Writer’s Wednesday|4.8.15

Writer’s Wednesday|4.8.15

Why I’m not “Good People”

By: Jenny Gadget

I’m not a nice person.

I’m not a good person.

I’m not a kind person.

This isn’t to say that I don’t ever try to be any of these three things.  I do, especially the last two.

It’s more to say that, for me, surviving in this cissexist, racist, ableist, heteronormative, classist, often fucked up world of ours has involved rejecting the idea that “good” and “bad” are static states of being.  I will never be a “good person” because, to me, “good” is not something that you achieve.  It’s an ongoing process that never ends.

It is, in fact, almost impossible not to be doing bad things as well as good when you are human and therefore flawed.  Especially when you are part of a messed up system, as we all are.

This, to me, is why it’s important to call out bad behavior, or hurtful language, or even ways of framing the world that make it easier to ignore harm that is being done to others.

Not because people deserve to be shamed or judged or called out, but because we are all fish who sometimes forget that the water is there, and part of helping each other do better involves pointing out when we didn’t do as well as we could have.

Since the world is complex (and not just in bad ways), the fact that we have the same goals doesn’t mean that we will always agree.  It may not always be possible to determine who was “right” and who was wrong about the choices people make or the words they use.

But this is where my librarian training kicks in and points out that more speech is better than less.  That it’s better to let people know what it is that you think they could have done better, so that they can decide for themselves if they want to change or not, rather than never giving them that option.  It’s also important to be specific about it, so that no one is left second guessing everything they do and say.

To me, it’s a sign of trust, to tell someone when what they did or said hurt you.  That’s not a thing you tell people when you think they won’t care.  Or worse, will use it to hurt you more.

When I tell people that what they said was sexist, or racist, or otherwise hurtful, I don’t do it because I want to hurt them. I don’t do it because I think they are bad people.  I don’t do it because I think they are irredeemably sexist, while I’m a perfect feminist, a model for everyone to follow.  I’m not specific about what they did wrong simply because I want to nitpick, I promise you that I have better things to do with my time.

I do it because this is what I truly believe, and because I have faith in their ability and willingness to do good things.  And most of all because I have faith that they will respect my opinion even if they disagree with it.

So I want to ask everyone out there who is asking all us to “keep YA kind” to remember that, while criticism is hard to take, criticism is not lack of kindness.  It’s often a measure of trust.

Everyone has flaws, everyone messes up.  That includes you, that includes me.  That includes the author you admire, the friend that has always been there for you, the teacher that inspired generations.

That someone is “good people” should never be an excuse for not listening, or used to admonish others for speaking.  Because “good” is something that you make the decision to do every second of every day, not something that you acquire and then use as a shield.

I have so much more to say on so many things that has happened this past week.  And so many links to smart women who you should really listen to more than me.  Hopefully I’ll even manage to make some link lists and get those words out and onto paper – er, pixels.  But I wanted to start with that, because I think it’s the most fundamental.

If you don’t trust that I am trying to do good as well, that my anger is a sign of hurt and not hate, that the opinions I express are genuine and not merely performative, that I am in fact trying to be kind to a great number of people, even when you disagree with me, even when I say things that hurt you or your friends or make you uncomfortable, then this conversation is never going to go anywhere.

Instead, “kindness” will once again become a way to reinforce the status quo, rather than a call to be more compassionate and empathetic.

Instead both “kind” and “good” will be used to avoid examining the problems we most certainly have, a way to once again NOT have the hard and complicated and uncomfortable conversations that are long overdue.

– Jenny 

https://jennyslibrary.wordpress.com

Calling All Writer’s

Calling All Writer’s


While cleaning out my closet a few days ago, I came across an old copy of “Chicken Soup for the Teenage Soul” (don’t judge me). Of course, I stopped to read a few of the stories & before I knew it nostalgia set in. I was taken to a place of serenity. I had forgotten how much I enjoyed the Chicken Soup series & the realness of its contents. People unveiled their gains & losses in short stories about tragedy, happiness & love. It was compelling, these writers were sharing so much of themselves to complete strangers. With no fear of judgment, it was so courageous that it left me feeling inspired. (I’m a sap, I know) After a few more minutes of reading, I put the book aside & continued to clean. That’s when a brilliant idea came to me. (Eureka!) I thought; why not use Perspective BLAH as a platform for other writers to share their stories & experiences. I realized I was on to something super cool until doing some research & figuring out it wasn’t a very original idea (Whomp) but hey…who cares! I told myself “be not discouraged” & began to brainstorm.

Here’s the plan, I am going to start “Writer’s Wednesday”. Every week PB will become a platform for ALL writers to showcase their talent. I’m talking poetry, testimonies & short stories (nonfictional, fantasy, romance & thriller). I invite all writers to submit their material to perspectiveblah@gmail.com, along with a photo of themselves, the title of their excerpts & the link to their personal blog/website.  All material submitted will be reviewed & posted the following Wednesday. Isn’t that exciting?!

Not sold on “Writer’s Wednesday”? Here are a few reasons why I think you should participate:

  1. Writing can be therapeutic; on Perspective BLAH you can share whatever you’d like without being judged or criticized. Of course, you don’t have to share anything too personal to the point of embarrassment.
  2. Practice makes perfect! If you are actually considering a career in writing why not start by sharing some of your material that you are not so sure about. Get feedback & encouragement from fellow writers with the same aspirations as yourself.
  3. Gain Confidence; when you see your excerpts posted on Perspective BLAH you will feel a sense of appreciation as an artist. I believe every story is worth reading!

Lastly, I want this to be fun for everyone, readers & writers included. Do not be discouraged or second guess your writing! I look forward to receiving, reading & sharing your submissions made to perspectiveblah@gmail.com.

Until next time,

WC.

“Writers write while dreamers procrastinate.”  – Besa Kosova

Who Said Building Forts are Lame?

Who Said Building Forts are Lame?

I can recall spending hours with my cousins, turning boring days into fun-filled quests only using our imaginations. We would Jump rope, investigate ant hills & build forts to protect us from the monsters we read about in the latest Goosebumps book. Life was good, we still had our innocence. Kids today would call those activities “lame”, then turn around & ask to borrow our phones to “YouTube” the latest trending videos.  Whatever happened to board games & playing freeze tag? Story time & game night? Hell, families don’t even sit down & enjoy dinner time together anymore. It’s a shame.

It saddens me to think of our youth in today’s society. I find that in this particular day & age people are acceptable to children being exposed to tasteless-content. I mean, you can’t even turn on the damn television without hearing the latest details on what celebrity is screwing who, or what kind of under garments Kim K wore to the grocery store. It’s bad enough that we already have real world issues to protect our young ones from like racism & violence. BUT now we have to worry about our kids trying new things they’ve seen online for fun, like “Smack Cam”, or the idiotic “Fire Challenge” where they douse themselves with inflammable liquid & set fire to their bodies. Who deemed that shit creative or fun?? Kids do these things, and then use the internet as a platform to get views & likes. WE encourage this ridiculous behavior by helping the videos go viral with every repost.

My Questions?

How do we bring back the essence of childhood? How can we reignite the creativity of a child’s imagination? Cut down tv time? Encourage outdoor play? Take away tablets & Ipads?

My Commitment:

I will continue to watch my son’s activity & make sure that he knows the importance of good decision-making. Instill great leadership skills, and show him that reading books are fun & building forts is the COOLEST THING EVER! Then maybe he won’t become lost to a generation that partakes in dangerous “Challenges” for fun.

educate children

“UNLESS someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.”   – The Lorax (1971)

Until Next Time,

WC.

Kindness Breeds Kindness

Kindness Breeds Kindness

There comes a time in life when we have to learn to stop letting our initial reaction to bullshit be our only reaction. I’ve had my share of moments when I wanted to snap on people. For example, the girl on the train who felt like I needed to know her entire life story, or the co-worker with the bad breath who complains as if it’s a normal form of self-expression. Oh, the many times I’ve wanted to yell “Shut up!” or “Nobody fucking cares!” Seriously, how harsh would that have been? I’m not sure if it’s the patience I’ve developed as a mother, or the respect for others my parents instilled in me as a child that keeps me from reacting to things that annoy me with ignorant behavior…BUT! I can tell you that I have my days when I want to throw all that shit out the window & disrespect some people to the fullest extent! Where would that get me though?

Say you wake up on the wrong side and walk into your place of employment with a funky attitude. Your demeanor reads “don’t screw with me or else…” & every word out of your mouth is drenched in rudeness. A fellow employee walks up to you & asks if everything is OK. (Now pause) Your initial reaction is to tell that person to “fuck off” & mind their business, but because they have displayed the kind act of concern you take a second & explain that you’re just having a bad day. You see how that worked out?There was no need to go upside anybody’s head with a keyboard & end up terminated or in custody for aggravated assault with a “deadly weapon.” What you did was react with humility & patience (aka Kindness).

What if I told you kindness should always be your response to every situation? Would you believe me? Kindness has its way of wooing over the most unpleasant people in the universe AND as corny as this may sound, kindness is contagious. I want you to practice kindness for a day, instead of responding with sarcasm or aggression give people patience & kindness. See if they return your kind gesture with a kind gesture. kindness breeds kindness pic

Until next time,

WC.