I just read this story to my daughters. It was so ridiculous that I decided to make a video about it.
It's strange because the Squids Will Be Squids rendition of the tale isn't much more crazy.
There is no way that I could have ever imagined that I'd be in this place even a year ago. My life is practically unrecognizable to myself. From the outside, I think things look pretty-much the same, but on the inside the changes have been enormous and unprecedented. I'd like to keep most of those changes "on the inside," but I'd also like to share some of them a little. Just a little bit.
Here are the main "lessons" or things I've had to come to terms with this year, at least that I can think of tonight:
Me, I'm here on my own with the girls, working through my own stuff my own ways: through competence and relationships at work, the maintenance of positive, empathic relationships with my daughters, through reading, and through creation of content of different sorts. I've set up the microphones at the computer and hope to track down some inspiration of things to talk about and create. Here's to hoping it works out a bit.
I enjoyed running back in high school. I enjoyed doing the long-distance runs and regularly came in 4th place in my PhysEd class for long-distance runs. I always took pride in this because it was the only thing in PhysEd that I did well.
Recently, I've started running again. I've started trying to run at least 10 kms twice a week, and to push myself hard on the weekends. This is my plan to get back into running and enjoy it, to get a little bit back in shape.
On Friday, I planned to do the following route:
I wound up doing that route, but it took a lot longer than the original map suggested. It was suppoosed to be 12 kms and it wound-up 16. And I didn't even come close to finishing the loop.
I take a lot of pride in this because it's the classic "get yourself out of a rut" advice: get outside and start running. And I'm actually doing it.
As I run, I enjoy the act of making choices: I choose to keep running to hear the next song, or to the next intersection, or to the next kilometre, or to the next round number on the clock. Between all these little checkpoints, I get a sense of agency in the act of running. It feels good.
As long as I stay away from running injuries.
I admit that privilege is a thing: as a white, cisgendered, middle class, educated male, I have some privileges that others don't have to deal with. I don't have to. Even as I tentatively plan to go back overseas in a few years, I am keenly aware of the privilege I will carry with me, and chances are I will use that privilege to my advantage. My white, male forbears have set up the world for my success, and have even provided excuses for me if fail. Lucky me.
One of the most discouraging things about having privilege is the fact that there's no way to escape it. Once I've admitted to it, it becomes an immediate, abstract, indefinable burden. My privilege becomes a weak structural support for any argument, a fallacy that I can't escape. If ever somebody doesn't like what I have to say or think, they can make an appeal to privilege and I will likely shut up, not wishing to create a power imbalance. For a sensitive person, the "You think that way because of your privilege" is an effective silencer; I don't want to contribute to the social structures that put me in this position, but my inherent privilege makes it impossible to escape the attack. Silence is the only option.
I'm already feeling stuck in the cycle as I'm trying to discuss it and want to abort this post right now, but I'd like to try to explain the problem I find myself in right now:
I admit that I have privilege, but I'm getting weary of trying to find a way around it. There's a cycle of powerlessness associated with all "You're privileged" attacks. "Privilege" and "enabling," both legitimate, real psychological and social phenomena, can also be used to silence and disempower. I don't know how to articulate this without digging myself into a hole, but perhaps I can do it with a bulleted dialogue:
But I also believe that we need to hear individual voices, that understanding one another comes first. Accusations of "privilege" should not be used as an argumentative bludgeoning stick. Any accusation that decreases empathy and sympathy will breed resentment because they take away agency, take away a voice. Privilege is a real thing, but using is as a tool to derail arguments, to silence ideas, or to decrease the power of empathy, seems like a misuse of the term.
Of course, I'm probably using my own privilege to redefine the term in a way that benefits me.
And the cycle continues.
Yesterday my daughters and I followed along with this episode of Hidden Brain as we tried to make some achievable goals. I don't have my daughters' consent to share their goals, but I can share mine: I aimed to, in the next four weeks, continue running 3-4 times a week and to try not to break down when we're having family trouble at home.
Here's the gist of the podcast from the NPR page:
Through the years, Oettingen has studied dieters, students, job seekers, love seekers, people recovering from physical injuries, and other strivers. She's found they all have something in common: Those who have stronger, more positive fantasies about reaching their goals are actually less likely to achieve them. They lose fewer pounds, earn worse grades, receive fewer job offers, stay lonely longer, recover from injury more slowly.
There's a chance that my goals might be too achievable, but I'm not so sure. I battle through a lot of emotional weight most of the time and am good at giving up on well-being practices. Not crying and continuing with running are good for me.
Oh, and on the topic of running, I broke all my records on Tuesday:
I started by wanting to run just 20 minutes without stopping, but then I broke 27. Then 37. Then 45. Now I've broken an hour. However, I'm only increasing my goal by one minute a run. So although I ran an hour and seven minutes on Tuesday, my actual goal is now at 39 minutes.
Achievable goals, baby.
The Internet Archive
YouTube: ephemeral ideas
(I don't visit these very often right now)