The possibility in a word

When my now-husband, Anthony, first told me he’d majored in American Studies, I was tickled. I couldn’t fathom such a choice, which seemed so … indulgent.

Why study history when we live in the present? Why study culture when the world simply is the way it is? Far better, I thought, to dedicate time and energy to building skills critical to navigating now.

A few years ago, my husband introduced me to Neil Postman. As I read book after Postman book, I began to see some of the many ways the present is a byproduct of processes in the past. The future, in turn, will be a byproduct of processes in motion now.

Different processes, different product.

I began to grasp why two of my siblings are historians, and why my husband would be interested in American Studies.

In one particular conversation, my husband explained that he’d majored in American Studies to find words for his experiences as a Black man in America.

I was incredulous. He already had words. Why did he need a program of study to give him words, available en masse in dictionaries and thesauri everywhere?!

Recently I’ve been eating humble pie here, too.

In mid-June, someone I trust suggested I watch Brené Brown’s Netflix special. I did so, and my mind was blown. The world Brown described was so different than the world I was used to seeing. 

I liked her vision of the world better than my own; there was so much possibility in hers! I watched others of her videos. Having watched those I could find, I then bought and read each of her books, enjoying them in visual and audio formats.

It took me a little while to pinpoint what I found in Brown that I didn’t find elsewhere.

After I’d pinpointed it, I couldn’t help but laugh: Continue reading “The possibility in a word”

Far from alone

I’ve been stalked for a year and a half.

It’s not something I talk–or write–much about anymore. I’m not interested in having my life defined by what others do to me. Much more important to that definition is the choices I make; as I learn and grow by the day, these are getting sounder..

Why write anything about it, then?

If you’ve read my last few posts, you probably suspect it has something to do with Brené Brown,

If you’re thusly suspicious, you’re right. 

I just finished rereading Brown’s first book, Women & Shame. In this book, Brown emphasizes how critical genuine connection is to overcoming shame. Only by speaking shame can women escape it, and, powerfully, help other women learn to escape it. Continue reading “Far from alone”

Dragoning Greatly: An Introduction

I wrote my first blog post in June 1995. From the very first email response I received, I was hooked. I’d been heard! That could actually happen: I could be heard.

Online, I could be appear more than the broken teenager I was offline.

That was so powerful. Unfortunately, it was also setup for a lot of unhealthy behaviors.

A couple months ago, I fully and finally saw just how unhealthy my relationship with blogging had become. I deleted my existing blogs and began learning how to simply sit with myself, my thoughts, and my feelings. This, too, was powerful.

At first, it was only painful. It might have remained that way, but for one thing: In this quiet place, I found the works of vulnerability and shame researcher Brené Brown.

A friend had recommended Brown’s Daring Greatly several years ago. I’d bought a copy, read the preface, and … didn’t relate at all. As far as I was then concerned, I was already daring greatly.

About a month ago, my primary care provider recommended Brown’s Netflix special. I said I’d consider checking it out. I thought, Yeah, I already tried Brown. Not my thing. In fact, I just sold back my copy of her book a couple weeks ago!

On a whim, I did end up starting Brown’s special. Within moments, I was transfixed–laughing, choking back tears, and celebrating the fact Brown’s out there doing what she’s doing.

I wasn’t exactly sure what she was doing that was so foreign and new, but that was okay. I was just glad she was doing it.

Since then, I’ve discovered Daring Greatly was only one of Brown’s books. I’ve read all save one of them, and am halfway through the last–her latest, Dare to Lead.

I didn’t intend to ever again have any kind of personal site, but I’m inspired by Brown. What I do today doesn’t have to be like what I did yesterday. In fact, it couldn’t be, with all I’ve recently learned from Brown and my many other teachers, both global and local. Continue reading “Dragoning Greatly: An Introduction”