So this is my day off. I had big hopes for today. Take Rose to the dog groomer (check). Get the car title in my name (check). Do some Christmas shopping (check). Meditate. (Oops). Yoga. (Oops.) I am excellent at taking care of business.
I am not always excellent at taking care of myself.
It is my day off and I am waiting for Shoes to get home for our date night. While I wait, I'm lost in Ted Talks.
How I love Ted Talks.
When I interned as a geriatric counselor, the activities director used to show Ted Talks and lead discussions in the auditorium. It was a beautiful time of learning from people who knew far more about living than I do.
This is the Ted Talk I love the most today:
Ms. Adichie speaks for approximately 18 minutes on the danger of a single story (looking at a situation, a person, a culture from a single narrative). I wish I could explain to you how strongly this resonates in my spirit. I wish I could tell you how I was struck with the sheer ingenuity of her thought.
Although Ms. Adichie primarily addresses the story of our cultures, I couldn't help but link it back to my own experience in social work. I wish I could tell you the bizarre and irritating things people continually tell me about the people I partner with in my job: People who cope with mental health issues. People who are living in poverty. People whose children are in the custody of child welfare.
There is no one single story and our human lies are varied and complex beyond measure.
Here's what Ms. Adichie writes:
"The consequence of the single story is this: It robs people of dignity. It makes our recognition of our equal humanity difficult. It emphasizes how we are different rather than how we are similar."
How are we looking at people? What are the unspoken value judgments behind our emotional reactions? What are the stories we've heard and continue to tell?
Let's examine those.