Saturday, August 18, 2018

Thinking out loud: On social media

I wobble between loving my facebook feed and needing to take a break from it.
I love that it has me feel connected to people I love scattered all over the world, and for the ways some posts inform, inspire or stretch me but I flinch at the judgement, the attacks, assumptions and injustice I see happening on social media.  

There’s this thing we’re doing. It happens less frequently in person, and it’s particularly rampant online. There’s some post or observation that makes us think. It isn’t a whole comprehensive analysis of an issue, but it’s contributing to change and reflects where that person is at. Cue the jumping on of the bandwagon of people ripping shreds off the person and their insight in the comments, lecturing all the ways in which their social media offering is not good enough and labelling them ‘not woke’ or whatever.

I have seen this play out countless times lately. Someone commented that they loved the work of one particular person. Within minutes come multiple comments about all the ways this person in the public arena has screwed up. Whether it be the use of a certain word, a collaboration or a drunken rant.

The implication being that the original poster was a lesser person for admiring their work. I looked up a few of these accusations. In one case, the person had used a word deemed 'anti-feminist' (though I know many feminists you use it) 2 years ago. Another indiscretion was five years ago. 

We need room to outgrow our mistakes and have the confidence that people will not hold one thing we did or said against us for all time, negating all the other good work we do in the world.

People are becoming afraid to speak up publicly. Me included. Actually, I have always been on the sensitive side and struggle to express myself fully in public writing. None of us are perfect. Societal conditioning is an insidious thing.

It makes me so sad. We are not all enlightened on all issues. It’s a journey, a constant unpacking and unfurling. We develop and grow in the areas we give attention too. We are all at different levels of unpacking gender issues, racism, body image, spiritual growth, environmentalism, ableism and accessibility, the spectrums of neurodiversity, the correct use of straws and a multitude of other issues.

I have never made significant changes in my ideology from being shouted at or lectured to. Which, admittedly, is a bit kettle calling pot black as I have definitely improved my communication skills about my radical ideas.

I think it was Arthur Ashe, the tennis player who famously said ‘start where you are, use what you have, do what you can.’ I think he was talking about becoming great at sport but it speaks to me about where you are in your personal development and contributing what you can to make the world a better place to live in. Word to live by.

Although these days we’d might add ‘And let others start where they are’ at the end. 

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Taking a leap

We had to move last year and it’s taken awhile to land at our new house and land. We're getting there. I have been appreciating how warm and dry our new home is. And no risk of flood up here on our hill looking out over the ocean, so that’s a bonus.

One adjustment, (and yes, I am aware this is a high class problem), is that we can’t walk or bike to the beach from here. We’re a 15 minute twisty turny downhill drive away. That adds up to a lot more petrol (in general as well, because we’re so remote) and it takes more time out of the workday to walk Phoenix on the beach. So, we’ve been finding ways to be more active at home. I’ve been walking Phoenix up and down the hill and we save our beach trips for a few days a week. It’s still the very best of things to do if anyone is grumpy. The sand dunes at one of our local beaches where the stream meets the sea are super tall at the moment and great fun to leap off. 

It is impossible to stay grumpy or glum after a morning leaping off sand dunes. 

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Making: a cloud dress

Gotta love a dress with clouds on it. I've been wearing it layered up on these cold winter days with jeans and a cardi. I realised that my winter wardrobe is pretty much all dark colours. A stark contrast to the prints and colour of my summer wear.
It's been unusually quiet on the crafting front until I spotted this dress pattern as I flicked through a Frankie magazine at the library. I hadn't heard of SewKnitLove. I loved the print they used for their Sarah dress and knew it would be perfect for this organic linen/cotton print I had in my stash.

I printed the pattern at home and only half of the markings came through as I don't have colour cartridges in my printer. So be warned. Usually the print at home versions of digital patterns are black and white. It's a simple pattern so it wasn't hard to recreate the lines but a beginner sewer might have been freaking out. I had a moment.
I love the shape of this dress. And it has pockets! The pattern can be made up in woven or knit fabric. 
I have a chambray stripe Sarah dress with a longer hem cut out, I think it will be perfect to throw on for the many trips to the beach this summer. 

Friday, August 10, 2018

the unexpected guests

We often have extra animals in various stages of rehabilitation. Both of us have a tendency to stumble across animals in need, or they hear us coming and throw themselves in our path. We raised an orphan duckling who even grew up to deliver us various ducks in differing states of injury or illness. This time the extra houseguests arrived in a more in-house sort of a way. 
When we had to move I promised the boy he could have pet mice. It had been a dream for years and despite my warnings of how much work they are to keep, he remained determined. He desperately didn't want to move house again and this was something positive I could give him. Long discussions about the ethics of keeping animals in cages were had but eventually we added Monster and Longtail to the family. 

Not long after we moved them to a different room they started acting super weird. I didn't think much of it but checked on them late one night to find a handsome wild mouse IN their cage. Mr Mouse had had the best week of his life with high-class food AND two lovely ladies. Turns out domestic mice are bigger than wild mice. The latter being able to squeeze through some of our mouse cage bars. Sure enough, within a week Longtail was looking decidedly round. Fast forward a few weeks: we had seven mice. Sigh. 

We had homes lined up for the babies and they were getting lots of gentle handling but days after their eyes opened the wildness asserted itself and that was the end of cuddles and a potential life as a pet mice. Mr Mouse's wild genes triumphed, the babies were definitely wild. 
We're left with the dilemma of how to wild-mouse-proof a mouse cage. Any ideas let me know. 

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Rad reading: 200 Women

I bought a beautiful book. It was birthday week after all. 
200 Women. The full title is 200 Women who will change the way you see the world. 
And it's true. The book really does change you, in the very best of ways. 

I had a book voucher languishing. I was saving it for something boring and necessary but the voucher was at risk of getting forgotten in the depths of my wallet. So. The book.

It had caught my eye in Unity Books on Auckland's High St when I was on my way to a meeting. It kept calling me in each time I passed. I am so glad I bought it. I pored over it one of those wintry weekends and now it's lent out, doing the rounds of various friends. It will be one of those books I return to again and again for inspiration, stories of courage, solidarity and just to be utterly gobsmacked by the amazingness of women but it is too good to keep to myself. Part of the joy in owning it, is lending it out. 

200 interviews and portraits of real women, their challenges and successes, highs and lows. All creating social change in their own ways, through activism, the arts, business, the NFP sector, through just being themselves. Some are famous, they all should be. 

You can see more on the 200 Women website HERE.