Cliché – different

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My life seems to be all about clichés at the moment, and I am not talking about love, either!

I have just finished half of one of the two courses I had on the go. I have decided the other half of this course will be done next year after I finish the second course of the two mentioned above. Sounds complicated? Uh-huh! Why did I do it? Because I can! Why will I not do it again? Because even if I can it doesn’t mean I should

Due to the two courses on top of my already unquiet life I am tired, as in I am burning the candle at both ends… strike that, I cut the candle and was burning it at four ends

And now that one course is done with I am still in study mode, still waiting for the punch line… surely there is still more I need to do… no? You mean I can just go and crochet?

I was also pondering a few invitations extended but not taken up…you know, they’re just not that into me type of thing, and a few projects that are out of my control so I am just waiting for the grass to grow, really!

There is something comforting about clichés, or so I tell myself in my saner moments. I am not the only one who bit off more than one could chew. In fact, I had things easier than many others.

So I could focus sometimes and realize why my head was all over the place, why I was amping up, why telling myself to chillax would have gotten me exactly nowhere. I knew I was on borrowed time, but also that it would not last forever, that I will get through this in the end!

You see what I mean? Clichés have this thing about being perfectly true at all times, which makes them as frustrating as anything could ever possibly be!

Because the truth is I don’t want to be different – just like everyone else. I want my share of originality. I want to make my contribution off the conveyor belt of everyday life. I want to shine in the dark, not in a glitter pack. I would rather be sodalite on gold foil rather than a diamond in a pavé setting.

It sounds a lot like competition, even though the one I am competing against is myself, striving to do things better and faster and stronger than I used to. The contrast is as sharp as the insights I get into the way I live my life because it has been challenged by others.

In the meantime, my little one tells me I am the best mother in the entire world, the entire forever and the entire universe…. I am happy with that!

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Tokenism

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Think the only woman in a welder’s helmet in a factory – worthy of a news segment.

Think Barak Obama – the first black president of the USA – worthy of many, many news segments!

Think Caitlyn Jenner – on the cover of a famous magazine – and worthy of probably the same number of news segments as the above put together! 🙂

What do they have in common is quite obvious.

They are people.

They are also Other. Different. Unusual.

And tokenism? This doesn’t get too many positive votes, whether on television or anywhere else for that matter. But they are related and there is also some hope, if long term, for change.

Let’s split hairs.

I come from a country that was multicultural with a mono-cultural type of aspirations. Everybody should behave the same way, speak the same language, study the same subjects, be proud of the same things.

I live in a country that is multicultural with a bi-cultural type of aspirations. Everybody can behave this way or that way etc. etc. and if there is a third (or fourth, or fifth…) way then we will find similarities and go from there… towards multiculturalism (probably, in time).

Tokenism is seen as the bad guy in this. Let’s give some (few) of them the pieces of carrot we have no use for and that will keep (all of) them quiet. That is the usual view.

And yet I would argue that tokenism is one of the few honest-to-goodness ways of changing humans. There are “Damascene conversions”, usually following an outstandingly rare important event (or a trauma) which changes people forever. They are just as rare as that outstandingly rare important event or the not-so-rare trauma. They are also not very reliable because you cannot control the direction of the change: yes, the change can be for the better… or not. This type of conversion is very fast however.

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With tokenism you can control the direction of change provided you take a couple of generations to apply it. The results can be visible quickly but have to also be sustained over a longer period of time. Think road signs in two languages or more – of the same mountain for example. They weren’t there before. Now you put them up. Old-timers* scoff and snort and generally ignore or decry the change (and the expense: “why fix something that ain’t broken?”). The old-timers’ children grow up seeing them however and they will ask their teachers (or their parents :P) why the two names – discussion ensues, and a young mind will make the decision very quickly – they will use one name at home and the other name everywhere else. Their children will probably know one name as true and the other one as historical. I will not always bet on which one, but I have hopes 🙂

I would say that tokenism comes from the top down. Damascene conversions usually happen to isolated individuals. Is there no other way? Talking to your neighbour comes to mind…

What do you think?

*Old timers are not always old. Even when they are old, they remain delightfully argumentative. I happen to love several of them 🙂