Identity Politics

overit

I cannot fathom being so far removed from my actions that I could believe who I am as a person is in any way detached from my political choices or that it should be.

Yet here I am, on social media, reading people decrying the the evils and dangers of identity politics. Where did we get the idea that you can vote someone into or out of a public office and not have any part of that decision be influenced by your person, history, community, etc.

Oh wait, what does “identity politics” even mean? Let’s ask the dictionary.

identity_pol_def

Thank you, Google.

Now, about this whole identity politics thing. Political decisions we make involve our person. The policies that our government involve our person. Our man or womanhood, education access, what happens to our spouses and children, whether or not being raped is a pre-existing medical condition that should disqualify someone from receiving reasonably priced medical treatment in general…

In sum: the very things that are part our being. While I can understand the concern for potential manipulation of people using their very identity as a prop, I want to proffer a simple remedy for that:

read for yourself. ignorance is bad.Read.

 

Ignorance is the means by which people are manipulated to do things, not “identity politics” and shame on those who would use someone’s identity against them, but shame also on those who would suggest that a person should erase or omit their identity when making political decisions.

The Civil Rights movement and women’s suffrage – as a start – are pretty hardcore identity politics and even if there are a few who would have loved for neither of those things to have occurred, they did because people, from the depth of who they are, demanded a more equal world for everyone.

Here’s a free clue: that will continue to happen until we reach that equilibrium or until everyone expires.

However, I’ll step back from all the points, I made above and ask this question for those who decry identity politics: what would you have done to ensure a better world for everyone otherwise?

Further, what part of your identity would you have discarded to have that?

More Time for Nothing

20120419-121119.jpg

I should remake this wallpaper with the sensibilities I have now, but I need this reminder to make more space for myself to do nothing.

It was last week when, as I thought about what I wanted to do this weekend and so on that I realized I haven’t had a day where I do nothing. There’s always some project to work on, work to be moderately stressed about, a family issue, politics and social issues and their entourage of grief and I have not one day for myself in the middle of it.

You would think that doing nothing would take no effort, but at this point in my life, doing nothing takes an incredible amount of effort and discipline and, to be honest, although I’ve known that you have to make time for yourself, I haven’t realized on a visceral level how hard that is.

What I’ve learned is that it’s not just turning things off or putting things on airplane mode and taking a walk to the park or the beach or to the top of a mountain peak with an instagram-worthy view. It’s the ability to discipline yourself to avoid the temptation to fill all of your time with activity or planning for activity.

Here, allow me to be more profound: doing nothing means being just as present and mindful in our rest as we are in our activity.

That.

Is.

Challenging.

It’s hard to not think of more than the moment we are in, but some days, that’s exactly what we need. On a personal note, I’m somewhere between here and there on a regular; I’m a kid, I’m an old adult, I’m in college, I’m a 40-year-old professional…

… and I’m rarely in my room on a Thursday afternoon and just enjoying being in my room. Maybe having a papasan chair in the corner might help here.

The Internet We Want: Part I

overit

So here’s a thing I don’t understand about the internet: it is impossible to be kind most of the time, but it is super easy to be mean.

Let’s talk about this week. I wanted to gift someone a game that’s going to be coming out soon, so I went to the gaming site and started the purchasing process. I was unable to gift this game to anyone at all; I could only purchase for myself. That ended up with me having to spoil my surprise, then (ultimately) get the person I wanted to surprise to give me their account info so I could purchase it with my card on their account.

Why?

You asked me my name, my card number, other personal info. You had my username. You could have asked me for their username. It’s not like you have a reason not to let me do the nice thing I want to do, you just didn’t let me do it.

Because.

On the other hand, if I want to be a xenophobic, homophobic, anti-semitic, sexist, racist douchebag, I am required to provide:

  • Username
  • Email
  • Password
  • Mobile number (maybe)

I can order things to troll people like glitterbombs for enemies, but I can’t order a game for a friend.

This is where I scratch my head in frustration.

Why are our systems able to so easily allow someone to be awful, but require multiple layers in order to be kind in a specific way to a person or group of people most of the time?

Is this the internet we want?

As much as we say we don’t, this is what we built which amazes me because I imagine most would justify the security walls and such as “We need to prevent evil…”, but in the end we are preventing a great deal of good.

Insult to injury: we’re not even actually preventing evil. Ask Anita Sarkeesian.

Avoiding evil is not helpful if you don’t pair it with actively doing good. Can we work toward an internet that lets me do that?

Doing the Thing

twitch_av_borderless

Here it is. This image is the result of spite. You know what else was the result of spite?

new_icons

As I mentioned, I’ve been put into a (relatively) focused space just out of the pure will to do things just because I want them conquered in front of people that pray I don’t. This journey came with a newly-acquired drill, hammer, tape measure, and an OBS tutorial for streaming on twitch.

It also came with me dusting off a facebook fan page for my gaming venture.

In the wake of that, I had a few conversations with a few special people, but my props this week go to Mark Davidson who is coaching me on the details of branding and online presence stuff. He says the most simple, brilliant things and it’s great. Not to mention his encouragement of just my writing in general.

Bless this man.

Now I have graphics testing and stuff to do along with books to read on logo design which has led me to take on an interesting challenge for reading. I’m going to re-institute that initiative I took last year for reading books and throw a twist into it.

Next thing to conquer are D&D modules. You better be sure to keep your edges on lock for this or I will snatch them all.

Spite

man_file_1048875_spite

While I generally prefer the pure and positive types of motivations for my tasks, I am finding that 2017 is presenting more than a few strong cases for doing good things purely out of spite.

That website my friend needs but his project partners abandoned him on? Watch me build that out of spite.

Those things I want to do for my own life, but I’ve been on-hold waiting for either time or people to help me with? Watch me excel out of pure spite.

 

I really don’t know how to feel about this, but spite is legit about to produce:

  • health
  • D&D modules
  • an extensive travel budget
  • blog content
  • knowledge in another three programming languages
  • a schedule for purchasing groceries
  • finishing my entire stack of comics so I can trade them in
  • finishing these business and design books
  • finishing online design courses

I wish it didn’t. I wish I could live in a world of doing things for myself and for others with a motivation driven purely by the positive, but no good deed goes unpunished, so I’m going to do these things out of spite instead.

Watch me.

Faith and I: Praise Breaks

opened-bible

Lately, as part of things I am going to unfold about myself, faith is going to be one of them because it infuses and informs everything I do. Today, I’m going to talk about one of my favorite things in church: praise breaks.

Imagine being so filled with joy that you are overwhelmed by it.

Just imagine for a moment that you’re in a room of people and all of the emotions and thoughts that are normally a maelstrom all become directed toward the most loving person you know. Now imagine that, in the outpouring of everything about everything, you find yourself lost in that communion.

Imagine being so filled with joy that you are then overwhelmed by it. That it uses you as a conduit into the world. You just move. You don’t even think about it or what it looks like. It feels like not just your own joy, but the joy of multitudes.

It’s disruptive. It pulls you in like a riptide and right out of the world for a few briefs moments. You try to resist it, but the call is too strong. Too enticing. You’ve touched something sacred and now you have its full, undivided attention. Sometimes, other people see that opening in time and space and they join you, too.

It’s like being in love, really; anyone who has felt it will know what you mean, every word fails to describe it properly, and some songs bring you back to that moment instantly.

Tuning Out, Turning Off

image

I’ve been on vacation for four days (it’s April 24th) and have yet to spend an entire one where I haven’t checked on the team for fear the world may have stopped turning.

However, the hours between checks has gotten longer. I felt more disconnected today and that was good. I stepped into the Mediterranean and let it embrace me for a while. I’ve always felt connected to the water no matter what body it has and this was no different.

I’ve thought about what I’ve had time to think about and be on vacation. It’s weird how serious the transformation is:

  • I want to be outside. Around people. Lots of them.
  • I want to explore things and I linger at the end of every moment.
  • I have the energy and will to create things at the same time.
  • I drink more water and generally eat healthier.
  • I’m online in general a lot less even when I can be.

Today, I took a ton of pictures except inside of a small place of prayer because I wanted to spend time with God more than I wanted a picture of the moment.

I wonder what my fifth day will bring me, but I also wonder when I will stop looking back to the world I left behind while I’m gone.