Stress? Take Action!
It’s not like you have a ton of homework to write or grade (or maybe you like me do!)…
or a snake got loose in your house… (also like at my house this morning!),
but regardless, what good is stressing about it going to do?
As Yoda says, there is no try, only do.
So each day when I feel the stress and the anxiety rise, I calmly assess what I am doing and how and do my best with the least amount of stress as possible. I also recognize that I may have unrealiztc expectations about what I can accomplish in a limited amount of time. I make a cup of tea, I make a cup of coffee, and I get to work.
Maybe the video above by Prince EA will help you. It’s worth a watch. In it, he reminds us that stress is in our minds.
Or maybe the idea below that everybody is good, even you!, but some of us are very confused or we get confused.
Sometimes that confusion comes from stress.
Sometimes it is because of recreational drugs or other forms of substance abuse.
Sometimes is is the way that we are raised– our families, our friends, the media can all influence us to be stressed, to be confused, to not be good.
Justin Simien is author and director of Dear White People, “a satire about being a black face in a white place, follows four black students at the mostly white Winchester University. Hailed as a “smart hilarious satire of the Obama age” by IndieWire and a “word of mouth Dynamo” by the Wallstreet Journal, Dear White People picked up the Special Jury Award for “Breakthrough Talent” at the Sundance Film Festival, as well as the Best Picture audience award at the San Francisco International Festival. ”
In an interview Sunday 10-12-14 with the LA Times, Simien says,
“I want people to walk away thinking about their own identities.”
This semester, my students and I have read a number of diverse voices and perspectives. Last week they started reading their book club books and I asked them to consider the ways that inequality are factors in these books. I was surprised that they had such a difficult time. But as my friend Elaine Brown pointed out, it’s hard to recognize what we’re normalized towards. Because we see discrimination all the time, we think it is normal, normal is what we’re used to, and normal is okay.
But “normal” is not okay.
For example, celebrating “Christopher Columbus Day,” which is today, is considered “normal” in most of the US. If you wonder what the big deal is, check out this Oatmeal post that clearly explains some of the issues with Christopher Columbus Day.
To start, most educated people knew that the earth was round. Not such a big deal. But when you dig deeper into, you see how Columbus’s greed led to genocide, slave trade, and sexual abuse. Calling it Indigenous People’s Day, like Seattle is doing, might be a start.
Like Simien, I’m trying to get my students to not just see the readings and their books in a new way but their own lives as well. It’s important work they are doing–and not easy. I give them credit for even making the effort to do so and to articulate the process.
Today they will be writing an in-class essay about reading they have done and inequality which I hope they will post on their blog for Blog Action Day. Sign up here.
Blog Action Day will be held on October 16, 2014 and will focus on the topic Inequality. Sign up to list your blog in our official participants page. Tags for this year are #BAD2014 #Blogaction14, #Inequality, #Oct16
Why did we do this reading? Why did we spend so much time this semester hearing each others’ stories and learning about each other on the page and in our midst?
In part because I think it is important that we all think about our identities. Not to stress about them, but in order to step up and be the best humans we can be and to be careful stewards of each other and the planet. To stop being confused, but to know how we should be good. To change.
Elaine also shared with me this quote: “Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.” George Bernard Shaw