I am back in my own home after a week away in Virginia doing work things. The workshop I was at was amazing
, and has had a profound impact on the way I think about doing my job. I also got to create a bunch of stuff, mostly online, and I feel such satisfaction about all those things and how I'm going to approach my work in the future. Hurray!
Last week's accident continues to need attention - the national rental company apparently didn't pass on to the local branch of the rental company what had happened, so they're wondering where the car is. Technically not my problem - seriously, company in question, get your act together - but I'm the one getting the phone calls. I also have to provide copies of a bunch of documents to my employer tomorrow as they may be liable for the accident instead of me because I paid for the rental on a company card. Who knows.
What I do know is that not having a car between Tuesday and Friday was a terrible idea. (We only really needed a car to get back to the airport, so there was no point in renting before Friday from a practical standpoint.) I really needed to get back up on the horse before that - I was hella nervous driving on both Friday and Saturday. I was also nervous driving back from my local airport last night because it was dark and I couldn't discount the idea that I would hit something - like a deer - on the way home. My luck seems to be running that way. But it did not come to pass and I got home and went to bed and slept like a diving bell going to the bottom of the ocean. Thank goodness.
Amid all this, some incredibly kind person sent me money through my coffee button, and it was amazingly generous and lifted some of the weight of dealing with the car accident. Whomever you are online, I am so grateful to you, and thank you from the bottom of my heart for your compassion.
and I carved out two hours between leaving Virginia and needing to get to the airport to go into DC and see some sights. We spent most of our time at the National Art Gallery, which I had never been in before. It was really fun, and we had excellent croissants in the cafe, and saw a medieval painting of baby Jesus in which he looked strangely like Jared Kushner. Hmmm. And we walked and walked and walked - my fitbit showed just under 16,000 steps for the day. (This is good news in that I could walk that far without my ankle giving out - it used to do so after a mile and a half before I went to PT - and while it did hurt by the end, it was an ache rather than a sharp pain. My PTs will be super glad to hear this.) It was a great day, even though the giant chicken behind the White House was gone.
Of course yesterday was a day full of the news coming out of Charlottesville - I saw some particularly graphic footage while eating some lunch in the airport. I've seen a lot of people saying that the actions of the Nazis "are not who we are as a country" - and while I recognize that as an aspirational saying, it's simply not true from a historical perspective. We have always been a white supremacist country; it has always been this bad for key segments of our population; the U.S. is founded on denying rights to others because of their race and religion. Our job is to undo what has been done, to untangle the web of white supremacy that runs through all our institutions, our cultural mores, our social conventions - to do any less is to be willfully blind to what is desperately apparent.
There are many good organizations in Charlottesville [to which you might give money]
as a first response. But not everyone has money, and action takes many forms. Can I suggest asset mapping yourself? Draw a stick figure on a piece of paper, and then go around that form and list all the talents and energies you can bring to anti-racism work - your knowledge of Google apps, Excel, Word; your ability hammer things, lift things, hold signs, walk in protests, perhaps; your understanding of social justice. Then look around your own community and find organizations that can use what you have to offer. I just joined the board of my local domestic violence shelter, which may seem removed from all of this, but violence is completely bound up in the messages of toxic masculinity that come out of white supremacy and other pools of hatred. We serve about 70 families per month, and my town is very small. That's a lot of people who need to hear messages of love and welcome and to receive practical help with shelter, food, education, and an income.
We can fight this - we have to fight this. And I know from experience that you have such big hearts and minds and a commitment to upholding what is right. We can beat this. Together.