it used as a person? Serious question. If I’m writing a letter to Robert, and Robert identifies as he/him/his, how do I start my letter? Dear, He. And how does he sign his letters? Sincerely, Him. And then there is “his.” Can you imagine being in a meeting and announcing, “His’ report is late.” “Whose?” “His.” This is Abbott & Costello, ya’ll.
7. Marketing tactics because they think we’re dumb? Literally, this is the oldest trick in the book – cutting the price by five dollars or five cents because marketers believe “it’s more appealing” to the consumer. For instance, this camera. Bringing it under the $7,000 mark by five bucks isn’t an incentive. Try selling it straight up at $7,000 on the product merits – not to mention the brilliant co-collaborators that designed the camera. If I can afford $6,995 for a camera, I can afford $7,000. Just a crap marketing ploy that annoys me.
—These last three are big ones for me. I gotta take a break before I write them up. You should take a break before you read them. I get hot and heavy, and you might want to prepare…
8. A defining difference between the right and the left. The right is all talk, no action. The left is no talk, all action.
One reason our country is in a state of mess is not that the left talked for years, “Oh, hey, we need to take over the country and remake it. How should we do this? Let’s put this on the agenda for the next session.” No. They acted. None of what is happening should be thought of as “outlandish and impossible.” They acted. They got into our schools. They got into our tech companies. They got into the media. They didn’t discuss their ideas about how to infiltrate. They infiltrated. The right, on the other hand, talks.
For Instance, voter IDs.
We all know (we do all know, right??) that showing ID to cast your vote is the ONLY way to vote. While the left wants to say half of the country is suppressed because they don’t have ID, obviously the thing to do is get people IDs, not do away with ID requirements.
Here’s an example showing how the left is acting. HR 1. This is a bill that every citizen needs to read right now. And then read more. And more. And more. See what they’re doing.
Here’s an example showing how the right is talking. I’ve listened to several podcasts (conservatives) that discuss the fabulous idea “let’s get these people IDs.”
It’s. a. podcast.
It’s someone sitting in a studio with a microphone talking about the solution to the problem-of-the-day (because tomorrow they’ll talk about Woke Culture. And on Friday, it’ll be about the MLB. Then it’s on to the border crisis. Then Hunter.).
Where is legislation? Where is funding?
Did you know nonprofits have been working on getting the homeless population IDs for years? Phoenix Rescue Mission drives around the streets and talks to these people. What do you need? An ID is keeping you from getting a job? Getting a place to stay? A bank account? A car? All you need is an ID and you can make fundamental changes? Phoenix Rescue Mission has contacted Records Departments all across the country, tracking down birth certificates; they’ve stood in line at the DMV for hours; they’ve paid the fees. Small, struggling nonprofits have been trying to do this on their own for years.
Conservatives talk in news cycles. They don’t do a whole lot of anything else to enact change. If these podcasters/senators/representatives would pick the issue they’re passionate about and stop podcasting (although their platform is the starting point) and start organizing, maybe we might have a chance of survival. Instead, they spout off “solutions.” Solutions that are hard for an average everyday Joe to organize into an impactful movement – especially if they live in New York legally and lost their job a year ago. OK, I’m facetious. But If these conservatives would drop their microphones and start organizing groups instead of directing their listeners, “help people get IDs,” well, that’s the real come-up. I could go on, but rather, I’ll move on.
9. No amendment to the Constitution is absolute. Is this true? I honestly don’t know. I think I’ll be crushed if I find out it is. Really diving into this statement, though, and it seems to me that nearly all of the Bill of Rights come with restrictions and limitations. Here’s where I’d rather have the truth than some grand-standing conservative bash the statement purely because Biden said it. This is important. It’s not life-changing, but it sure is mind-blowing.
Aaaand… we come to the hottest topic for me. Before I get into #10, I want to say I am not a conspiracy theorist. I am not. I don’t think. Maybe. Probably not. But, oh, maybe. A few weeks ago, I had a client send me content that included a link to their “website.” Turns out the link took me to a Russian landing page. For a hot minute, I thought I opened a portal between Russian Intelligence and USA Today. Once I came out of the dark corner in my closet and removed the foil from my windows, I contacted the legal department. That’s as far as my “conspiracy” theories have ever gone… until Esther.
10. Are there two Biden’s walking among us? Esther conspires there are. She sends me images of who she thinks are two different Biden’s. She insists the one that was sworn in is different than the one we see on the screen today. Here’s the latest picture she sent me. It was taken 3 days apart. If you take a serious look at it, there are a few marked differences. His nose. His ears. Hairline. Eyes. Even the double chin is off. Bags under the eyes don’t match. I’ve watched Biden on TV, and at times his skin is thin and ghostly-white. Other times, it looks like he’s gotten a total dose of natural vitamin D. And his eyes – sometimes they’re blue… regular. Sometimes they’re black (and beady). I don’t know; this makes both my head and my stomach hurt.
Can you imagine? I don’t want to. To think dimming the sun shocked me!
I was listening to a podcast the other day, and the guest quoted Brené Brown. I’ve never read her books or listened to her podcast, but I did catch her 2010 breakout TED Talk, The power of vulnerability. Back then, I immediately tagged her as an expert in all things human connection.
Remembering I have her in the category of ‘expert,’ plus the quote I had just heard, and it was plenty good for me to search up one of her podcasts. The one I listened to included both Tim Ferriss and Dax Shepard.
Tim Ferriss said something. His comment brought me to another podcast.
I proceeded down a long and torturous podcast rabbit hole.
Days (and so many ridiculous podcast hours) later, I listened to Megyn Kelly and former Portland State University professor Peter Boghossian.
Who cares how I got here, right? THIS is where it all gets good. (Everything before the ‘but’ doesn’t matter.)
Boghossian talks about “lived experience” and how it becomes a reality, regardless of the facts. His example and I won’t do it justice, so you may want to bring up the podcast on your own, was centered around the number of unarmed black men shot by police each year. One woman said the number is 22,700 (unarmed black men shot by police each year). Another woman said it’s 7,000 that are shot.
As if living in an age of “fake news” and “alternative facts” doesn’t already make it hard to know what to believe, let’s throw in “lived experience” or “post-truth.”
According to the lived experiences of these two women, they set the number far, FAR outside the actual.
“My opinions are no longer things ripe for judgment and discussion, but rather they are opportunities for the fundamental aspects of myself to be “right” and to be considered “right” by the people around me.” ~ Kate Colombo
Gone are the days when people would say, I think. Now it’s, I feel. This language ultimately positions the speaker to regard his opinions less like ideas he’s informed with facts and more like personal truths. And, wham, there you have it. This form of discourse displaces the importance of truth and replaces it with “what is true for me.”
I’m not sure where I’m going with this. Before today I would have said speaking my truth is acceptable and should be considered more honest than any mere statement of facts.
I’m not so sure anymore.
Can we speak our truth sometimes and have it received as truth, but other times default to actual facts for truth? Is that possible? Serious questions. I’m not choosing a side. I mean, our personal experience influences how we decide things, but is that just an illusion?
I guess the truth is, I don’t know what the truth is.