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robertogreco : introspection   11

Sam Dylan Finch 🍓 on Twitter: "This is going to be a messy thread, but a long overdue one. I want to share how my relationship to social justice/online communities has shifted in the last few years. It will probably be incomplete bc I could write a boo
“This is going to be a messy thread, but a long overdue one.

I want to share how my relationship to social justice/online communities has shifted in the last few years.

It will probably be incomplete bc I could write a book on this, but… here are some thoughts.

Something you should know about me, as context… I started out as a blogger, but a lot of my readership was built out from previously working as a staff member at Everyday Feminism.

My experiences with EF years ago really informed a lot of my politics, for better and for worse.

At the time that I worked with EF, there was a lot of groundwork being laid out in the digital space. We were looking to help people understand institutions of power, but in a very accessible, digestible way. A lot of what we managed to create, I’m still so proud of.

I can only speak for myself, but after a few years of being enmeshed in that work, I noticed that I was just primed to look for what was problematic. I was primed to look for it because that was my job — this was how we made sure our content was strong and inclusive.

And yes, there is a whole lot out there that is “problematic.” It’s important to identify it, unpack it, and do better. But it started to impact how I interacted with people online and in the real world, and it started to impact how I felt about, well, being alive, generally.

I started to feel like I just lived in this desolate space of expecting the worst from everything and everyone. And I internalized that, too, and had this constant nagging feeling that I was never doing enough, or I was always just one step away from totally fucking up.

And I became really unforgiving toward other people, too. I wasn’t very good at holding space for other people to mess up. I was projecting shit onto other people’s tweets and articles that, when I look back, was really just twisting words to confirm how I felt about the world.

I think, from a trauma place, I became hypervigilant. The same way I was hypervigilant in an abusive household, trying to make sure I did everything right, and mentally logging the inconsistencies of people around me, because I would need it to defend myself later. You know?

I don’t know how else to explain it, except to say that my depression collided with my values, and suddenly I was spiraling this drain of moralistic perfectionism. Which is easy to do when you’re moderating Everyday Feminism’s comments, which was an endless sea of semantics.

And ultimately, it wasn’t really about social justice anymore. It wasn’t about a better world. It wasn’t about showing up as the best version of myself, either. It was all of this anxiety and trauma and ego that gave me this false sense that I was doing things “right.”

I was back-doored out of Everyday Feminism. Its leadership… was not ethical, to say the least. On my way to the psych hospital, I was called and told that if I stepped down from my role, they would find another role for me that was a “better fit” for where I was emotionally.

I had been having this nervous breakdown and my boss calls me to pressure me into giving up my role. “But you have to decide right now,” she told me, “so I can put up the posting for your role while you’re away.”

I trusted her, which was a mistake. There was no job for me after.

I almost lost everything after that. I couldn’t collect unemployment because I’d “stepped down” of my own accord. I almost lost my housing. And I struggled to make sense of how we could talk about social justice, and yet… something this underhanded and callous could happen.

I was lucky to take a job at Upworthy after that. And I had so many reservations about it, because the optimistic tone was so at odds with where I was post-breakdown. But it turned out to be a saving grace, even with all of its own problems.

Every day, I had to write stories about what people were doing right in this world. Every day, I had to humanize people I wouldn’t have normally given the time of day to. Every single day, I had to reconsider how I looked at other people and the world around me.

Around the same time, I also started going to an LGBTQ+ only meeting of Alcoholics’ Anonymous. And it completely transformed how I thought about social justice, accountability, and community.

It was in that space that I realized we could be fully human, and messy, and messed up — and we could hold that for each other. Instead of “only impact matters,” we said “progress over perfection.” Instead of “cancelling” each other, we talked about HOW to make amends.

We created a sense of unconditional belonging and learned how to humanize one another, even in someone’s most vulnerable, dark, and frightening moment.

I had never been in a space where I felt so safe, unconditionally cared for, and supported. And it felt like such a stark contract to the environment I had been in, where pain and politics became their own kind of capital, just… in a microcosmic way.

There are shitty people who will look at what I’m saying and remark, “See, this is why ‘social justice’ is a bunch of shit.” And that’s not what I’m saying.

What I’m saying is that the people in these communities are just as human and fallible as the rest of us.

I had to do a lot of soul-searching. Because as much time and energy as I invested in educating myself, where were the results? I became really good at talking a good talk. But how was I treating other people? How was I showing up?

Social justice resources gave me the knowledge to recognize power structures and learn to start divesting from them.

But social justice didn’t teach me how to treat people in my own community with dignity and care and kindness. All the theory in the world won’t teach you that.

Because dignity and care and kindness have to come from a genuinely loving place. And if you become too absorbed in righteousness & despair, and you don’t balance it with the healing work that allows you to love on your people and see THAT as truly radical… you lose yourself.

I think after a certain point, I became completely burnt out. I forgot how to be in community with other people in a loving way. I forgot how to be gracious. I forgot how to parse out all the nuances that allow us to see someone fuck up and still see them as human.

And I made a conscious decision that I never wanted to be the kind of person who couldn’t still humanize others. Who was too exhausted to be kind anymore. Who was too self-righteous to consider grace. Who thought joy was just naive or frivolous. That’s not who I am.

I will mess up. That’s the truth of it. But at least now, when I do mess up, I know that I’ll have the humility to learn from it, the integrity to own up to it for the right reasons, and the willingness to make amends instead of performative apologies.

And when I find myself spiraling and not able to really see the person in front of me… I’m learning when to step back and work on my own shit. When I’m quick to react, I know how to unravel what I’VE brought to the table.

I share all this because I’ve had enough conversations offline to know that I’m not the only person who’s wrestled with this.

And I want you to know that if the values you expect yourself to have are compromising the values you want to embody, you can press pause.

Because movement burnout, even online (!!), is a thing. Compassion fatigue is a thing. Self-righteousness and ego, even when we feel like we have the best of intentions, are also a thing. Reenacting trauma is a thing.

These. Are. All. Valid. Things. That. Require. INTROSPECTION.

At the end of the day, theory can only take us so far. There’s an entire emotional dimension that we still have to connect with and move from. And if you’re going through cycles of hypervigilance and dissociation, because the stakes always feel incredibly high, it can fuck w you.

I want you think on this the next time you are going in for the “ratio.” The next time you’re ready to tear into a trans woman on Twitter. And… the next time you’re questioning if it’s okay to feel joy, to pause, to breathe, to take care of yourself, to unplug.

If you can’t give yourself permission to be human, and you can’t extend that to other people, it’s a good time to check in with yourself.

There’s a time and a place for righteousness and taking folks to task. But righteousness is a season. Rest is one, too.”
samdylanfinch  socialjustice  activism  online  communities  web  2019  burnout  humility  trauma  mentalhealth  righteousness  compassion  humanism  kindness  vulnerability  isolation  politics  work  labor  life  living  perfectionism  purity  morality  moralismethics  messiness  humans  belonging  safety  growth  fallibility  power  dignity  care  caring  emotionallabor  despair  fatigue  self-righteousness  introspection  dissociation 
september 2019 by robertogreco
The All and Nothing of Teaching | Diana Senechal
"This part strikes me as presumptuous. Yes, it is true that teachers who look inward are better equipped to solve daily problems than those who do not. But he assumes that it is the defective teachers who criticize the conditions and larger picture, whereas the effective teachers function well “under even under the most debilitating conditions of work” (as he says just a little later). He assumes, from the start, that the teacher who feels stress is deficient in some way. He states outright that teaching conditions simply are what they are and that good teachers work within them. He assumes that if you examine yourself and face your anger effectively, the stress of teaching will not take a toll. He disregards the possibility that introspection of this kind can make your work even more taxing, as you end up pondering problems, humbling yourself, admitting to your faults (even when they involved no “impulsive negative behavior” or anything close) and thinking about your work all around the clock.

But even those are not my main objection. Running through his argument is an assumption that teachers deserve nothing but must give fully of themselves. He does not consider that you can be a highly dedicated teacher, you can love your work, yet you might ask at some point, “when do I get to live as myself again?”

I have never had a job that I loved as deeply as teaching. Yet as a teacher I miss some basic things sorely. One of these is friendship. Over time, it has become more and more difficult to get together with friends; I almost always have something due the next day, have my mind on school, and can’t handle the complex process of finding a time to meet. (In New York City, it is not uncommon to make a phone appointment for the purpose of setting a time to get together: “Give me a call next Thursday, and then we can work out a plan.”) From my perspective, I have made many efforts to stay in touch, but the very problem lies in that phrase “staying in touch.” Friendship has a rhythm. Once the rhythm is broken down, it can be difficult to revive.

Friendships within the school are guarded and limited. Some colleagues may be potential friends, but you are usually in too much of a rush to say more than a quick hello. Students cannot be your friends; in fact, your responsibility is to build respectful and bounded rapport with them within the work you undertake together. As for parents, you may feel affinity toward them, but there’s a boundary, for understandable reasons.

I also miss the freedom of expression and reception that I had before becoming a teacher. I didn’t have to worry about what would happen if students came upon my writing and music (or, for that matter, favorite books and records). There’s no offensive material in there, but it hasn’t been pre-screened for teenagers, either. As a teacher, I have come to pre-screen everything I say and do, sometimes without realizing it. I rarely read a book that I am not planning to include in a lesson. I miss reading Philip Roth, for instance, or watching Godard films.

On the other hand, there are things I could not have done except as a teacher. CONTRARIWISE may be the most rewarding project of my life. I see the students taking off with it, defining it, making it more than I originally imagined, yet I help see this through and work on it day after day. The philosophy teaching itself has been an extraordinary experience: writing a curriculum, putting it into practice, dealing with many challenges, and seeing it take shape and grow in meaning. The Philosophy Roundtables have been delightful and moving. The last one (about the philosophy of humor) was one of my favorites, but each one carries a distinct memory.

So, there are no regrets, and I am in no rush, but I am starting to look beyond teaching. No situation is perfect, but certain combinations work better than others. This has nothing to do with bitterness, frustration, or inability to reach goals. It has more to do with wanting to do certain things that don’t fit in the teaching persona. What Haberman fails to acknowledge is that this persona cloaks a life; the thicker the introspection, the greater the weight of the cloth."
teachers  teaching  dianasenechal  friendship  2014  self  expression  self-expression  selflessness  burnout  introspection  self-care 
january 2015 by robertogreco
An Introverted Boy Against An Army of Label Makers | A.T. | Cleveland
"I certainly still lie awake some nights worrying that I am in denial, that Simon has some gross deficiency not yet identified, and I am did him great a disservice. I worry constantly that I should limit his reading and solitary time and push him into sports and classes and social activities. But just when I am about to write that check for ice hockey classes I touch base with my instinctive sense of my son, this imaginative, overly verbose happy creature, and decide not to risk ironing out his uniqueness.  Until we can figure out more creative ways to educate and encourage introspective boys who are neither high achievers nor troublemakers—boys “in the middle,” like Simon–I will keep holding my ground, my breath and my tongue, and shoo away the well-intentioned label makers who cross our path."
males  boys  academics  introspection  nclb  productivity  howwelearn  unstructured  creativity  specialized  learningdisabilities  slowprocessing  add  dysgraphia  dyslexia  adhd  overdiagnosis  autism  schooliness  schools  learningdifferences  learning  parenting  education  teaching  introverts  susancain  2012  annetrubek  shrequest1 
february 2012 by robertogreco
Digital Ethnography: Subjects or Subjectivites?
"As an alternative to the idea that we teach “subjects,” I’ve been playing with the idea that what we really teach are “subjectivities”: ways of approaching, understanding, and interacting with the world. Subjectivities cannot be “taught” – only practiced. They involve an introspective intellectual throw-down in the minds of students. Learning a new subjectivity is often painful because it almost always involves what psychologist Thomas Szasz referred to as “an injury to one’s self-esteem.” You have to unlearn perspectives that may have become central to your sense of self…

So here’s my question to everybody: Within your own particular field, is there a particular “subjectivity,” perspective, or way of seeing and interacting with the world that you are trying to inspire in your students? In your mind, is this perspective more important than the “content” or “subject-matter” of the course?"

[via: http://bettyann.tumblr.com/post/17206962390 ]
content  teaching  waysofseeing  introspection  classideas  tcsnmy  deschooling  unschooling  understanding  self-image  senseofself  self-esteem  inquiry  unlearning  thomasszasz  perspective  perspectives  self-awareness  learning  2011  subjectivities  subjects  michaelwesch 
february 2012 by robertogreco
Borderland » A Good Day
"So my focus in the classroom has lately shifted from teaching practice to thinking about more interesting things, like human consciousness (my own, mainly) as I ask myself all day long, day after day, What the fuck am I doing now? And why? This is not really such a bad thing. The upside of it is that I spend way less energy worrying about curriculum and method, and more time watching my own interactions with the kids, trying to be as helpful and even-handed as I can be. It occurs to me that if a person was looking for a working model of resistance to reform, they really ought to spend a few weeks managing a sixth-grade classroom. It’s a test. Every day."
teaching  dougnoon  2011  noticing  humanconsciousness  consciousness  perspective  howweteach  observation  introspection  whatmatters  cv  bestpractices 
december 2011 by robertogreco
The American Scholar: The Disadvantages of an Elite Education - William Deresiewicz
"Being an intellectual begins with thinking your way outside of your assumptions and the system that enforces them. But students who get into elite schools are precisely the ones who have best learned to work within the system, so it’s almost impossible for them to see outside it, to see that it’s even there."

"What happens when busyness & sociability leave no room for solitude? The ability to engage in introspection…is the essential precondition for living an intellectual life, and the essential precondition for introspection is solitude…one of them said, with a dawning sense of self-awareness, “So are you saying that we’re all just, like, really excellent sheep?” Well, I don’t know. But I do know that the life of the mind is lived one mind at a time: one solitary, skeptical, resistant mind at a time. The best place to cultivate it is not within an educational system whose real purpose is to reproduce the class system."

Also here http://www.laphamsquarterly.org/voices-in-time/william-deresiewicz-trims-the-ivy.php?page=all in this issue: http://www.laphamsquarterly.org/magazine/ways-of-learning.php ]
williamderesiewicz  2008  via:jeeves  highered  highereducation  learning  unschooling  deschooling  liberalarts  class  perpetuation  criticalthinking  skepticism  resistance  institutions  intellectualism  introspection  solitude  cv  self-awareness  conformism  elites  power  control  racetonowhere  purpose  vision  education  colleges  universities  lapham'squarterly 
november 2011 by robertogreco
AIGA | Video: Jonathan Harris [Cold + Bold]
"Combining elements of computer science, architecture, statistics, storytelling and design, Jonathan Harris’s online projects create large-scale living portraits of the human world—portraits that both simplify and complicate our understanding of it. Jonathan discusses his recent work and poses intriguing questions about what kind of space the digital world is becoming and what that world is doing to us as individuals."

[I find myself on a Jonathan Harris binge about once a year. This time sparked by an article: http://designmind.frogdesign.com/articles/the-never-ending-story.html . Hadn't seen this video before.]

[The passage he reads in the video was originally posted here: http://www.number27.org/today.php?d=20100319 ]
design  art  jonathanharris  storytelling  coding  coldness  2010  thewhy  purpose  meaning  meaningfulness  human  digital  life  empathy  programming  depression  glvo  relationships  feelings  emotions  rationality  determinism  problemsolving  detachment  expression  web  internet  abstraction  humanity  control  learning  resistance  resistanceofthemedium  process  cold+bold  identity  individuality  diversity  outcomes  scale  sociopaths  jaronlanier  culture  behavior  introspection  self-reflection  time  computation  howwework 
august 2011 by robertogreco
New Statesman - The Perfumier and the Stinkhorn
"The naturalist Richard Mabey’s latest book shows how human beings best find health and pleasure not by looking within, but by immersing themselves in the world of which they are an integral part."
science  books  nature  humanism  evolutionarypsychology  romanticism  johngray  richardmabey  introspection  world  context  identity  health  pleasure  human  humans  environment 
may 2011 by robertogreco
Everyone Forever / Literature / Too much detail
"As a child, I used to get stuck in feedback loops thinking about what i was thinking about, setting up my pechant for introspective books about acts of seeing and reading."
books  introspection  observation  detail 
october 2007 by robertogreco
The Musty Man - Hating America
"An aversion to whitehats and fast food might be a reason to leave the country, but it's no reason to bash it."
travel  psychology  society  us  politics  economics  world  international  perspective  learning  education  consumerism  culture  poverty  geography  global  human  tourism  introspection  reentry  nationalism  patriotism  familiarity  luxury 
august 2006 by robertogreco

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