Black Lives Matter

I don’t know how to say what I want to say.

I want to acknowledge that I have no perspective from which to write about this. Being born into a white, middle class family with married, sober parents afforded me protection and a luxury I have always taken for granted. I had a car and a cell phone at 16, I rode horses as a hobby, and the only prejudices I have ever faced have been based on my uterus or the fact that my parents weren’t in the 1%. I don’t know what it’s like to be a person of colour. I don’t know the struggle. I don’t know the fear. I don’t know the anguish of hundreds of years of entrenched racism and inherited disadvantages.

But it angers me. And I want to change it.

My grandparents grew up in mid-west America where people of colour weren’t considered people – segregation, KKK, and lynchings were common and accepted. My parents grew up in an America of changing values – they were small children when the last of the Jim Crow laws were finally abolished, but still raised by parents who were adjusting to the changes. My siblings and I grew up in an America that was much more removed from our grandparent’s – but it was still changing. We grew up with our parents and our teachers who urged us to treat everyone with respect and fairness regardless of their skin colour, who taught us about the cruelty of slavery and the one most offensive word we could never say. We grew up seeing everyone as equal – confused as to why racist people were racist, and why racism was still a thing. We learned that some older people – such as our less informed mountain people family members – came from a “different time” and that it was ok to brush it off when these otherwise good older people said inappropriate things. “From a different Time” became a reasonable pass for mild racist behaviour. “That’s just the way they thought back then, but it’s ok because they’re not racist.”

I never thought about the difference between “not racist” and “anti-racist” before last week. I’ve been sitting with what these terms mean, and what it means in terms of my behaviour, how I think, how I act. I say I’m not racist, and I believe I’m not racist – there’s not a part of me that would condemn someone based on the colour of their skin. It’s simply not the way I’m wired. But I haven’t been acting as an anti-racist, and I see that now. We lived in the South for most of my childhood, and racism was prevalent. I knew racism was bad and made me uncomfortable, and I then learned how to not be racist because I saw racism happening. I learned to condemn bad behaviour. But, hand in hand with that, I learned how to rationalise and apologise for “innocent” racism – from others and from myself. I laughed at jokes — It’s ok I laugh at jokes about white people too. I’ve given a wide berth on the sidewalk to someone in a big hooded sweatshirt – It’s ok, I wouldn’t walk close to any man in a big hooded sweatshirt. I’ve listened to elderly family members saying disparaging things and didn’t say anything — It’s ok, he’s from a different time period, and I was too young and scared to say anything.

So yeah. I’m not a racist. But my silence and excuses and inaction have contributed to systemic racism. And I own up to that. I’m a part of the “I hope something changes soon”/”I voted for Obama twice and donated once to the ACLU in 2016 and posted a couple of memes so I’m helping” self-serving pat on the back crowd who sits back, justified in their inaction.

But I don’t want to be that person anymore. Change starts at home, it starts within. And if I want to stop feeling horrified and enraged about what’s happening to people of colour, I have to change how I react when I see racism happening. I have to turn that reaction into action. I have to help where I can – with my votes, with my dollars, with my voice to extinguish racism where I see or hear it. While I can’t make up for hundreds of years of abysmal behaviour, I can do my part to try. This is not ‘virtue signalling.’ This me acknowledging that I haven’t been the best, and I can and want to do better.

My nieces and nephews, and my friend’s children are growing up in a time where Black Americans are empowered and rising up against the systemic racism that has been marginalising them. I feel like this is our time to change our culture for the better. To use our votes to remove racist, hate mongering, fear cultivating egomaniacs from positions of power, and to fight for lawmakers who give Black Americans and people of colour the voice, the chances, and ALL the opportunities that white Americans have.

Black lives matter. Past, present, and future. And I stand with them.

Be Gentle with Yourself

I was talking to my friend Kristin today about getting stuck in the void of isolation – I’m at day 26 of lock down and I’ve really started to notice how the days are all blending into one. Wake up, breakfast, work, lunch, work, walk, grocery store, dinner, chores, relax, bed, repeat. And how much of an emotional roller coaster it is — one hour it’s fine and suddenly you’re bottomed out under the weight of misplaced existential dread and your place in the suffering Olympics, and in a few hours its fine again. It can be tough (yes, this blog is about First World Problems, let’s get that out of the way). Continue reading “Be Gentle with Yourself”

What a Time to be Alive

Remember the phrase “March comes in like a lion, but goes out like a lamb”? People in the States said it all the time, because the beginning of Spring – March – usually has heaps of storms and crazy temperature changes, but April is supposedly¬†the start of the “beautiful months” (If you’re into everything blooming and plants spooging pollen everywhere – I much prefer Fall when everything dies and I can stop blowing my nose and overdosing on anti-histamines). I could say this phrase applies to March 2020. But I could also say March came in like a Sherman Tank and left like a pack of angry terminators in 1996.

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actual depiction of March 22-31

But seriously. Continue reading “What a Time to be Alive”

Mac n cheese n memories

*this post brought to you by Distracting Yourself From the Growing Global Shitstorm*

Every time I make Mac n Cheese (the blue box, powered only – in a choice between chemical poisons, I’d rather have powdered cheese than that petroleum laden orange squeeze cheese from the packet. I have firmly held beliefs on my white trash food), I have the same two thoughts: Continue reading “Mac n cheese n memories”

Year of the Aud-Rat

I was balancing my check book (lawl, what an old fashioned sentence – I did grow up balancing an actual check book. But now it means ‘checking my balance on the app’) when I saw that WordPress auto-charged me for my domain and plan renewal. My first thought (well, second, first was getting annoyed at an annual auto-payment that I always forget about and never set reminders for), was OH yeah, I have a blog. So today, I’m blowing off the dust and posting for the first time since November. In fact, when I pulled up my blog, the first thing I saw was a draft started in early December. Wheeee!

And now back to my regularly scheduled lost blog, which was started in December, before I forgot all about it – 

So why has audpodge fallen to the wayside? What the heck have I been up to? The answer is – a lot. But not all of it is exciting. Here’s a clip show summary of what happened this year:

2019 started off with me making a lot of personal goals and feeling really psyched about them. Things moved slowly, sorta de-railed, but eventually took a turn for the better/productive. It all started Feb/March, when the pieces finally came together in therapy and I had a break through. And then, possibly coincidentally, I broke my writer’s block. Both of these events brought about a surge of empowerment, and I felt different. I had a more positive outlook, and I just… kinda liked myself more. I had a few down periods, but I mostly felt like I was getting dangerously close to the realm of having my shit together. After nearly two months of back and forth, we finally figured out how we could afford to visit the States for my sister’s wedding in March, and my best friend Kristin bought tickets to come see me and the two of us were going to New Zealand in Nov/Dec. I was sticking closer to those goals I made in January than I had in years prior, and things were looking up.

On Thanksgiving (which was only 1 month ago but it may as well be 5 years ago), Kristin and I were in Auckland, NZ. We were eating a Thanks-Curry meal in our Air BnB and pledging to ourselves all the different ways we’d make 2020 the Year We Live Our Best Lives (or Reasonable Proxmity To Our Best Lives). Like, learning to live by a budget, making better health decisions, doing hard work to beat bad habits, etc. I got home a week later and decided, Fuck it, Why wait til 2020? I’m going to live my best life starting now.

You know how it’s always easy to imagine living your best life all the time when you’re on vacation and you’re in that golden limbo of being truly decompressed and distracted and free of 9-5 responsibilities? It’s such a good time to be alive.

I definitely spent the rest of December in a sweat pants wearing, Christmas prepping, re-runs watching black hole. But I used the Christmas break from work as a chance to regroup and really make a plan to get my shit together. Then I learned that 2020 is the Year of the Rat in the Chinese Zodiac, and it was the final sign I needed: I had already made a pledge with Kristin, I decided with every atom of my being that I wanted to make a change, and it was literally my year. I had to get my shit together.

So it was slow going, but by the end of the year, I had thinned out my closet to (mostly) the bare essentials, we had scraped together the most savings we’ve ever had, I had 90 pages written in my book, I had taken a trip with one of my best friends doing things I never thought I’d do, and I could look back and say to myself I did put myself out there more. I wasn’t perfect, not by a long shot. But I closed 2019 feeling really fucking good about myself, and that hasn’t happened in a long time.

And so, January rolled around, and the Year of Aud-Rat was primed and ready to commence. First, I saw my GP and got a referral to the exercise physiologist/physical trainer who works in my clinic. Second, I shared my plan with my therapist so she could hold me accountable. Third, I made plans to get a desk so I could have a dedicated writing space. Fourth, I narrowed my goals down to one primary goal each (personal, financial, health, writing).

flash forward to current day: March 9.

It’s been 10 weeks so far, I’ve been kicking a lot of Rat ass. I’ve been working out at least twice a week (one week I made it to 4 times – I was basically Jane Fonda); I’ve been writing almost every day (having the desk has been a major help); I’ve so far only had one shopping binge (half of it was returned); I’m more encouraging with myself and being more honest; I’ve been eating slightly less like a garbage can*, and I’ve been getting out of the house and doing something social at least once a week.

So (if you’re still with me after all this ego-inflation), this is where I’ve been: trying very hard to get my shit together.

We’re going to the States next week for my sister’s wedding, which means sweater weather, trash foods, mom’s cooking, hugs from friends, and a few days in a cabin in the woods for a mini-holiday within holiday. So provided we don’t get shot or infected with Corona virus**, we should return fat, sassy, and tired. I can’t wait.

 

*One of the smallest changes I’ve made that’s had the biggest impact is instituting a new morning routine. Over the Christmas break, I woke up one morning around 4AM and couldn’t go back to sleep. I decided to sit in the lounge and do some writing. I didn’t want to have coffee without Joel, so I just drank a bottle of cold water instead. Then I ate breakfast. Later when Joel woke up, we had coffee. The next morning, I did the same thing. I noticed when I started the day with cold water, I had a lot more energy throughout the day, my stomach didn’t react violently to coffee, and it made me want to drink more water throughout the day. It became a habit. Now, on most days I wake up early, I drink cold water, eat breakfast, and wait til I get to work to have my first cup of coffee. My stomach is definitely better, I don’t inhale my lunch in 5 seconds, my skin is better, and I don’t feel like a used sponge between 3:30-5:30PM.

So that’s my thing now: drinking water in the morning and eating breakfast. Whoda thunk it. It’s like all those doctors and the surgeon general were right.

**Our grocery store next door has been out of toilet paper, water, eggs, cooking oil, rice, flour, hand sanitizer, and pasta for the past week. Over the weekend someone got a knife pulled on them in the TP aisle over the last package. Seems like an excessive amount of panicking for a country with relatively few confirmed cases and thus far 0 deaths. /shakes head