Written Off

Officially written off. That’s our car. By the time the remaining of the loan is paid out, we’ll have little to have as deposit for another car. 

Fortunately, we’re still in possession of my Pa’s 24 year old Magna. It’s a tank, gas guzzling and clunky, but it’s well looked after and should do a few more years while we save for another car.

The job he’s got is pretty much written off also. It has been troublesome from the beginning within the organisation, which is poorly structured and stinky in culture. There is no guarantee that if we move up there with him that the job will last, and I’m hesitant to throw away my job security just so my husband can say he’s gainfully employed. I may only have a part time job, but it’s a sure bet, and a well-balanced position.

Being away from our daughter is taking its toll. He’s missed her 5th birthday, first day of school, first school award and so many play dates this year. 

He’s missed the first human looking scan of our baby and being present as my belly grows. He’s missed being that smudge more connected to the pregnancy by engaging with us in the day to day. Now baby is halfway through incubation the fun part for Dads begin- the midnight kick in the back when we’re snuggling in bed, and the last couple of scans that ignite anticipation.

Our daughter cries at least twice a week because she’s had to deal with a lot of change at a young age. She’s resilient but Daddy lives in a different town, she’s going to be a big sister after 5.5 years and a school girl now. Emotionally she’s had to grow quickly, but I see how it’s wearing her in places.

His absence has little impact on me emotionally,  apart from the domestic workload and being the exclusive parent day to day. I’ve always been rather self-sufficient. Sometimes though, it would be nice to not be the one to always hang out the washing or be the main source of comfort for our girl.

Life is drama. That’s a reality. It’s often out of control and grappling with the uncertainty is trying at the best of times. Now, it is necessary to decide on the non-negotiables. 

After nearly losing him last week, and not gaining anything tangible from his absence, it’s time to cease this experiment. He’s hopefully putting in his notice on Monday and coming home the following week.

This comes with a new set of challenges. There are always consequences to decisions. We take comfort in not being separated being the best decision for us.

Hair

Last Thursday I had the urge to shave most of my head, a drastic change from the 1930’s pin-curled black bob I had been embracing for the previous 6 months. That was the goal of two years growing out a pixie cut- a vintage bob that Dita Von Teese would be envious of.

(The hair was cut before the accident. It wasn’t a completely unplanned action)

I nearly chickened out, but my five year old daughter gave me the same rhetoric I often serve her: if you say you’re going to do something, then do it. So I did. 
I love the cut, and I even liked the short dark ash blonde sides with the long black bangs. Then, as I do when things get out of control, I start tinkering…

I no longer own a sewing a machine to run up some Pretty in Pink op shop finds, so instead, I’ve bleached the life out of and currently have a mix of conditioning treatment and hot pink dye sloshed all of my remains tresses.

I guess it’s a bit of a mundane thing to blog about, but for the moment I’m in dire need of catharsis after the shock of last week’s still unresolved events. 

A bit fed up…

Regardless of what you think of Trump, which ‘side’ you’re on, or are completely over the situation (i.e. anyone who has a modicum of common sense), I’m pretty sure the more the extreme left carry on the way they are, the more he is going to dig in his heels. Don’t tell them that though, they’re too busy burning limousines and executing ad hominem with great skill (in the words of Inigo Montoya “I don’t think that word means what you think it means”) to conduct themselves in the open-minded way they profess to believe in so fervently.

Whoa, that was a big ranty intoduction…

It is disturbing. It’s an infinite loop it seems. The extremes on both sides are as stubborn as the other and never think maybe listening is better than shouting or perhaps considerate thinking and carefully constructed, sensible and sound arguments are a better option. It’s horrible to watch. It is disheartening when I agree with some of the left side’s viewpoints (and right) but can’t condone the avenue of protest.

Now, please don’t think for a minute that I am trying to belittle the serious nature of both Trump’s approach and the response of the left, the importance of confronting injustice etc. It weighs heavily on me, wondering how I can be a help and how I can teach my children to navigate increasingly foggy weather of the political and global climate. I don’t even live in U.S of America and I can see how it is affecting the day-to-day function of some parts of my society. I also see how the pertinent issues of my country are being so hotly debated and fought over that I wonder if we are losing ourselves in the midst of trying to find ourselves in the frays.

I’m not saying I have any answers. In fact, I have way more questions than solid answers. It wold be marvelous for it to be clear cut in belief and action, but neither is true. I am, like so many who see themselves as somewhere in the middle, trying to find the balance in the solving the problems and enriching our communities without losing our compassion or respect or resorting to low tactics.

To finish though, If anyone is still in doubt about my a/political leanings here is the oft mis-ascribed Voltaire quote and a slight bastardisation thereof… “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it (maybe, depends on my mood, but hurting people is always bad), and I’ll still give you respect because life is too short to hold onto that kind of baggage.”

And let’s finish with something we can all agree on:

giphy

P.S. Should you decide to be mean-spirited in response to my honest and earnest attempt at being constructive, it will be necessary to use your comments as example of my first paragraph’s statement. However, I will give you the respect of keeping your tag/handle/name/whatever anonymous.

Unfriending, Donald Trump, and Character Development

I recently read a comment via the Washington Post about the importance of remaining friends with Trump supporters even if one strongly disagrees. It’s an interesting piece and one that we need to keep discussing so we may maintain and improve freedom of speech and the balance in political correctness. I’d like to compliment it by suggesting how disconnecting with those we disagree with negatively affects our individual characters.

Caitlin Dewey, a digital media critic for the Washington Post focuses on how our clicks manipulate algorithms on social media sites into suggesting similar content, and apps that can censor parameters individuals choose to set. She proposes that people have taken to blocking and unfriending those with conflicting opinions thus shaping their online experiences to a degree in which they become intolerant and nasty. She also contends that critics have argued this approach to social media is contrary to the core of what we value about our democracies. Her article emphasises throughout how remaining balanced in our online interactions keep a healthy perspective on reality, community and political intelligence both personally and societally.

I’m of the opinion that everything in our lives has a holistic affect on our person and narrowing our political views is no different. By choosing to focus only on those things we agree with we lose growth in resilience, assertiveness, and intellectual reasoning. I’m sure there are other things, but for the sake of keeping this short I’ll leave it at those.

First up, Resilience. Resilience is the ability to continue growing despite and in spite of stress and adversity. When we lack resilience to maintain our convictions and opinions in front of the other, we are weakened in our resolve, discipline and development of good habits. Without resilience we are no longer able to fulfil the capacity of thought, action and progression in our relationships, careers and personal development in which we should be capable. Without resilience, fear wins and failure thrives. We personally become shadows of our authentic selves, a little bit like Smeagol/Gollum in Lord of the Rings.

Next, Assertiveness. Assertiveness is the ability to share our thoughts and go about our day with confidence. The lack of confidence is a decline into mediocrity where resilience takes a significant hit. If we are not assertive in sharing our thoughts while listening to another then we allow negative and damaging mandates and treatments to come upon us. We begin to live in a way that becomes existence, where other people dictate our direction and state of being. We become any body’s fool and every body’s slave.

Finally, Intellectual reasoning. No one is going be the epitome of intellectual reasoning all of the time and it would be even less common if we chose to block out parts of the arguments and thinking of those we disagree with. How else are we able to remain firm about our personal convictions or change the direction of a toxic cultural norm if we are not able to rationally and intelligently persuade people otherwise? If we choose to eliminate whole sections of the argument we are missing out on opportunities to deepen our cognitive skills. If we choose to remain ignorant and stunt our critical thinking we are inviting mediocrity into our person.

So, if we choose to eliminate voices we see as the antithesis of our world view we rob ourselves of our best. To reject all of a person for one part seems obviously destructive in our character development. It is an inability to deal optimally and healthfully with offensive opinions and principles. We need to see opposing sides as a way to check our own character and develop humility in our own views and beliefs. The result of eliminating opposing and grey-scaled voices are one of these- apathy and atrophy OR becoming as dogmatic and narrow minded as the ‘other’ side. That is a serious character flaw and one of the few things worth unfriending.

If you’d like to take a look at what Caitlin Dewey’s proposition for yourself go here.

Reconnecting

I have a friend. We had not spoken in 5 years. It was not intentional. We had simply slipped into very different ruts that had we remained in contact would have perhaps yielded incredible frustrations due to the exceptional circumstances we were wading through. We are opposites.

A week ago I discovered through my mother that she had moved to the town in which they live. We had lunch. The next day we had dinner and it was like old times. Conversation was like finding your  favourite slippers in the back of the wardrobe on the first chill of winter- comforting and nostalgic.

These are the friendships I most commonly have; the ones that have lasted. There are several people in and out and around me that I have this sort of unspoken arrangement with. They run deep in connection and yet do not require masses of upkeep.

I like these friendships. I think they are the healthiest and richest I have. There is no co-dependence and yet I know should it come to dire, I could rely on their support and they on mine. They are mutual and yet there is no need to intertwine lives so intricately so as to become stale.

The reconnecting is one of the marvelous parts of these friendships. It’s like we’ve both been on a wonderful adventure and come home again to rest. There is fondness and there is keen interest in each other’s story. It’s like opening up your favourite novel and reading it again, experiencing that world like it is equally the first time and the n-th.

Misappropriated?

This precious time with ageing grandparents has been a blessing and at times, for my overactive mind, a wrench. I think so deeply about things that sometimes I feel I miss the reality of the situation. I overestimate my role, self-awareness, where others can be apart of this journey with them, and how this opportunity could shape my future, me self-actualisation. It’s beginning to feel like an incredibly insular time at the moment.

Part of that is my tendency to keep to my self unless with family or at work. We’ve been in this city for 2 years this and I still have no social network. There are acquaintances, but these people, as beautiful as they are can’t be considered as reciprocal relationships. Perhaps that is my independent fault or maybe it’s the intensity of the other persons’ mental and spiritual states.

The point remains, that I am becoming so aware of myself it’s becoming a bit sour.

This is not healthy. I’m not contributing to society in a way that I feel is helpful. Not that I’m anything grand, but we’re all born in this world with no entitlement and the responsibility to make community more productive and harmonious.

Sure, I go to work and support and encourage students in a community where they’re poor in resources and affirmation, but is that enough? Sure, I help out my grandparents, but am I being a busy body and potentially eliminating opportunity for other family members to help? Am I simply over thinking by being concerned about these things?