Thursday, September 03, 2020

Take Care

When Thistle laid her first egg, I was fortunate enough to be checking in. I wrote all about that. You guys, the days blend and blur, and so do my thoughts and memory. Also, I just feel fascinated, even riveted, by all of it... chickens and eggs, and sitting with birds, talking to goats.

On FB a friend is asking for examples of a boring fact about yourself. I joked, I thought of so many boring facts about myself, that I dozed off. Only, to be honest, it's not a joke.

Where was I? Oh, yes... Thistle lays blue eggs! And, Lucia is laying sage green eggs, and the large, pale green egg is from Trillian. Some boring facts about me, I am naming hens, and keeping tabs of the eggs they lay, colors, and sizes. More boring facts about me, I blog all about my chickens, their names, their eggs, their star signs, and pastimes.

Another boring fact about me, I used to think it was funny to tease and joke about people's hobbies and tastes. Being cynical, mocking, is easy, but it's not creatve, and often not kind. It's rarely even actually funny. Good satire takes some tact, intellect. I wish I'd understood, much sooner, how that kind of humor is less imaginative, caring, and a poorer reflection on me, than on what I was criticizing. That was super judgey, and I'm not proud of that. I think it came from examples around me, from practicing defense through offense, and my own lack of self-worth. I still struggle around being comfortable liking what I like, because what will other people think? That's not healthy, and the practice of denouncing or supressing myself, or others, is boring. I won't pretend to share equal interest in what everyone is in to, but I've learned to respect and appreciate that there are countless hobbies, styles, amusements, tastes, and their worth is not for me to decide. For sure, if someone is racist, misognistic, or anything unkind, I will judge hard, critically... otherwise, you do you, is good enough for me.

There has been enough food coming out of the garden to supplement our groceries, and to share. I've enjoyed packing up produce, to give to friends. And then, look! Carol came over with these, from her wonderful garden! And she brought me bulbs, too. I am working on a special spot in the front yard, where I hope the bulbs will be very happy. Carol's gifts were just the inspiration I needed to keep me inside, cleaning. I made some great headway organizing and clearing up in the kitchen, including getting those hundreds of bottle caps safely stowed away. I almost have three different subjects in this paragraph, but it all ties together, because gardens yield all sorts of happiness, including food, beauty, community, and inspiration.

Bottle cap collection: Definitely, not boring.

Yesterday, there was at least one news headline that so appalled me, I burst into ugly tears, and dissolved into a sense of absolute dismay. I could refrain from saying anything about this, but I won't. I think 45 is literally, figuratively, sensationally, openly, deceptively, criminally, destryoing this country, and inciting a basketful of deplorables to execute his mission. Take care. I wish more people would speak out, speak up, take notice, care. I wish "undedcided" people would set aside partisanship, and realize that this has gone way beyond mere political views. Everyone should be genuinely alarmed. Our rights, our democracy, even our freedom to disagree is not guaranteed, and we are at risk of losing more than can be easily recovered.

Periodically, I reflect on the significance of social media, on our use of it, as producers, as consumers. I wonder how it is changing our views, our culture and practices. I think about my own blog, my Instagram account. Who am I reaching? Do my ideas matter? I strive for sincerity, to be genuine, to check facts, to be kind, to listen, and to be willing to learn and change. One belief I have is that I am not influential. Statistically, this is proven... not many people visit this blog, follow me on IG. This is not to say that I don't recognize and appreciate the readers I know about, the friendships I've made, the benefits I enjoy. But, I also stare at the ceiling and ask, Why do I bother? Why do I support BLM in posts, link to other creatives, makers, artists, writers, activists? Why am I sharing my worst fears, greatest hopes, chicken selfies, embarrassments, struggles, points of view? Before social media, I would have kept all of this in a scrap book, a journal. Before social media I would not have known how many people still think that "racism is a thing of the past," or that "all doctors are conspiring to make us sick, because they don't care," that there's "no difference between Joe Biden and 45." Frankly, it really is rather soul crushing to read the over addled ramblings of conspiracists, and fear mongers, of people who imagine that extreme skepticism is an equivalent of critical thinking and rational thought, that we are all experts. News flash... there are experts, educated and caring people, and they are not interchangeable with self-ascribed prophets and Qheads. Of all times, in 18 years of observing and participating in socia media, I see this as a crossroads, as a highly significant and critical point, when we may be subject to the worst possible effects and consequences of misonformation, of hate, of conspiracy, of lies, of corruption, and all of it is spreading at the push of a button.

I don't know what to do. I don't know that it matters... in a way that can help.

I Just left my desk to go and check the hens, again, and I found three brown eggs. The smallest is from Maya, the medium is from Ventura, and the large, darker one is from Emma Thompson. Should I share a picture?


Kate said...

Hi Natalie, I've pulled away from social media in the past week. It's just too much. I want to yell from my little rooftop about how bad the misinformation is and how we all need to be aware, there is SO much at stake. How can people not understand that fact? Then I see friends getting picked off one by one by conspiracy theories - anti-maskers, anti-vaccination, anti-science... Sigh. Thank you for putting how I'm feeling into words. We may not be influential, but at least we might reach a few folks floating in rough seas and act as lighthouses.

Natalie, the Chickenblogger said...

Smart you, Katie, for pulling away. I thought I was doing the same, but all it took was that headline. My God.
Thank you for sharing your thoughts, and observations. And thank you for being a lighthouse for me!
Before the last election, in 2016, I was posting and sounding alarms, and so many people laughed or patted my head, told me to calm down, and I regret that I didn't go with my instincts. Now I am doubly, triply, astonished at how few people are speaking up. It's not hyperbole nor a personal agenda to say, "This is a crisis." These are rough seas, indeed.

Janece said...

Natalie, you are not alone in this feeling, and like Katie said - there is a value (and comfort) in knowing we aren't alone and that other people are trying to process how to be and what to do as well. It's been a particularly emotional morning here in the Moment home too... I mean, every morning... you get me.

I do think our voices matter... even if we perceive them to be heard by only a few. One interesting facet of social media and blogging - is that we cannot know when, where, or how our voice will end up on someone's phone, tablet, or laptop. Our voice may not be the only one and may one of a choir of voices that provides the impetus for soul-searching and change... or inspiration for another committed but discouraged voice... or is simply a light in the darkness because that's what's needed.

Our social media support of BLM... our likes, shares and links back provide them a sense of not being alone or unheard, of being supported, and that we, all us everday people, have their back. And, I've seen how you support, Natalie. Your voice is a beautiful one filled with kindness and heart. I find encouragement from your words when I see them out in the IG wild. I know I'm not alone.

Also needed... self-care, rest, and rejuvenation. One of the other small voices will not be silent while you maintain and nourish your mental and physical health.

Sending love and a big virtual hug.

Natalie, the Chickenblogger said...

I am relieved to know people who are concerned, and I am thankful for the support and empathy you are sharing. AND... I am trying super hard not to scream, "But his approval rating?!?!" It's just so gutting to see post after post of... never mind.
Should I add my next level concern? He setting up the case for him to "win" or if he loses, to instigate a civil war, anarchy from his fevered base. I want to be wrong.