Is It Always Right to Stop and Film Police Interactions with IBPOC Folks?

An animated gif of two people holding their phones out, filming something.

One piece of advice out there for people concerned about police brutality is that whenever we see police interacting with a person of colour or someone who might otherwise be vulnerable, to whip out our phones and start filming them. Every time.

I stumbled into learning that, well, it's complicated.

A couple of months ago, in the midst of frequent Black Lives Matter protests in my city, I was biking to work. My route takes me on a public bike path that passes through Reserve land, and that's where I came upon two police officers talking to what looked like a young Indigenous woman.

When you're riding a bike, you don't have a lot of time to make decisions, but here's what passed through my mind:

- The encounter didn't look aggressive.

- If that were to change, there may not be anyone else passing by in the next 5-10 minutes.

- There was no way to stop without being really obvious.

- There are many ways their encounter could go bad.

- Could I live with myself if I found out later that something terrible had happened and I had just ridden past?

I decided to stop.

As I pulled my bike to stop and turned back around, the young woman looked at me and yelled, "Can you NOT LOOK?" It was a zero-to-sixty yell. The kind where you know the person has just been set off and is instantly furious.


I offered an apology and turned to continue on my way while she yelled some more.

I biked away, a bit shaken. I wondered if her heightened anger at seeing me stop would change the tenor of her conversation with the police. I wondered if I had triggered some kind of additional trauma for her. I wondered whether I did the right thing.

Which leads me back to "it's complicated."

The social media advice is to stop, watch, and film when we see police with IBPOC or otherwise vulnerable people. No matter what.

Except that, as I was reminded, people who are interacting with police don't always want to be watched, let alone filmed. They may already feel angry or humiliated or simply want privacy, and having a spotlight turned on them just makes things worse.

Do we take away someone's dignity by turning and staring at an otherwise benign encounter? Or even a stressful, upsetting, or belittling one?

Do people have a right to as much privacy as they can get during these situations?

Is the advice to stop and film really only for encounters that already seem like they are edging into violence? (Except that we know that many seemingly-routine police stops have turned deadly for innocent Black folks, with no warning.)

In the balance of potential harm done, is it worth it to risk adding humiliation if we may be reducing the risk for their death? (Knowing, of course, that we have many murders committed by police on film, and so it may not deter anything and instead add to the archives of injustice.)

Obviously, there's more subtlety to hanging out on a street corner a few metres away from an incident than wrenching your bike around on an otherwise empty street. But (surprise surprise) there is also a little more nuance to consider than the social media posts would lead you to believe.

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Hope, Not Just for Someday But For This Day

A photo of two children, a girl and a boy who is younger. The boy is holding a book and the girl has her arm around his shoulders and is looking at the book as well. They are in a beautiful field.
Photo by Ben White.

Blessing of Hope
by Jan Richardson

So my we know
the hope
that is not just
for someday
but for this day--
here, now,
in this moment
that opens to us:

hope not made
of wishes
but of substance

hope made of sinew
and muscle
and bone,

hope that has breath
and a beating heart,

hope that will not
keep quiet
and be polite

hope that knows
how to holler
when it is called for,

hope that knows
how to sing
when there seems
little cause

hope that raises us 
from the dead--

not someday
but this day,
every day,
again and
again and

The first time I read this, I was caught by the final stanza: "not someday / but this day" pierced right through to my heart.

This time, I was grabbed by "hope that will not / keep quiet / and be polite", which I incidentally mistyped as "be police" the first time. A telling mistake of where I think politeness may be failing us.

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Two Beers and a Puppy

This is from a book called Works Well With Others: An Outsider’s Guide to Shaking Hands, Shutting Up, Handling Jerks, and Other Crucial Skills in Business That No One Ever Teaches You by Ross McCammon.

A photo of a page from a book. It's a chapter called "two beers and a puppy", describing how you can test how you feel about someone by asking yourself if you'd like to have two beers with them and if you'd let them watch your puppy.

If you're not sure how you feel about someone, ask yourself two questions: would I have two beers with this person (aka: are they fun?) and would I let this person take care of my puppy for a weekend (are they responsible?). The answer could be no and no, yes and no, no and yes, or yes and yes.

And now you know, if this is a person to avoid, a person to have fun with but not trust with a lot of responsibility, a person who's not very fun but trustworthy, or someone you like to hang with AND trust.

Honestly, in most cases I don't think doing the "two beers and a puppy" test on someone will lead to a revelation or surprise, but it's a fun way to be more explicit with yourself about your feelings.

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What is Decolonization

I may just revisit this tweet every few months to remind myself of its contents:

Click through to read the responses, they range from personal practices (rejecting the Christianity that was violently forced upon them, learning ancestral languages) to national and political changes (land reclamation, dismantling systemic oppression, teaching true history in schools).

Everyone has a slightly different definition and they are all deeply meaningful.

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Listen, I wouldn't call this quote from Pierre Elliot Trudeau a surprise, per se, but it's just horrific to read.

No problem, just take over leadership of a government that was still actively running residential schools (aka: centres for abducted children to be brainwashed out of their ancestral languages and practices) and then act like they chose to reject their ways. It is honestly a brilliant colonial tactic and I hate it.

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How Normal is the New Normal For You?

A photo of a cafe - a woman is sitting against the wall at a table, working on her laptop, wearing a fabric mask for COVID safety. It's the "new normal."
Photo by Bagir Bahana.

I have to be honest: everyone is talking about the losses we are still feeling and grieving during this pandemic, and I feel like I'm on a totally different wavelength.

Pandemic life is, in many ways, "regular life": I go to work and then do things most evenings after work, with a few tweaks that make it "the new normal" instead of "normal."

Life is what it used to be, except...

... everything I do with another person is by default outdoors and planned for easy spacing/no contact.

... my friends and I do that weird fake air-hug thing and/or toe tap when we see each other.

... I always have a mask with me for when I need to go into a shop or really any indoor space that's not my home or office.

... I wash my hands and disinfect things a lot more often.

... I no longer have a bunch of theatre invitations that I feel obligated (or, occasionally, excited) to attend.

... some of the "things I do after work" are via video chat instead of in-person.

The losses of COVID (still thinking about all those hugs I used to give and receive with such abandon), got buried pretty quickly by the added work involved in doing things (anything, really) under COVID. The extra level of planning, communication, and emotional care leaves little time to think about anything else.

The new normal: feeling just as busy as ever while wearing a homemade fabric mask and applying hand sanitizer.

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Study of Creative Specimens

These creative specimens created by Mark Brooks and illustration studio alademosca are pretty thoroughly spectacular.

An illustration made to look like an old textbook biological illustration featuring a dragonfly but it has three pairs of wings down a long body

An old fashioned textbook-style illustration of a specimen, except this one is imaginary: it looks like an octopus, except the body is a cactus with a flower on top.

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But Really Just Tired

A photo of a woman leaning against a wall with her eyes closed beside a large window. She is bathed in sunlight.
Photo by Stacey Gabrielle Koenitz Rozells.

I was just going through some old notes, and I found a list I had made where I just wrote down anything to do with my own personal identity that came to mind, no filter.

One of the things on the list said, "trying to be enlightened but really just tired."

Feeling it.

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Your Place is in Your Own Life

A black and white screen print of an old solar system drawing, with a drawn moon, sun, and stars
Photo by Internet Archive Book Images on / No known copyright restrictions

I really don't put much (if any) stock in astrology, but do love reading my horoscope when I come across it. Every once in a while, there's one that really cuts to the quick:

You must come to terms with an inexplicably hard truth right now: Your place is in your own life. You have to let go of the intoxication of other and claim your self. You are watching the people you know best ride off into their lives and your own feet are itchy to follow, but that is not your path. Not yet. Instead, dig your hands into the soil and understand that if no one tends the here and now, there will be nothing to harvest later. Listen carefully to that deep, quiet whisper that tells you to choose what is truly yours, that tells you to be responsible to your life pulsing beneath your feet. Growing is not always easy, but outgrowing is even more difficult to accept. This month, be careful and be conscious. Do not chase them. Stand in you.
-The Fold (emphasis added)

I wouldn't have told you a day ago that this was something I needed to hear, but I think this is something I needed to hear.

Maybe you did, too. Regardless of your sign.

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Breaking Streaks Makes Habits

A photo of a neon sign that says "habits to be made"
Photo by Drew Beamer.

Here's something I hadn't thought about before: you don't truly build your habit until you break your streak.

Back when I was doing my yoga teacher training, we talked about the importance of doing yoga every day. (Every. Single. Day.)

During my teacher training, it was easy. My life revolved around yoga and I wanted to practice between classes to experiment with the things we were learning.

Once teacher training ended, however, it immediately became harder. I started missing days, and (gasp) even a whole week, before my life got really shaken up and I basically abandoned my home practice for months.

But! Whether I missed a day or more, here's how I know it was really a habit: I started up again. I didn't worry about "catching up" or somehow correcting for lost time, I just picked my yoga habit back up and kept going.

(Admittedly, that's not what the article I linked to is really about. It's about being gentler with yourself and letting your habit be something you actually ENJOY, not just something you force yourself to do for the sake of having done it. Which is also very good advice.)

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Kindness and Love

"No matter how many people tell me we need a new approach to racial justice based on kindness and love, I say, no, we need a new approach to kindness and love based on racial justice."

I freaking love this.

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Being a Good Person

Are you a good person?

This video from School for Life says that there is one simple test to find out if you are or not: (stop reading if you consider learning the content of a 4-minute infotainment video a spoiler) ask yourself if you are a good person. Only good people recognize their flaws and potential for evil and say, "no."

Of course, while watching this I had a crisis of conscience. Because in the space between the video posing the question of being a good person and letting us know that the right answer is no, I thought, "well, I'm not perfect, but on the balance, yeah I would say that I am a pretty good person."

So then am I really a bad person? According to this video, I guess so. Or perhaps just "on the balance." Start the crisis.

But! Then justification strikes: they say no one can be a good person "and at the same time think that they're blameless and pure inside."

Well, I certainly don't think I'm blameless and pure inside. I just don't think that being a good person required someone to be perfect. That's also why I had a waffly "on the balance" answer.

So then with that I swing back a little bit from my crisis. Maybe I'm okay.

Then! Another swing!

They describe how everyone who has ever performed an atrocity thought they were doing the right thing. That people never set out to do evil but instead believe they are flawlessly serving truth or righteousness or purity in some way.

The implication is clear: the feeling of absolutely doing the right thing is an indicator of being wrong. It's the moral version of the Dunning-Kruger effect.


I have felt, at times, that while I may not be blameless as an individual, I was unflinchingly on the side of good. Granted, I have never used that to justify hurting someone else, but when I (for example) shot down a random dude on the street telling me COVID isn't real, I did so with the full assurance that I was right and he was wrong. Not even because of the fact of COVID's existence, but because I am acting based on principles of science, reason, adaptability, and care for my fellow humans which I think are the right principles to act on.

So am I a bad person for that belief?

What do you think? What makes a good person? Based on all of this, are YOU a good person?

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A portrait of a young woman, author Zadie Smith, sitting with a black background, looking at the camera.
Photo by Internaz on / CC BY-NC-SA

"What modest dreamers we have become."
-Zadie Smith

Cuts to the quick.

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We All Need Something to Look Forward To

A photo of a man on a bench, looking out over a canyon, shot from behind.
Photo by Daniel Salgato.

"Here’s something that my mom said to me and I think it’s very true in terms of happiness: You have to always have something to look forward to. It can be a very minor thing, and it can be a major thing. But you always have to have something you’re looking forward to next."
-Julia Louis-Dreyfus

When we got about halfway through this summer, I began to feel a bit rudderless.

In the (first) summer of a pandemic, I realize that feeling like you're just sort of drifting through life without purpose or drive may be the least of many people's concerns, but it was concerning to me.

I had been having a pretty wonderful summer of park hangs and a few great camping trips (thank goodness we had some good outdoors time before the smoke moved in to stay!), and suddenly all my special summer activities were over and all I had to look forward to was autumn, the encroaching cold and dark, and the fact that my soul-saving outdoor park hangs were about to get struck out by rain.

Then I read this blog post from Austin Kleon about the importance of having something to look forward to and immediately scheduled another backpacking trip for the end of August.

It worked! I not only did I have something to look forward to, but that something that still rang the bell of summer and friendship while being one of the few safe activities in a pandemic, and everything seemed a lot better.

Austin Kleon brings in a few different people's perspectives into his post. One is the Julia Louis Dreyfus quote above, another is from the esteemed psychologist Viktor Frankl, and one is Tamara Shopsin and her book Arbitrary Stupid Goal, named after her father's philosophy that everyone needs an arbitrary stupid goal so that their life has meaning.

"A goal that isn’t too important makes you live in the moment, and still gives you a driving force. This driving force is a way to get around the fact that we will all die and there is no real point to life."

I truly love this. It's a goal that isn't so big or important that you defer joy or alter your entire life but is compelling enough that it gives you something to work towards, which is really what hobbies do for most people, isn't it? They take up running, photography, or pottery and begin tracking progress and setting goals for new things to try.

Of course, my first arbitrary stupid goal might be just coming up with an arbitrary stupid goal, because I keep coming up empty!

In the meantime, scheduling fun things just far enough away that I look forward to them might very well do the trick.

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A Different Sort of Life

A photo of Jane Goodall standing in front of a projection of a photo of herself back when she was doing her research. In the projected image, she is young and sitting in a forest with a monkey that is scratching her back.
Photo by World Economic Forum on / CC BY-NC-SA

“I hope people take away the fact that it is possible to have a different sort of life.”
— Jane Goodall

What sort of life could we have? Maybe one that isn't centered around capitalist economic systems? One that is deeply connected to nature? One that prioritizes relationships?

There are really so many options.

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Before You "Check-In" On Your Friend's Mental Health

A photo of a young woman standing alone on the side of a street, staring forward. It looks like she may be in a dark place, mentally.
Photo by Raychan.

Lately, I have been seeing a lot of posts circulating on social media encouraging everyone to check on their friends' mental health - especially any friends they know to have anxiety, depression, or other mental health challenges.

As a person who has spent some time in this world, I have a thought or two.

My main thought: having a "how are you doing - no, how are you really doing?" conversation with someone I don't really know or don't typically talk to about these things is, well, is not the thing I usually need when life is harder than usual.

This isn't because it sucks when people care, but because those conversations usually feel like the person won't be satisfied until I lay a bunch of mental anguish at their feet. They came to support my mental health, dadgummit! They should be rewarded by me pouring my guts out, crying, and then being so, so grateful they cared to call.

Believe it or not, I actually don't always have mental anguish to share, and when I do, I have people (professional and non) that I talk to about these things.

As I said when I wrote about Bell Let's Talk Day at the Huffington Post: a deluge of concern that comes out of nowhere and is not really going anywhere can be really uncomfortable.

I'm not saying you should never check in on someone's mental health, just that it's complicated and your intervention may or may not be actually needed or wanted. I know, this sucks for you, the Good Person who just wants to help, because it means you can't always know you're doing the best thing.

For me, a good place to start is being open about your own struggles. Nothing makes me feel like I can trust you with my pain like being trusted with yours.

Next, don't assume that I must have a lot of underlying pain just bursting to be shared - being a person who lives with depression doesn't actually mean I'm constantly hurting. Sometimes I am totally fine, and when it does come to the fore, at this stage, it's pretty old hat and there isn't much to say other than that it's there.

For me, my depression coming in and out is like my bad knee acting up: it sucks and it may be impacting my life, but it's not the end of the world and I pretty much of know how it will play out.

Because of this, I muuuuuch prefer to talk about it pretty casually and without an avalanche of sympathy. It also means that if I say I'm doing okay, I really appreciate the people who believe me.

I say this, fully knowing that when I was a teenager in the early stages of being deeply depressed and not knowing what it was or how to deal with it, all I wanted was for someone to see through my smile and not accept the lie when I said I was okay. (Of course, my mom did try to do that and I always managed to keep my misery just out of reach because what I actually wanted was for a cute boy to see my hurt, want to make it better, and kiss me so we would fall in love forever and I would never feel sad ever again. Because that is obviously how that works.)

So maybe there is someone in your life who needs you to not only ask how they're doing but to press a little harder when they try to brush you off. Or maybe even someone who is on the verge of doing something drastic and needs to know that literally anyone cares.

Knowing that, here's my advice: if you have seen something that gives you actual concern for someone's safety, go forth and intervene in whatever way you are best able (and actually, you may be able to save someone's life just by keeping them distracted and busy for a time).

Otherwise, just let them know you're there and then follow their lead.

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You Are Marvelous

A photo of an elderly woman with children standing next to her at a street festival of some kind. She is looking out at something with a contented smile on her face. There are lights all around.
Photo by Guille Alvarez.

“Your life is your life. Don’t let it be clubbed into dank submission. Be on the watch. There are ways out. There is light somewhere. It may not be much light but it beats the darkness. 
Be on the watch. The gods will offer you chances. Know them. Take them. You can’t beat death but you can beat death in life, sometimes. And the more often you learn to do it, the more light there will be. Your life is your life. Know it while you have it. You are marvelous. The gods wait to delight in you.”

— Charles Bukowski (line breaks added)

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Don't Suck These Popsicles

A group of art students, Hung I-chen, Guo Yi-hui, and Cheng Yu-ti, made popsicles out of polluted water.

The result is terrible and beautiful. Honestly, if someone told me they were artisanal, organically flavoured popsicles that cost $5 each, I would believe them.

A photo of a bunch of popsicles lined up in a grid. They range from somewhat clear with some debris inside to brown and sludgey. They are made from polluted water.

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On Our Great Feline Companions

A close-up shot of a fluffy white cat's face with one green eye and one blue eye. You get the feeling this cat is a bit weathered. It's seen things.
Photo by Sergey Semin.

Did you know I love cats? I love cats.

Here are some meditations on the cat by Leonard Michaels from his book A Cat.

First of all, those knowing eyes:

You look at a cat, and it looks at you. You have the scary idea that a cat is a kind of person. You look more carefully and let the cat’s eyes tell you what it sees. It sees you are a kind of cat.

A cat always looks into your eyes, as if it knows that you see it with your eyes. As if it knows? What a mad idea. A cat doesn’t even know it has eyes, let alone know that it is seeing you with its eyes. And yet it knows, it knows.

If you think long enough about what you see in a cat, you begin to suppose you will understand everything, but its eyes tell you there is nothing to understand, there is only life.

And then there's the lonely soul:

When it comes to loneliness, a cat is excellent company. It is a lonely animal. It understands what you feel. A dog also understands, but it makes such a big deal of being there for you, bumping against you, flopping about your feet, licking your face. It keeps saying, “Here I am.” Your loneliness then seems lugubrious. A cat will just be, suffering with you in philosophical silence.

I remember once, a roommate complaining that she was sitting on the bed crying and the cat wasn't coming to comfort her. I always knew somewhere in my heart that it wasn't indifference. This is what it really is: the cat says, "Yeah, me too," or perhaps, "We're all lonely, you don't have to make such a show of it," depending on its mood.

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A Couple of Cuties

Just a couple of cute things from Twitter for you.

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The COVID Show

A photo of a woman out on the street with a patterned fabric mask on to protect from COVID. She is standing with her bike.
Photo by Thomas de LUZE.

Has anyone else noticed that there are two aspects to our COVID precautions?

There are the actual precautions and then there is the performance of the precautions.

The precautions themselves are pretty straightforward:

- we meet up with friends in a park and stay six feet apart, each bringing our own snacks.

- we wash our hands for 20 seconds when we get to our workplace, which is fully set up for safe physical distancing.

- we carefully pick a friend to "bubble" with, ensuring that we are on the same page about precautions and comfort levels.

- we wear face masks when we go grocery shopping.

Then there's the performance:

- when we take a selfie at that park hang, we stand a lot more than six feet apart so that it is really obvious in the picture.

- all of our social media posts have captions like, "a wonderful (distanced, outdoor) hang!" and "bubble buddies!"

- we make a point of sanitizing parts of our workstation that we haven't touched in weeks and probably won't touch today just so any coworker who is paying attention can see that we are keeping it clean!

- we don't hug a friend who is actually in our bubble, because we're out somewhere people might not know we are bubbled and we don't want to give the wrong idea.

- we simply don't post about something because it might not be totally obvious that we followed the rules and we don't want to give anyone scrolling past the wrong idea.

Our showy demonstration of following the rules is part avoiding judgement and part subtly making a point to everyone else. The performance is, in many ways, as important as actually following the rules: it reinforces our social contract for safety and lets everyone know we aren't making things worse.

I love to see it.

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Forgetting is so Long by Daisy Patton

Daisy Patton's painting series Forgetting is so Long is... so good.

A painting that took an old photograph of a woman and painted over it with a blue shirtdress, flowers, and a transparent pink smear around her face. It almost feels like a saintly portrait, but not quite.

A painting by Daisy Patton that took an old black and white portrait of a young woman and painted over it, putting her in a magical garden.

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For Days When Gratitude is Hard to Find

A close-up photo of a woman's face. Her hands are blocking most of it so you can't see her expression, but it seems like she's happy under there.
Photo by Melanie Kruetz.

Sometimes the whole gratitude thing is hard to muster. We know (or rather, I know, I can't speak for all of you) that a life lived with gratitude is, by default, a good life. I know that gratitude can change my perspective on a tough situation and that it can turn my mood around in an instant.

And yet, sometimes... I just can't quite do it. I look around at my life and go, "yeah, there's a lot of good stuff here, I guess..." and stare into the middle distance, listlessly wondering why I can't feel better when there are so many blessings all around me.

Part of the problem, of course, is trying to force a feeling. I can recognize the things I'm grateful for, but I can't generate a state of rapturous awe, no matter how many good there is in my life. Sometimes, things are just rough and you can't trick yourself out of feeling it.

I recently came across some prompts that can help with that from a newsletter for The Art of Noticing by Rob Walker.

He talks about habituation and the fact that people can get used to anything, which is great for getting through the day-to-day (as he says, "We can’t all go through life constantly agog at the marvels of indoor plumbing or refrigeration"), but less ideal when it comes to actually experiencing life.

Rob Walker suggests a few prompts for things to notice that we may have taken for granted. For each of these, the idea is to stop and not just think of a good thing, but something in your daily life that you have gotten so used to you've forgotten how great it is:

- A human-made miracle.
- A miracle of nature.
- A person who you enjoy (in real life or digitally).
- Something you consistently love that everyone else seems habituated to (or doesn't even like).
- An activity you take for granted but would be sad to see it disappear (this one might be too real for all of us, thanks to the 'vid).

I like these because they give you something to start with. Even if you don't feel particularly grateful for anything at the moment, you can probably think of a person in your life who you enjoy or a human-made miracle that you interact with every day.

Walker doesn't say this, but I would suggest taking a few minutes, once you've thought of the thing, to consider it more deeply: what you use it for, how it benefits you and others, what you enjoy about it. This extra bit of thought lets it sink in a little more than just a checklist.

Excuse me, I have some miracles to consider.

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A Natural Cleanse That Works

A photo of the trees in a forest with a path in front. There is golden light coming through and it is very peaceful.
Photo by Lukasz Szmigiel

“Whenever we touch nature we get clean. People who have got dirty through too much civilization take a walk in the woods, or a bath in the sea. Entering the unconscious, entering yourself through dreams, is touching nature from the inside and this is the same thing, things are put right again.”
— Carl Jung

There is something that feels off about the idea that we get dirty from being in civilization, but I also can't entirely argue since being out in nature does feel kind of cleansing.

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Is Identity a Choice?

A friend sent me this a while back and the question really got me thinking... is it? Is identity a choice?

Many of the comments essentially say, "No, but then also yes." Or, "Yes, but then also no."

The no: from the moment we are born, we are told our race, nationality, gender, and sometimes religion (or lack thereof). These things are given to us and form the basis of how we exist in the world and thus, who we are.

The yes: at some point in our lives, we elect to embrace or reject these things, depending on how well they fit. We also add new aspects to our identity, thanks to things like hobbies and careers and education.

I totally agree with the "yes" argument, with one little problem: when we wriggle out of an ill-fitting identity and toss it aside in favour of one that feels more comfortable, have we really chosen that identity? Or have we simply chosen to be honest with ourselves about who we really are?

It is certainly a choice to allow yourself to be who you are, but do we get to choose who that person is in the first place? It seems to me we just find that out as we go.

Here's another question: is how others see us important to our identity, or just how we see ourselves?

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Hearts on the Sleeve

Oh my, aren't these paintings of birds clutching at their own hearts just captivating? They are by Christina Mrozik. The first one is called My Apology. Swoon.

A painting of two birds next to each other. Each have had their chests cut open, one has its heart removed the other a flower, both are still connected to their bodies but held by the other. It's a bit creepy but not as gruesome as this sounds.

A painting of a bird with its chest cut open and coming out are long vines with flowers

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BREAKING: Jerks Tell On Themselves For Being Jerks

I saw this on Twitter and retweeted it with an all-caps I HATE THIS SO MUCH, but have since decided that this wasn't enough. I need to use more words. I need to RANT.

This woman's COLLEAGUE sent her a message with an actual picture of her, doing her job, being reasonable, just to let her know, "oh hey, in case you weren't aware, I WAS SEXUALIZING YOU back there and also everyone else should know but I am going to be anonymous about it because I am a coward." (They said this using the words "this is what you think we see," regarding the first pic, and then another pic of a braless lady in a very low-cut wrap top, saying "this is what we see.")

FIRST OF ALL, you obviously saw what she "thought you saw," you gross id-driven buttface. You saw it because you grabbed a screenshot of it and said "this is what you think we saw" which means you know exactly what she was presenting to the world and that it's a FINE WAY TO PRESENT YOURSELF.

Second, WHOSE FAULT IS IT if you look at that perfectly reasonable woman and then mentally make their clothes smaller? Is it hers???? Or did you just tell on yourself for being a jerk who can't handle the WORLD????

Are we supposed to get dressed in the morning and then look at our outfits from all angles and say to ourselves, "hmmmmm, could a man look at me and imagine these clothes are smaller?" Because spoiler alert: YOU CAN DO THAT WITH ANY AMOUNT OF CLOTHING. 

(Unless of course, we wore no clothes at all. No mental clothes-shrinking there. I would say that's giving you what you want, but I'm genuinely not sure what you want. Except to make her feel bad.)

Third, this came from a COLLEAGUE. UGH. And it was sent to everyone. SO MUCH UGH. These people are supposed to be on your TEAM.

Fourth, people are the worst sometimes.

Fifth, is there something wrong with the second picture that shows more skin??? What's wrong with it, if the woman is happy and comfortable??? (Okay, okay, I realize that in many workplaces, showing too much of your body is considered inappropriate and while that's probably gendered, it is not entirely gendered, as sex and professional comportment do not go together in most people's minds, and I guess that's reasonable? Unless someone's profession is actually related to sex and sexiness? Then I guess the judgement would be reversed and she would be getting a condescending note pointing out that when she wears this cleavage-y wrap top, it's not showing enough and her colleagues basically see her in a conservative v-neck top and can she please dress sexier already, this is a workplace?)

Sixth, can we just stop now with all of this?

Seventh, The Vancouver Island Cleavage Patrol sounds like a band name that 12-year-old boys would think was so cool and hilarious. My dude, at what age did you stop developing?


Ninth, kaythanksBYEEEEEEEEEE.

An animated gif of Mariah Carey blowing a little kiss and waiving goodbye before walking away.

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120-Year-Old Cats - Cute as Ever

In proof that people have been photographing their cats since as long as we've had access to the ability to take pictures, a photographer named Mathieu Stern found a 120-year-old time capsule containing... cat pictures!

A photo from 1900 of two cats in a yard, developed using cyanotype methods (the earliest film development technology), so it is tinged slightly blue

It's worth noting that back then, taking just one photo would have been SUPER EXPENSIVE, so this is a much bigger deal than the 5 bajillion pics of Gertie I have on my phone.

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On This Day

Today is my birthday!

An animated gif. It's a black and white video of a woman icing a birthday cake, that zooms in on the cake to see she ran out of space and so it says "HAPPY BIRTHD"

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Sink Ya Teeth by the Substitutes

Honestly, I think this song is mostly just okay, but I was hypnotized by the dancing. 

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Until You Can See a Way to Love Life Again

A photo of a cabin covered in snow - all you can see is the small peaked top of the roof.
Somehow this image seemed right for this post.
Photo by Joel Tasche.

"In the morning I drink
coffee until I can see
a way to love life
again. It's okay, there's
no difference between
flying and thinking
you're flying
until you land."

I love everything about this poem. It's called Suggested Donation by Heather Christle.

There is more:

I own like six nail clippers
and I honestly can't
remember ever buying
even one. My sister
came to visit and 
saw them in a small
wooden bowl. I
heard her laughing in
the bathroom. I hope
she never dies. There's
no harm in hoping
until you land."

It's so wonderful and painful, isn't it? It makes me want to give up and embrace life all at the same time.

(PS: This isn't the whole poem! Someone named @lighghghght shared it!)

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On Letting Ourselves Live in a Season

A photo of a woman wearing a headscarf, shot from behind as she walks into a darkened doorway. The building is yellow and there are bright purple flowers above the door.
Photo by Mark Fletcher-Brown.

Since I started going into the office most days (and thus getting a lot of exercise from my one-hour-each-way bike commute), I don't do their workouts as often, but I have kept myself on their mailing list for the little snippets of wisdom and reflection that precede each workout.

It's pretty rare to find a corner of exercise culture that is actually about holistically enjoying life and never even hints that my body should look or perform a certain way, after all.

Here's another one that I saved. It's called 3 Summer Tips for Working and Working Out. Some quotes:

"We are big fans of seasonal living here at TWT. We believe in trusting your natural energy cycle, rather than expecting to yourself to perform the same way 365 days a year, like a robot."

(This is something I am trying to do a little more: live life seasonally and cyclically, embracing the joys of the current conditions while adapting to the challenges, knowing that everything changes and circles back around at some point. Also, hooray to not being a robot. Nothing against robots, of course. I just like being a human.)

(What I really need to work on with this is adapting how I interpret the seasons. To me, summer is all light and freedom and joy and fun, and then basically everything else is dark gloom, life-sucking cold, and sadness... Hmmmmm....)

"Average pace is more important than current pace... When you're focused on your average pace, you have the freedom to flow with your energy. Bring the intensity 1-2 days a week when you’ve got the energy, and enjoy easy movement on other days to recover."

(This still implies that there is some kind of pace we should be keeping, which may or may not be motivating to you. But I do find the idea that my growth, progress, and effort can ebb and flow, honouring circumstances and energy levels. It all still counts. Anything is better than nothing.)

"Don’t let your conditions fool you. Working out in hot weather can fool you into thinking you’re not as fit as you are. Don’t let summer get you down on yourself: in the fall, you’ll realize that working out in the warmer weather actually helped you build your fitness. In the midst of COVID, remember that you are teaching yourself how to work and work out in far from ideal conditions."

(Again, there is an implication here that the payoff of living - or exercising - through a challenge is that you come out of it stronger on the other side. I know a LOT of people love that notion and get meaning from it. I do, too. On the flip side, I also love the idea that it's okay if I emerge from a tough season of life the same, or weaker. The point is that struggling when the conditions we are living under get harder doesn't mean we suck. It just means things are harder.)

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A Good Person

This sparks joy.
An illustration of a large creature, like a yeti, towering over the trees with its teeth bared and text that says "I'm just trying to be a good person."

(If you know who made it, please let me know! I desperately want to credit them! I saw it via @abegoldfarb on Twitter.)

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Let's Not Make People Touch Things We Touched With the Bottom of Our Shoes

An animated gif of Eric from That '70s Show - he winds up to kick an apartment door and then falls backwards into the wall behind him and slides down it.

Yesterday, I was walking out of my neighbourhood mall and a man walking out beside me decided to kick at the button to open the door hands-free. It was awkward, it took him three kicks to get it, and he was kicking with a force that I would deem unnecessary to press a button unless you also intended to break it.

In a move pretty unusual for me, I said something. Out loud. To this person. About how they weren't making the most considerate life choice.

I said, "Hey, just so you know, it's actually better to use your elbow or hip to press those buttons, because people with disabilities have to touch them."

He looked at me with the expression of someone who isn't entirely sure they are the one being spoken to and walked away.

What a successful interaction!

But seriously, don't kick the buttons for door opening. People in mobility devices can often only reach them with their hands. It's just not nice to make them touch something that you kicked at with the bottom of your shoe that has definitely walked over dried pee.

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Do Battle

“Sometimes we are blessed with being able to choose the time, and the arena, and the manner of our revolution, but more usually we must do battle where we are standing.”
-Audre Lorde

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I Found a New Way to Get Un-Stuck From My Wish-Fulfillment Mental Loops

A photo of a wall with a neon sign that says "we are all made of stories"
Photo by Social Cut.

I don't know about you, but when I'm not happy with how something is going in my life, my brain (or maybe my heart?) often goes ahead and imagines an alternate reality where it just magically works out. It's nice in theory, except that I inevitably wind up getting stuck in this little wish-fulfillment story as my brain cycles through it over and over, getting sad over and over that it's not really happening.

This can materialize over anything - work, friendships, my home, but it's the stickiest when it comes to dating. Probably because dating involves an outcome I powerfully desire (finding sweet, sweet love) that requires both random chance and a whole other person whose actions I cannot control and thoughts I cannot read and may or may not ever show up in my life.

In the past, my efforts have mainly been focussed on shutting these stories down. I remind myself that they aren't real and that I have to act based on what people are doing, not what I imagine they might be secretly thinking. (To quote my book, "actions speak louder than the stories you make up in your head.")