Sunday, May 31, 2020

Intent of Action

As if dealing with a pandemic wasn't enough, this quarantine has shown me two deaths of black men on camera, a white women utilizing her privilege and false victimhood to attempt to kill a black man, and the numerous hashtags of other black people who were murdered - all streaming and being posted on every social media account.

Like many other black people in America, I am sad, angry, and restless. I am also numb because these stories are not old. I am sad that I can't remember all the names and hashtags. They have been happening for decades, stemmed from over centuries of racism in America. I work tirelessly to provide for the black community that I am a part of in Portland in various volunteer efforts, advocating in my work place, and trying to create awareness / empathy for a white culture that doesn't seem to understand unless a murder of a black body is being televised in their face. And, even then - folks still question "what that black man did" as if it justifies being killed in the streets by someone whose job is to protect/serve.

While I am very empathetic to the protesting and share the anger that has occurred across the United States, I have an unpopular opinion... I am angry over the protesting in Portland. Portland is less than 6% black, so when I see the protesting and crowds of people out there, I know (and based on photos - I can see) that half of the fires being set, buildings being broken into, and looting occurring is not being done by the black community. White opportunists and "allies" are behind the havoc from Friday/Saturday night. They are hijacking the movement, the intent, and enforcing stereotypes. I am over it and I want it to stop. It also doesn't make sense. We had several cases of police brutality in Portland (including my peer from high school) and I never saw Portland fight like this. We should have been upset about our local government's inefficiencies years ago, not now... it's misguided and without a leader. I question the intent and who is actually doing the harm.

I also want the social media posts to stop. Growing up in Portland, I have met a lot of good people and a lot of bad people, both brown and white. I appreciate my white friends who attempt to utilize their privilege and question the white status quo that is in our office places, restaurants, and city. However, I am irritated by the constant stream of violent videos that desensitize us to black bodies being murdered, the posts on how "woke" and how great of an "ally" you are as a white person. My question is - where were you the other 364 days of the year when no one was speaking up for injustice? Where were you when the equity policies / discussions in your workplace were "uncomfortable" and "inconvenient"? Where were you when black organizations needed support for the work that they do everyday? That's when you need to show up. Posting on your facebook and instagram is nothing. Keep donating. Keep caring, but show up the rest of the year. Your care shouldn't be instigated because everyone else is doing it and to be frank - a lot of folks are posting out of white guilt and the fear of being considered racist if they don't post something.

A piece I made in 2010 that is still just as relevant today. I was 17 years old and
understood exactly what police officers meant to the black community. 

The inside showing faux nooses, blood, and the attempt at footage of violence being done by
police with old pictures from the 1960's. 

Sunday, May 24, 2020

Restless Quarantine

Hard to believe it's been more than two months since I was in the office. The adjustment of working from home and being in quarantine for this long has been an emotional rollercoaster. I tend to value myself based on productivity/actions, so with nothing but time, I began quarantine frantically trying to get as much done as I could. I think I honestly thought things would go back to normal shortly. I'm now in a more relaxed mood, and finally realizing that things aren't going back to the old routine for quite a while - and that maybe its not a bad thing. I'm getting things done I've been procrastinating for years and going back to old hobbies that are fulfilling me just as much as they did when I was younger. I'm also working harder to stay connected with friends because the skill of socializing is something I gained with practice and its far too easy to go back to my naturally introverted ways.

I'm also happy to report that my volunteer affiliations have transitioned to some virtual efforts. I was on two panels for NSBE outreach (with more events scheduled in the next few weeks - follow @nspbepropdx), been hosting semi weekly virtual check in meetings with the City African American Network, and completed a shoebox float for Good n' the Hood's participation in the Portland Rose Festival's Grand Petite Parade. There is so much creativity in how folks are staying connected during this time and I'm so impressed with everyone - no matter the situation, we still continue to provide outlets for the community.

I've completed a slough of projects around the house, crafted a lot, and implemented some changes to my diet / health. Some of my projects included:

  • Started my garden / had extreme trimming done on my trees
  • Started running - I can now run 5 miles and have been running a few times a week
  • Organized my garage / art room 
  • Ramped up online sales with ebay, etsy, etc.
  • CRAFTING - jewelry with mom, virtual crafternoon with my engineering ladies from work, paint night with my guy, and lots of weaving on my own 
  • Lots of cooking - bulgogi, smothered pork chops, almond flour pizzas, etc.
  • Started and ended a keto diet - lost most of the quarantine weight I gained in the first month and am now actively watching carb/sugar intake
  • Removing old carpet / painting my guy's attic room, so he could lay laminate - looks great!
  • Painted my room and replaced/stained new baseboards/crown molding
  • Scheduled new windows to be installed next month
  • Read over 10 books since quarantine began 
  • Intentional connection with friends - Zoom, Skype, Teams, etc. 
  • Finished a puzzle
  • Reupholstered my mid century dining table chairs
  • Started playing the piano again - remastering old pieces and am continuing to be amazed with how reliable my muscle memory is
  • Oh, and my dearest cat Ludwig now has an instagram, ha!  @acatnamedludwig

While I really want to get back to the office and my usual pace with work, I am beginning to appreciate the newfound balance and forced reset in how I spend my time. Goals I hoped to accomplish the year are likely delayed. Travels I planned are definitely delayed. But - all in all, I feel incredibly lucky to work from home and have my family in good health during this time. :) 

My latest woven piece - tried to step outside of my comfort zone with some color!

The Good n' The Hood shoebox float I worked on with my fellow parade co-chair
Rocky the Cat showing his favorite pose by my puzzle - he gets excited when packages are delivered!

Some bottle cap collage magnets I made. I used to make these when I was about 11 years old :) 

Easter/Mother's Day and lots of birthdays via quarantine. This bouquet
shows how well the garden has been blossoming