What My World's Like

(in)congruent

Oct
25

Are you who you say you are? Are you who you think you are, or who you want to be? I often like to explore the concept and believe that I am, but in reality, I’m not. In me is the range of humanity—kind, selfish, strong, weak, committed, capricious, confident, insecure, humble, arrogant, beautiful and ugly. I’m extreme, contradictory, complex. Oftentimes, I think, too extreme, too contradictory, too complex. These layers have made it difficult for me to consistently see myself honestly and positively. There are so many contradictions that even I’m sometimes left wondering who am I?

On things that don’t necessarily matter, it’s easy for me to toss an opinion around, whether it’s requested or not. However, on issues that deeply affect me, usually silence is my standard. Makes no sense. Am I outspoken or reserved?

My journey has taught me that I’m nicest to those I don’t know and more hurtful to those I care the most about. Am I kind or am I mean?

I can speak about my life, who I am—or think I am—and what I’ve learned easiest with strangers than people I’m emotionally invested in.

Why does this incongruency exist? Will the awareness of its presence create more congruency or will it persist regardless?

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Don’t be nice; be kind

Jul
30

By Akaya Windwood

I recently facilitated a community meeting organized to address a spate of violence in a neighborhood here in Oakland, California. Roughly 200 people showed up—young people from the streets, grandmothers, school teachers, community activists, neighbors, and politicians. The gathering crossed lines of class, ethnicity, religion, gender, and race. There were many emotions in the room: grief, fear, hope, hopelessness, skepticism, sadness, and even some optimism.

As we began the meeting, I asked people to agree to be kind rather than nice. Truthfully, I was a bit hesitant to ask for this agreement, thinking that people would interpret it to mean that they couldn’t say what they needed to say or express “negative” feelings such as anger, outrage, or distress. I took the risk of asking for the agreement anyway, and was met with a big “yes” from the group. Everyone was tired of the old pattern of blaming and shaming, of finding fault with one another, and we needed a way to say difficult things without feeling hobbled by politeness.

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