Do Better, Be Better

Originally published on May 1, 2019, but it remains 100% relevant today, especially as a peer.

Today’s morning thought:

It’s not enough to – want – to do better. Most people – want – to do better. I used to tell people I – wanted – to better. I would have an interaction, and then I would have an epiphany (or someone would shove one in my face hole).

I would apologize, even PROMISE to do better, and then within weeks even days, I’d be back to old behaviors. Old behaviors are easy. They’re comfortable. They’re painless and smooth

You have to BE better. You have to actually change your behavior.

And wow, that’s hard. It hurts, not just because you’re retraining your brain, but because as you do, you discover all the hurt and pain you’ve caused in the past to people who you either didn’t care about, didn’t know, or didn’t recognize.

Epiphanies mean nothing if you don’t act on them. Wanting is great as a motivator. You have to DO it.

#changenotapologies
#bemindful
#youhavetobebetter
#dothething

Just Don’t.

Everyone’s Facebook wall (or blog or Insta or whatever) is their own to do with as they please. I’d never argue otherwise. But telling someone “if you don’t like it, leave” when an image gives them an actual panic attack is pretty unkind, and telling them that your fear & pain is more valid than theirs is shitty as fuck.

Manipulating someone else’s pain to try and assuage your own is even more shitty as fuck.

And justifying that by implying that it’s ok because they’re not your friend is the most shitty as fuck of all.

Nobody wins the Pain Olympics.

Always try to follow Wheaton’s Law.

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Make Sure They Have Enough

Originally posted December 23, 2019. I’m publishing it now, because whoa, relevant.

Louis CK turned out to be a burning trash dumpster of a person, but this sentiment still stands, and I tell my boys this all the time. You only worry about your neighbor’s bowl to make sure that they have enough.

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As Jadwiga said on the original post, “Don’t discount a truth just because you don’t like the person saying it.”

(Offer not valid for Orson Scott Card & JK Rowling.)

When Relationships Change

Originally published on May 2, 2019.

I’ve been in the SCA for nearly 30 years, and it took a long time for me to find my people in the SCA. I thought that I had done so more than once previously, but in the end, every time, I discovered I was wrong.

I made individual, life-long friends, but it wasn’t really until I came back to Ayreton and then found Raven Company that I was really home.

When someone we really care about suddenly changes the parameters of the relationship, it’s hard to handle.

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Respect vs Courtesy

Originally posted January 5, 2019.

I posted this on LinkedIn, but I think it has relevance here to, in the SCA and non-corporate life.

Respect vs Courtesy

I frequently see people say that we should always treat other people with Respect and at the same time, I frequently see people say that Respect is earned. It seems to me that this is because people are using the word “respect” in two different ways, and in one of those ways, we really should be using the word Courtesy instead.

Courtesy is something granted anyone I meet. It’s being polite. It’s being kind. It’s doing things like learning preferred pronouns and using them, or working to pronounce a name properly. Speaking to someone disrespectfully is really speaking to them with dis-courteousness.

Respect is earned. It’s the product of a relationship. It’s not that I don’t respect you, I just don’t know you yet. So as I get to know you, I will (hopefully) begin to respect you. That means that I will share things with you that I don’t share with people I don’t know.

If I had to put them on a kind of a timeline of a relationship, a positive one would go something like this:

Courtesy —> Respect —> Trust

How Can the SCA Do Better?

Originally published January 1, 2019.

So it seems to me that there are two big issues facing the SCA right now:

1) problematic behavior, such as but not exclusively: sexual harassment and bigotry related to race, gender, orientation, gaslighting, etc.
2) the behavior we see when someone’s problematic behavior is called out – IE, calling a POC a bigot when they call for the SCA to boycott a hotel that promotes or allows racist behavior from its staff.

I am generally an in your face kind of guy about both of these kinds of behaviors. But a good worker has lots of tools in the toolbox. So many of you here on my friends list don’t like it that the SCA doesn’t seem to have a good plan for combating racism or gaslighting. The anti-discrimination policy doesn’t appear to have much by way of teeth.

What are ways we can push the SCA to take a more enlightened stance on these issues? How do we enable the SCA to do better?

The Broken Pot

Originally published February 2, 2018.

I saw the story below as a comment in a group I’m in. Tonight, it speaks to me.

Your cracks and flaws do not make you broken. They are what make you you.

I did not write this story.

The Broken Pot

A water bearer in India had two large pots, each hung on an end of a pole which he carried across his neck. One of the pots had a crack in it, and while the other pot was perfect and always delivered a full portion of water at the end of the long walk from the stream to the masters house, the cracked pot arrived only half full.

For a full two years this went on daily, with the bearer delivering only one and a half pots full of water in his masters house. Of course, the perfect pot was proud of its accomplishments, perfect to the end for which it was made. But the poor cracked pot was ashamed of its own imperfection, and miserable that it was able to accomplish only half of what it had been made to do. After two years of what it perceived to be a bitter failure, it spoke to the water bearer one day by the stream.

“I am ashamed of myself, and I want to apologize to you.”
“Why?” asked the bearer. “What are you ashamed of?”
“I have been able, for these past two years, to deliver only half my load because this crack in my side causes water to leak out all the way back to your masters house. Because of my flaws, you have to do all of this work, and you don’t get full value from your efforts.” the pot said.

The water bearer felt sorry for the old cracked pot, and in his compassion he said, “As we return to the masters house, I want you to notice the beautiful flowers along the path.”

Indeed, as they went up the hill, the old cracked pot took notice of the sun warming the beautiful wild flowers on the side of the path, and this cheered it some. But at the end of the trail, it still felt bad because it had leaked out half its load, and so again the Pot apologized to the bearer for its failure.

The bearer said to the pot, “Did you notice that there were flowers only on your side of your path, but not on the other pots side? That’s because I have always known about your flaw, and I took advantage of it. I planted flower seeds on your side of the path, and every day while we walk back from the stream, you’ve watered them. For two years I have been able to pick these beautiful flowers to decorate my masters table. Without you being just the way you are, he would not have this beauty to grace his house.”