Unintended Consequences

"In the unintentional, we can see the institutional." 
- Mary Ellen latropoulos

(She's talking about race and unintentional displays of racism that reveal institutional biases.)

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Weighing in on WAP

An animated gif from the music video WAP where Cardi B. is wearing a leopard print leotard, doing the splits between two ornate leopard print chairs, in a rich-looking room with leopard-print walls.

I have been thinking about Cardi B. and Megan Thee Stallion way too much lately, and I am finally ready to throw my belated weigh-in on WAP into the mix.

So. Here's the deal: I am totally down with everyone doing whatever they want in terms of their sex and bodies and love lives.

At the same time, I often wonder how many overt displays of sexuality from women aren't ultimately reinforcing a patriarchal male gaze. After all, when we "own our sexuality," aren't we often performing exactly in the way men have dictated we do for their pleasure for ages?

To my eye, the performances don't generally seem to undermine or challenge the beauty standards or sexual stereotypes that have been foisted on us, but revel in them. If that's true, could it be more of a display on how successfully we have been brainwashed by the hetero-patriarchy than anything else?

Is it really freedom to joyously choose to do exactly what your oppressor wants?

I ponder these questions every time a new super-sexual feminist liberation anthem emerges in pop culture. Then I wonder if I'm just a prude (probably) or overthinking things (always)?

Okay, so those are the questions, that's the discomfort. (And note that I'm truly not telling any women to tone it down lest the patriarchy wins--again, do whatever the heck you want and I'll do what I want and apparently what I want is to sit around and mull over the patriarchy, which is probably another way that it wins.)

This time, I had a good ponderance on the other side of things:

What is liberation anyways? What does it actually mean to celebrate your sexuality? What is empowerment?

I'm sure many scholars have come up with many definitions, but what I have landed on is simply: it is anything that makes you feel liberated, powerful, or celebratory.

It's the opposite of how we measure discrimination and harassment, where intent is meaningless and the only thing that matters is impact. When it comes to hurting someone else, it doesn't actually matter what you meant, just how it was received.

Empowerment, though, is all inside you. Whatever makes you feel good about who you are and what you are capable of is empowering, no matter what other people think of it.

From this lens, it's totally irrelevant what male desire Ms. B. and Ms. Thee Stallion are or are not feeding into. It's also, to a degree, totally irrelevant whether or not it really is setting feminism back or not. From this lens, all that matters is that they feel good about it.

Here's another thing: a celebration of sexuality is always going to celebrate things that are sexually appealing--or at least, things that make the person feel appealing. A big part of what makes us feel good about our sexuality is feeling like we are in control of our desirability.

So it shouldn't be a surprise, then, living in this here hetero-patriarchy, that if a woman owns her sexuality, some element of it might appeal to men.

It's still a bit unnerving that you can have two women side-by-side, one doing something because it makes her feel great and the other because she feels coerced, and from the outside, you may not even be able to tell the difference. And that a man could be equally degrading both in his mind.

But maybe the real win is just forgetting that dude even exists at all.

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Take Me There: A World of Cats

Artist Kamwei Fong has created a world of cats and they are fuzzy and nice and I want to go to there.

An illustration of a world full of cats - cats as the sun, clouds, and a mountain. The cats are all black and fuzzy.

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My Totally-Official COVID Winter Friendship Survey Results

A photo of a city street at night, it's raining and we see a person from behind carrying a large umbrella.
Photo by Osman Rana.

I recently ran a little Instagram survey to get a better idea of what it might be like to try to survive fall and winter during COVID.

Specifically, I wanted to know what people think they might be up for in terms of socializing when we don't have the sunny freedom of easy and safe outdoor hangs. From October on, it'll be rainy misery in Vancouver, and I need to know how much to prepare myself for severe and total isolation!

Here's what I got:

85% of people think they will be totally game to throw on some rain gear, grab an umbrella, and go for a walk in the rain.

86% of people are down to dress warmly and gather in some kind of covered outdoor space, be it a picnic shelter in a park or a covered patio at a restaurant.

60% of people were okay with the idea of being indoors with people if the space was big enough to spread out, and that number grew to 85% once everyone masked up.

My conclusions:

Most people expect to be up to brave the rain and get together outdoors for the sake of friendship. This willingness increases slightly when there is shelter. (Although interestingly, one friend was up for walks in the rain, but not sitting under a shelter.)

Most people were also okay with masked indoor hangs, if there was space for distance. Although plenty of people added comments that it depended entirely on who the people were, how many there were, where the space was, and how long they were there.

There were also a few write-in comments about things like making some very strict bubble decisions for the fall and then sticking with those people only or only doing one-on-one hangs.

My predictions:

People won't be quite as willing to go out in the rain as they currently predict, but more willing than usual. As such, there might be a run on rain gear purchases, so it may be smart to stock up now if you aren't well-supplied.

Hangs will generally be shorter with less lingering and spontaneity.

People and restaurants with covered, heated outdoor spaces will become very popular.

Bubble choices will become a much bigger deal.

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How Do You Know it's Time to Change?

An animated gif of some pieces of pink wood that make the word "CHANGE" on a blue background
Khyati Trehan

Some friends and I were discussing how we know when it's time to make a change in life. There were some repeated experiences:

At some point, after we've hemmed and hawed and wondered whether we can or should do a thing, we become kind of dissociated or disinterested in the whole situation. It's like our minds detach a bit from the issue to say, "See? You can pull away from this and make the change, you just have to do it!" or perhaps, "Stop all this stressing and mulling and just DO SOMETHING already!"

It's a bit of a sense of giving up, as if the change has become inevitable, and we just need to accept it and go along for the ride.

We also discussed the feeling of sometimes being pushed towards change by a really undesirable current state, and other times feeling pulled into the change by a sweet new reality. The "Get me out of here!" versus the, "Ooooh, over there looks neat!"

The pull feels more like a choice but ultimately, both can overwhelm your decision-making and land you somewhere that's not what you wanted!

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Kennedi Carter is Flexing

Kennedi Carter's new photography series Flexing: New Realm features Black Americans photographed with a combined aesthetic of old European royalty and contemporary Southern Black life.

A photo of an elderly Black woman wearing a large, sculptural gown made of folded paper, as if one of those old school fancy ruffle-collars grow to cover her entire body.

A photo of a young Black man wearing a sort of old colonial lord's outfit, but it's a bit ruffled looking

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Hearts in Isolation at Studio Museum Harlem

Studio Museum Harlem had 15 teen artists in its Expanding the Walls education program document their lives in isolation called Hearts in Isolation. The work is really incredible!

A photo of a small circular mirror on a counter next to a laptop showing a TV show. Reflected in the mirror you can see the hands of a teen girl braiding her hair.
Photo by Ashly Garcia

An art photo with the reflection of a woman's face looking inside a floral wreath.
Photo by Fredi Guevara-Prip

An art photo of a red couch with a young person leaning back on it with a book over their face. In the foreground is a large, tall bouqet and an angel statue on the coffee table.
Photo by Delaney Diaz-Tapia

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Remembering Why You Started Can Tell You When to Quit

A photo of a ledge shelf with a few knicknacks on it, an old SLR camera, and a sign board that says "remember why you started" on it
Photo by Cristofer Jeschke

Remember why you started.

Usually, this advice is given to help people find a way to stick with something when the going gets tough. From creative endeavours to relationships, grounding ourselves back in our original motivation can really help stay the course.

I agree! Sometimes there is nothing more motivating than remembering your original goal.

Unless of course, doing so makes it clear that QUITTING is really the best option.

Here's how you can tell:

Does your original reason for starting even motivate you anymore?

Maybe you started a diet because you believed you needed to get skinnier, but since have learned that's malarky and diets don't work and you don't need to change your body to fit some random external standard. Quit the diet!

Has the project or person changed?

Maybe you started a side hustle with a friend, and as you worked on it the hustle evolved into something different. There's nothing wrong with it, per se, it's just that your original reasons for jumping in on it don't apply. Unless there's a new reason that's equally motivating to you, it may be time to say a friendly farewell.

Have you already achieved the spirit of why you started and now you would just be continuing for an obligation to finishing?

Maybe you have been taking a new language course to prepare for a trip. You're at the point where you feel comfortable having basic conversations and can read and even write a little. The course is starting to feel like a slog. Have you actually met your goal? Maybe you can walk away and feel good about it.

If you remember why you started, realize that is no longer being served, and don't see a new motivation that has emerged to replace it, then quitting may be your best option. 

Enjoy it! A healthy opportunity to quit something is a real treat!

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A Bjork-Inspired Oceania

The photo series Oceania, a collaboration between photographer Stuff Studios and florist boom boom FLEUR, was inspired by none other than the Bjork song with the same name.

A photo of a bunch of flowers floating on top of a dark pool of water with some droplets in the water as if it's starting to rain.

A photo of a dark pool of water with some flowers floating at the top.

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My Theory on Why Positive Affirmations Don't Hold Up to Science

A photo of a footbridge surrounded by lush, green trees. We are looking down the bridge, it has a large puddle of water on it that reflects the trees and sky and a woman is sitting behind the puddle, cross-legged.
Photo by Raychan.

I just came across some research from 2017 about how positive affirmations actually don't work for people who are depressed or have low self-esteem.

As someone who wrote a book that is, in large part, all about how I used affirmations and gratitude to stop hating myself and start liking myself, I have something to say about that!

First of all, I don't dispute the science. I'm no fool! (I mean, I haven't actually read the study, I have only read about the study, so it's possible the research is deeply flawed. But assuming it was a decently-executed study, that's not the issue here.)

The researchers found that when you use generic positive affirmations like "I am a loveable person" it can have one of two effects: if you are already confident, it will make you feel better about yourself; if you have low self-esteem, however, it makes you feel EVEN WORSE.

They also found that people with low self-esteem's moods improved after they were allowed to list negative things about themselves.

The theory is that stating something you believe to be false, like that you are a loveable person, leaves you feeling worse because in your mind you've just lied to yourself and reminded yourself that you're "actually" unloveable.

Here is my counter-theory:

The Seinfeld Rewatch: It Holds Up Better and Worse Than I Expected

A photo of the famous diner from Seinfeld. It's on the corner of a concrete building with a large sign that says "Tom's Restaurant" on the side
Photo by Arbron on Foter.com / CC BY

I am rewatching Seinfeld. Seinfeld! And it's great! In terms of being an entertaining show, it totally holds up.

It's also wild to watch because it is SUCH a throwback technology-wise while otherwise feeling pretty modern (even much of the fashion could get a pass today). The weirdest thing? How easily they just pick up the phone to make a call. Do they need to ask someone out? Has there been a misunderstanding? BAM! On the phone! Talking live! No hesitation! Dialling the numbers they know in their heads!

This is so... not how we live anymore. Can you imagine? If the show was on now, there would be a whole episode debating the implications of sending a message over text, WhatsApp, a Twitter DM, or Facebook Messenger.

Before I started watching it, I had a theory that it would also hold up in terms of content - that it wouldn't be very offensive, even by modern sensibilities, and that more recent shows would be worse.

I was sort of wrong and sort of right.

It definitely isn't as bad as a LOT of other shows, including some newer ones. HOWEVER, it sure as heck doesn't get the pass I thought it might.

Up until season six, here is what I have observed:


Jerry and (especially) George avoid doing perfectly normal things that they perceive as slightly effeminate. It's usually played to make fun of them with scathing commentary from Elaine about how ridiculous they are being, but that doesn't mean they are always shown to be wrong.

The episode where George and Jerry are outed as a gay couple by a reporter, though? These days, I think the reporter outing them against their will (so she thinks) comes off worse than the two men being upset for being wrongly outed.


The fatphobia is garden-variety and mostly present in offhand comments or the fact that half the women Jerry dates refuse dessert to "stay slim." It's a true representation of how ingrained all that was into society at the time: nobody is mean-spirited, they just all deeply believe in the supreme importance of being thin.

Laundromat Chic

Chang Wan-ji and Hsu Sho-er own a laundromat and have started fashion shoots in the clothes left behind.

A photo of two elderly people in a laundromat. The woman is leaning against an open dryer, and the man is behind the open dryer door. They are dressed super hip.

A photo of an elderly couple in front of a laundromat. They are dressed hip in clothes that were left behind in the laundromat.

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Don't Hesitate

A landscape photo of a grassy field and a big sky with some subtly dramatic clouds. There are silhouettes of two people looking at it.
Photo by Ihor Malytskyi

This Mary Oliver poem, "Don't Hesitate" popped up in my life several times in the past few weeks.

“If you suddenly and unexpectedly feel joy,
don’t hesitate. Give in to it. There are plenty
of lives and whole towns destroyed or about
to be. We are not wise, and not very often
kind. And much can never be redeemed.
Still, life has some possibility left. Perhaps this
is its way of fighting back, that sometimes
something happens better than all the riches
or power in the world. It could be anything,
but very likely you notice it in the instant
when love begins. Anyway, that’s often the
case. Anyway, whatever it is, don’t be afraid
of its plenty. Joy is not made to be a crumb.”
– Mary Oliver

The first time I read it, I was captivated at the beginning and then got a little annoyed towards the end. Like, thanks Mary, another thing to make me wish love was beginning in my life. Harumph. Bitterness.

Then the next time I came across it, I actually transcribed it into my journal and while doing so paid more attention to the middle section. "We are not wise, and not very often kind. And much can never be redeemed. Still, life has some possibility left."

It kind of reminds me of the idea that I wrote about earlier, allowing negativity to be a part of my gratitude practice. What comfort to say, "yeah, there's a lot of garbage here, but also, something glorious threatening to emerge," instead of just trying to blast through with some obligation to choose joy.

It's richer when you recognize what joy is up against, and so powerful to let it reign during the moments it is present.

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Get Dreamy With Fares Miscue

Fares Micue's photography is dream-dream-dreamy. I especially love the blue and yellow in this first one!

An art photograph by Fares Miscue. It has a blue background, a woman with a yellow dress, and blue balls floating all around her, obscuring her face.

An art photograph by Fares Miscue with a black background, a woman in an ocre dress holding large yellow and red branches obscuring his face.

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The One Time I Will Advocate Embracing a NEUTRAL Stance Towards Anything

A long while back, I started exploring the world of body positivity. I was taken with this new perspective that decoupled things like moral goodness and health from body size and promoted loving and celebrating our bodies no matter what they look like.


I have had a really hard time fully embracing it for myself since then. I don't always have a Lizzo-style strut-and-hair-toss relationship with my body. Sometimes it hurts or gets in my way or I just don't really like it, let alone love it.

Plus, I truly have no desire to celebrate my cellulite. Not because I hate it, but because I really can't make myself care that much about it.

Then I started hearing about body neutrality. The idea that your body simply is what it is, and you don't need to feel any particular way about it. There's no need to constantly be in love with yourself. You just let your body be what it is and then worry about other things in life.

In an article in The Guardian, Dr. Laura Thomas refers to it as "body respect", which is also a great terminology. I can respect something, even if my feelings towards it are inconsistent.

I really like that.

It's not so appearance-focused as body positivity, which seems to push always appreciating the drop-dead stunning bodies all around you as well as the gorgeous gift of a body you bless their eyes with in return.

Seeing the beauty in everyone, including yourself, is not a bad thing, of course. It's just that it can be easy to start finding your value there: your body is worth loving because it is so dang good looking. Look how good looking it is. Look how worthy you are.

If that works for you, then please please please, go forth and celebrate your incredible body. I have no desire to stop you from loving yourself.

If you are like me, however, you might feel a bit of pressure there and like the idea of a philosophy that doesn't invest that much energy in having an opinion about your body either way.

Let's get NEUTRAL!

PS: If you ever search "bodies" in Giphy, get ready for some weird results:

An animated GIF. There is a bed with 8 human legs sticking out of the covers in different directions. It is clearly impossible to have more than one body under the covers though. The image is funny and unsettling.
Sam Cannon

An animated gif. It appears to be a bunch of stretchy plastic naked barbie dolls with bodies that are kind of like Kim Kardashian. They drop and smoosh on the ground and then reverse back up. It's art, I guess.
Erased Memories

An animated gift. It's a white background with legs appearing and pointing up, sort of like synchronized swimming.
Sam Cannon.

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Simple Moments with Maori Sakai

The saddest part about Maori Sakai's animated gifs of simple life moments is that you can't print them and hang them on the wall.

An animated gif illustration of a woman sitting at a desk in front of a big window. The movement comes from the rain outside and steam rising from her coffee cup.

An animated gif that is an illustration looking out a window with leaves gently falling. Inside the room are books and a telescope. It feels cozy and maybe a bit lonely.

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A New Way to Talk About Racist Acts

I think this is a very useful reframe of the language around calling out (or calling in) racism. Whenever I say something "is racist" the conversation almost inevitably shifts to being about whether or not the person who did it has racism in their heart, which is, of course, besides the point. The point is that the action had an effect that supports racism.

I don't know if saying, "X supports racism" is actually going to result in a better conversation, but it's sure as heck worth a shot!

Tap the arrow through the whole thread, and read the full Instagram caption quoted below!


"The way in which the word “racist” is used can often derail productive conversations (most often when we allow our emotions—defensiveness, shame, guilt—to get in the way). It reminds me (@thewildsister) of how as a parent, when my kids did something problematic, I would say they DID something bad, not that they WERE bad. This put the focus on the behavior, not the person. Thank you to Rutgers professor Dr. Chenjerai Kumanyika, who helps us consider how we can use language about racism that focuses on actions and impact. Note: You may know Dr. Kumanyika from Scene on Radio’s Seeing White podcast..."
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Misty Coupland Recreates Degas' Ballerina Art

The ballet studio where I studied as a child had the Degas ballerina paintings on the walls. Now imagine it with Misty Coupland instead. She paired up with Harper's Bazaar and The NYC Dance Project to recreate the paintings and it's stunning.

Ooooof, take my breath away.

See them all at Harper's Bazaar.

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Kids Know Grown Ups Don't Always Get it Right

A photo of a boy sitting at a table doing homework.
Photo by Santi Vedri

I love love looooove this! A research study about grown ups, designed and run by children! (With the help of some adult researchers, of course.)

The kids asked questions like "What have adults done to make you feel happy/upset?" and "Is there something you think adults get wrong and why?"

The main result? That adults think they should know everything but kids know that they don't and they don't care.

They also know that adults were the ones who invented social media and gave it to them, and then they are also the ones who always complain about it.

They also revealed that they think they have to be perfect, and maybe that's why they seek a lot of validation.

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The Real Issue for NIMBYs Isn't Necessarily That They're Heartless

A photo of a person sitting on the side of a building in a downtown, commercial area - it appears they are homeless.
Photo by EV.

Last week, I sat at my desk at work, feeling hyper-aware of the little spots on my feet where water containing soap and some diluted amount of someone else's pee had splashed.

It was in that moment that I decided to write about this. About how I, a bleeding heart liberal socialist, have begun to develop sympathy for the NIMBYs of the world.

NIMBY, if you don't know, stands for "Not In My Backyard." It's the people who agree that we need things like homeless shelters, just always in a different part of town. In Vancouver, there have literally been protesters in the wealthy parts of town with signs that say, "Right idea, wrong neighbourhood."

I have always thought these people were unmitigated selfish jerks who care more about their property value than another human's suffering.

Then, during the pandemic, the homeless guy who hangs out on the property of my workplace lost most of his other options for places to go and all of his other options for places to go to the bathroom. Which means exactly what you might think it means.

Suddenly, we went from having someone around who we have a decent rapport with and generally moves along if we ask, to an almost-permanent camper, leaving garbage and human waste to clean up every day. And just to be clear: when I say we have to clean it up, that means us. Like, one of the five people on staff, not some magical sanitation team.

It's not healthy, it's not our job, and it's not entirely safe. But it immediately became clear that our options were to let it sit there, pay exorbitant rates for a cleaning team to come sometime between five hours and five days from when we called, or do it ourselves. In the meantime, children often play around our building.

The fact is that the official "solution" in most cities to issues like this is to call the police, or maybe a bylaw officer, who can do no more than issue tickets or ask the person to move along. That, or try to get the person into a shelter where they may or may not want to be.

Which is the real problem: when NIMBYs complain, they complain about things like this. They complain about needles, human waste, and garbage. They complain about noise, fighting, and people having mental health crises in the middle of the street.

The issue is not necessarily that these things (which are all signposts of other unmet needs) happen, but that there are no real supports or services to deal with or prevent them, in the moment or the long-term.

You may be able to call the City's sanitation department about a needle and someone comes by sometime later that day or the next, which doesn't really help the fact that you're out right now wondering if it's worth the risk for you to just pick it up (and put it... somewhere) because your kid or pet or neighbour may step on it.

In the case of a mental health crisis? You are supposed to call the police, which at best criminalizes them in their moment of need and at worse may end up with them killed.

And the waste? Nobody seems particularly equipped to deal with that.

Herein lies the real problem: it isn't that people with different lifestyles and needs and problems move into a neighbourhood. It's that cities are built to accommodate certain lifestyles, needs, and problems, and there is a huge, gaping hole in supports for anyone who doesn't fit that mould.

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Facing Nature with Aniela Sobieski

What's not to love about Aniela Sobieski's surrealist portraits?

Aniela Sobieski portrait
An Aniela Sobieski portrait

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Recommended Read: White Guilt vs. White Responsibility

Through the years, I have heard some of my white friends and family complain about feeling so guilty all the time when it comes to racism.

My friends, my family, my people: to put it bluntly, nobody cares (except, maybe, us). Feeling bad is not the point. Guilt helps nothing unless it motivates action, and action is what actually changes things.

Toku at The Unexecutive writes about this very well in his post, White Guilt vs. White Responsibility. Go read it!

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Book Club: The Skin We're In by Desmond Cole is a MUST!

Book Club response to The Skin We're In by Desmond Cole

First of all, can we just take a moment to admire the gorgeous cover to this book? It's eye-catching, the colours are stunning, and the closer you look, the more you see in it.

The Skin We're In: A Year of Black Resistance in Power is a non-fiction book by Desmond Cole that details racism and activism in Canada. Structured around the events of the year 2017, each chapter represents one month and tells the story of a major issue or event that happened that month, from the police beating of a Black gallery owner on New Year's Eve to the battle to get police officers out of Toronto schools.

The content may be tough, but in many ways, it is easy to read because Desmond Cole's writing is fantastic. He is smart, incisive, and knows how to tell a story that is information-heavy, yet captivating. He paints a stunning picture without bogging the narrative in descriptions.

For me, The Skin We're In took issues I have been vaguely uneasy about, such as Canada's immigration and deportation practices, or areas where I was sure Canada had racism problems but didn't really know the extent of it (like policing), and gave a wallop of information about their racist past, present, and (unless we change something) future.

Since Canada is so inundated with American news and culture, it's easy with issues like this to know more about the American problem than the Canadian one. This is the antidote.

It also provides a little glimpse into what it's like for him to live as a Black man in Canada. There are just enough drops of his own personal experience to see the toll it all takes on the simplest life experiences.

For example, the chapter "deep breath (may)." It is a little bit of respite near the middle where he describes his love for spring flowers and a joyful day in a botanical garden. Right in the middle, however, he and his friend encounter a sign: "This area patrolled by police." It gets just enough attention to know that it's a sore spot in the middle of a beautiful day. He makes it clear that he can't have a simple day of freedom and beauty, unmarred by threats of violence.

Some quotes:

“This idea that Canada's racial injustices are not as bad as they could be, this notion of Slavery Lite, of Racism Lite, of what my friend calls the "toy version of racism" is a very Canadian way of saying: remember what we could do to you if we wanted to. Passive-aggressive racism is central to Canada's national mythology and identity.”

"If we can't imagine a different outcome than the police's violence, that's on use. We have to imagine something less violent, less reactive and reckless. Daring to imagine kindness and fairness for Abdirahman [a man beaten to death by multiple officers while he lay on the ground] is a true revolutionary act in a country that offers no alternatives."

"Canadians who do recognize historical injustice seem to understand it in this way:
- Bad things happened.
- Bad things stopped happening and equality was achieved.
- The low social and political status held by Indigenous peoples is now wholly based on the choice to be corrupt, lazy, inefficient, and unsuited to the modern world."

"Canada says 'look how far we've come' without defining who 'we' is, how we've arrived where we are, and from where we came, and in what condition we've arrived."

I HIGHLY RECOMMEND this book! I also recommend you read it more slowly than I did. Do one chapter at a time, and let it sink in. I read straight through and now feel a strong need to go back, re-read, and absorb the information a little more deeply.

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Energy Management is the New Black

What balances out your energy? Have you tried energy management instead of time management?
Photo by Praveesh Palakeel.

A friend of mine, Alexia Gillespie (brilliant person and founder of Strong Healthy Kids), recently posted on Facebook that she is shifting her focus from time management to energy management.

"This shift is requiring unlearning & repatterning but it's freeing and life-giving. In the process of releasing my self-imposed expectations, I've started to see how my sense of self-worth has been tied to busyness and productivity, which often leaves me feeling drained and depleted."

I haven't had a chance to ask her about how she is approaching this yet, but I looked up the idea and came across a bunch of articles about energy management:

- One from the Harvard Business Review that's all about using energy management so that you can continue to churn 12-hour days into the capitalist machine of your job without hating your life (okayyyy, I mean the not hating your life part is good). The good tip from this article is the reminder that our energy comes from four places: body, mind, emotions, and spirit.

- Another one from a coaching website breaks down the process of shifting to energy management a little more: 1) learn what energizes you, 2) increase your breaks, 3) reward yourself along the way, and 4) schedule in the activities you love (which lines up very well with my recent post about putting the hobbies and other fun things you want to do on your calendar or to-do list).

- Another article, dramatically titled "Time Management is Dead: Long Live Energy Management" details a more rigid approach to energy management with the 50-10-50-30 rule. You do 50 minutes of focussed work, take a 10-minute refresh and do something energizing, then 50 more minutes of focus, then a 30-minute full recharge.

All of this is pretty heavy on the "I still need to be a machine of productivity, I'm just going to approach it slightly differently," which doesn't seem to be what Alexia was talking about, what with the talk of uncoupling her self-worth from productivity expectations. But there are some good tips in there.

One thing I got really good at during lockdown life was paying attention to what my mind/body/spirit needed. Did I need to go for a walk? Exercise? Lie on the ground and have my cat walk all over me? As life began to return to a version of normal, I lost some of that. Time to work on bringing it back.

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Kit Layfield's All-Natural Custom Face Masks

Don't like wearing a fabric mask? No problem, Kit Layfield's got some incredible prototypes for more natural styles.

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Tawny Chatmon's Redemption

I was already taken with Tawny Chatmon's artwork and then I found out they are photographs! Or at least, that's where these incredible pieces begin. Stun-ning. These are from a series called The Redemption, but there is more - SO MUCH MORE from her available.

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What's the REAL Goal Here?

A bird's-eye-view photo of a woman reading a book, holding a mug of coffee.
Photo by Thought Catalog

When we set ourselves little, personal goals, what metric should we choose?

We say we want to read more books, and then wind up (without even realizing it) choosing a lot of shorter books so that we can get through more books in the same amount of time.

That's fine if we genuinely just wanted to a bigger list of titles we have read, but maybe what we really wanted was to spend more time reading, or to read more diverse types of books. In that case, we're not meeting our goal!

You always wind up with more of whatever it is you're measuring, sometimes at the cost of the thing you really wanted.

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When a Great Idea Works a Little Too Well

Same Gallery in Tokyo had an exhibit specifically meant to be stolen.

Their intention was to ask questions about the relationship between artist, art, and audience and how that changes when everyone knows the art will be stolen. The plan was that, following the opening night reception, they would have the gallery open 24 hours a day over 10 days for people to come in and steal what they wanted.

It worked, but not how they intended.

200 people showed up to their opening night reception, eager to engage in some sanctioned thievery and get free art. It took mere minutes for the space to be cleared out, and the gallery wound up apologizing that no one got to actually see the art.

It's kind of the perfect outcome, isn't it? They thought they could have a slowly dwindling art show where people come back day after day to see what's been stolen and reflect on the meaning of thievery and ownership and art and artists and audiences.

Instead, they get a 10-day exhibit of blank gallery walls that give new flavour to those ponderings while the art is (hopefully) joyously on display in someone else's home.

What happens when our great ideas are seized with wild abandon? When they work a little too well?

A post shared by same (@same_gallery) on

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These Uncertain Times

One fun thing to remember is that even though it feels like we are currently living in very uncertain times, the truth is that life has always been uncertain, we are just sharing one big, giant reminder of that.

Life often doles out little reminders that we can't predict and control the future. This time, it happened all at once for everyone, instead of spread out in random, individual blips and bloops.


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Staying In, Rocking Out

More of this! Seniors in isolation at Sydmar Lodge recreated rock album covers, photographed by Robert Specker, the activity coordinator at their home.

See them all in Specker's Twitter post.

Via Colossal.

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We're Probably Still Not Getting It

"Why did you have to watch someone die in order to get it? ... Our deaths are not a teaching experience for white people." - Desmond Cole

(From a talk hosted by the Kitchener Public Library, about white people who are saying that we "get it" now when it comes to racism and anti-Black violence.)

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Follow Keanu's Lead: Use Willful Ignorance for Good

Artwork by Alison Chisholm

One of my bestest besties (I refer to her as my soulmate and/or my everything) has a very fun blog called The Year of Keanu where she posts weekly life lessons based on Keanu's awesomeness.

In a recent(ish) post, Making Change Through Willful Ignorance, she describes a new tactic for making the world better: tell yourself things are already as they should be and react accordingly.

"What if we actively choose to ignore and disregard all the barriers that prevent us from seeing the change we want to see? What if we chose to say things like 'Black Lives Matter' and 'Defund the Police' in casual conversation, disregarding how uncomfortable it might make some people? What if we chose to forget the oppressor's feelings and just speak up about the world we want to see? What if we choose to forget our fears about the system and just continue doing our part to repeat the names and fight for the legacy of the people who lost their lives to it? What world would we be living in then?"

Obviously, doing this isn't enough to transform our racist, sexist, ableist, and otherwise prejudiced systems, but it's a fun tactic for those of us who find ourselves in more privileged circles. The more we talk about these things with a "we're all on the same page here" friendly casualness, the more those who disagree could feel like mayyyyyybe they are in the wrong wrong. Or at least, in the minority of perspectives.

Basically, it's treating prejudice views the way I treat flat-earthiness: as if anyone who is reasonable would know it's wrong and that society, as a whole, recognizes this.

Best-case scenario? A little friendly gaslighting happens for the bigots and they question themselves. Worst-case scenario? We've still made our views clear.

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