Food for thought (12/5/2021)
A look at the #MeToo movement, the power of your mind and avoidance.
Happy December! The seasons are changing again and winter is almost here. I hope you are getting ready for some downtime over the holidays and carving out space to reflect and relax.
Here are a few new gems that inspired me this past month that I think you might also enjoy.
What I've been reading:
Unbound: My Story of Liberation and the Birth of the Me Too Movement - “Tarana Burke is the founder and activist behind the largest social movement of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, the me too movement, but Tarana didn't always have the courage to say me too. As a child, she reeled from her sexual assault, believing she was responsible. Unable to confess what she thought of as her own sins for fear of shattering her family, her soul split in two. One side was the bright, intellectually curious third generation Bronxite steeped in Black literature and power, and the other was the bad, shame ridden girl who thought of herself as a vile rule breaker, not of a victim. She tucked one away, hidden behind a wall of pain and anger, which seemed to work... until it didn't.
Tarana fought to reunite her fractured soul, through organizing, pursuing justice, and finding community. In her debut memoir she shares her extensive work supporting and empowering Black and brown girls, and the devastating realisation that to truly help these girls she needed to help that scared, ashamed child still in her soul. Tarana has found that we can only offer empathy to others if we first offer it to ourselves.
Unbound is the story of an inimitable woman's inner strength and perseverance, all in pursuit of bringing healing to her community and the world around her, but it is also a story of possibility, of empathy, of power, and of the leader we all have inside ourselves. In sharing her path toward healing and saying me too, Tarana reaches out a hand to help us all on our own journeys.”
What I've been watching:
The Mind, Explained | Season 2 - “Vox’s Explained series is truly enlightening. If you are someone who has ardently followed the original series and the spin-off, you would surely love Netflix’s The Mind, Explained. However, if you are new to the franchise, The Explained series is a good place to start, especially because it takes one subject and analyzes its various perspectives in a more detailed manner.
The Mind Explained Season 2 consists of five episodes spread out over different topics concerning the functioning and development of our brain. The first episode is titled “How to Focus”, which is by far the most relevant and important episode in the series. It focuses on the short attention span people have developed over the years by taking in scientific inputs from academics and experts. It briefly takes us to the history of the brain’s inability to multitask and the growing lack of focus.”
What I've been pondering:
“There is nothing that gets in the way of success more than avoidance. We avoid hard conversations. We avoid certain people. We avoid hard decisions. We avoid evidence that contradicts what we think. We avoid starting a project until we're certain of the outcome.
To justify our avoidance, we lie to ourselves. We tell ourselves that we’re noble — we don’t want to hurt someone’s feelings. We tell ourselves we don’t want to offend others. We tell ourselves that things will get better. We tell ourselves that things will get easier. We tell ourselves that we can avoid the real issue without any impact. We tell ourselves we'll start when the time is right.
Sometimes we muster up half the courage. We have half the conversation we wanted to have. We do half the hard thing. We acknowledge the evidence but convince ourselves this time is different. We see the person we’re avoiding but don’t really talk to them. We start but don't commit to the project.
And here’s the interesting thing. Half-efforts tend to make things worse, not better. When things don’t get better, it only reinforces that we shouldn’t have said anything in the first place. Avoiding isn’t better, it’s just easier.
Not only does avoiding today make the future harder, but it also almost always makes the present harder. Avoiding puts you on a hair-trigger, anything will set you off. We all do this. Who hasn’t entirely avoided a hard conversation with their partner about something only to find themselves in an insignificant argument over something trivial? Of course, the petty fight isn’t about the trivial thing, it’s about avoiding the hard thing.
Everything becomes harder until we stop avoiding what's getting in the way. The longer you wait the higher the cost.” -Uknown
I took this photo while reading Unbound by Burke in the park. “The book's cover is an image of Burke as conceived by American fiber artist Bisa Butler. The vibrant image is of a one-of-a-kind quilt that Butler specially made for the cover using silk, velvet, and hand-dyed cotton for her face and neck, cotton for her hair, Dutch wax, and African wax for her clothing, and silk damask for the background.”
Until next time,
If you like what you are reading subscribe below to get this monthly newsletter in your inbox.