Hello Internet, and happy New Year! I just returned from freezing-cold Vermont and my second-to-last residency. I have a slightly heavy post planned about ableism in academia, particularly in progressive programs such as mine which work hard to be inclusive and whose students sometimes miss the mark. It’ll be all about “good intentions” versus actual impact, microaggressions, and how “judgment free” spaces can create permission for people to say unoriginal and problematic things. It’ll be mad fun, I promise. I can tell you’re excited!
Meanwhile, though, I thought I’d offer a few new year intentions and see how everyone else is welcoming in 2018. I know resolutions aren’t cool any more. Now, the general idea seems to be that making resolutions puts undo pressure on us when we are just trying to do the best we can. I affirm this, and no judgment here if you don’t make them. But I do have a few things I’d like to work on this year, and here they are, in no particular order:
I want to love something enough to stick with it. I want to love something so much that I am basically forced to stick with it. I’d like, even, to become a little obsessed. I think part of my downfall in this area is that I like to do a lot of things and try a lot of things: yoga, pole dancing, rock climbing, improv, different types of essay writing and poetry, recorder playing, canning, bread making, essential oil blending, etc etc blah blah blah. Yet, I feel somewhat unfulfilled by quantity. I don’t think I’ll ever quell my desire to always learn and dabble in new things, but I’d love to find something that I can really sink into.
I’ve also decided that I am no longer going to ask my friends and partners to bear the burden of inaccessibility when it comes particularly to agency and organizational incompetence. I don’t know how many times I’ve been asked to fill out paperwork, be it at work or at a doctor’s office, that is inaccessible. And therefore an employee will say, “Don’t you have a sighted person who can help?” I usually do, technically, but I am tired of always asking. I am tired of waiting for someone else to be able to help. Even if it takes the organization longer or someone working there has to assist me, I will insist on that. It is their job. They are getting
paid. My loved ones are not getting paid, and I have better things to do with them than paperwork.
Finally, I want to work on being gentler with myself. I renew this every few years, which is a bit frustrating. I’d like to just get it right already, but people don’t work that way. Things finally came to a head when a writer in a workshop told me that the discrepancy between the slack I cut for everyone else and the standards I hold myself to in my writing often verge on painful. Yikes. I know I am hardest on myself. I am hard on others too, certainly, but I save the worst for me. As cliched as it sounds, the first step is probably to recognize that.
I hope you all are having a good start to the year. Tell me what you have in store for 2018!