We're twenty days into 2017 and I can't believe how much change has happened in my life. I've started a new relationship. I've had a young rabbit turn up, which I looked after for a couple of weeks before finding another home for him. My boarder has moved out after four years, so I have my house to myself again, and I've created a whole new "chill-out" space with the extra room.
My new cosy nook — a work in progress
Conflict — it's easy to avoid. In fact, we often do anything we can to avoid it (well, I do). Often that means not doing anything.
Within the last 24 hours I was involved in a conflict situation with a colleague. I won't go into the detail — it's irrevelent. But the process the two of us went through — an action, a reaction by me that created conflict and then a conversation to come to a resolution — reminded me that, even though it is acutely uncomfortable, when handled constructively, conflict can have truly positive outcome.
Last week I blogged about my purpose. I said I felt purposeless, and wondered if being purposeless was, in fact, my purpose for now.
I've changed my mind. I wonder if surrendering my purpose was part of rediscovering it. I also wonder if my parents bringing a whole lot of newspaper clipping from when I was born has helped me remember.
I've been saying to people lately, "I feel like I'm living someone else's life." Do you ever feel like that? If you do, you'll know how unsettling it is. My attempts at working out what's going on have been in the main unsuccessful, but I have a few theories.
I wonder if it's my age – a mid-life crisis perhaps. After all, I do turn 50 next year. But I have no compunction to buy a red sports car.
It has been a week since the car accident and I've been surprised how much it has affected me. Someone said on Facebook to look after myself, and I didn't really pay much attention.
But I have had to give myself a bit of TLC. I've found myself playing the accident over in my head, so I've had to remind myself not to retraumatise myself (the brain doesn't realise the difference between an actual event and a memory).
Yesterday I was involved in a three- or four-car accident on the north-western motorway. I was on the way to a shoot for a new It's Not OK anti-domestic violence commercial. I didn't make it to the shoot.
As I've been thinking about uncertainty a lot the past few weeks, it felt a bit divine to have such a stark experience of uncertainty meet me me head-on (luckily, not literally). But, in fact, the accident could have been really serious, especially for the young guy who caused it — he walked away unscathed despite his car being totalled after careering across three lanes of traffic twice and ending up plowed into the median barrier facing the wrong way. No one else was injured, including Sam and me.
At Be. Leadership last weekend, Joe Macdonald from Affinity Services' Rainbow Community Liaison and Training Team spoke about a trend they have seen in younger people identifying as genderfluid and/or pansexual, rather than male/female/transgender and/or gay/bi/straight. I asked Joe what dials they thought were being turned to encourage/enable this change.
Joe's answer was that there seemed to be a change in the meaning of ambiguity. Whereas previously "ambiguous" may have been seen as a synonym for "confused", now, perhaps, young people are choosing ambiguity as a clear identity — in other words, people are clear that their gender and sexual identity, as well as their preference and orientation, are, indeed, unclear and undefined.
There's a lot of talk about addiction these days: to drugs, alcohol, sex, porn, coffee, food, cigarettes. You name it, if it makes you feel good, you're addicted.
But here's a couple of other addictive "circumstances" we don't talk about: certainty and knowing. If there are a couple of things we all crave for, it's assurance and understanding.
Following on from my last post about rebranding, I’ve also changed how I describe myself or, more accurately, my experience. I talk about "my paradoxical experience as a queer, caucasian, cisgender man with unique function (disability).”
Even doing this is paradoxical, given I argued the point in 2012 at TEDxAuckland that we need to decay labels to reveal diversity. But I’m doing it to explain a phenomenon of power, privilege and paradox, rather than to label myself.
Power and privilege have long been part of the politics of diversity and discrimination. Recently I heard another diversity expert, Leslie Hawthorne, encourage those with privilege to raise awareness of it by, for example, not using the word “lame" to describe something that is bad or stupid, because you are implying that people who can’t walk are bad or stupid*.
This time last week I wrote a fairly candid post about the Government's Youth Mental Health Social Media Innovations Fund, in particularly Lifehack, the "sustainable technology solution to combat New Zealand’s youth mental illness problems". Today I met with them.
I won't go into the content of the meeting. That would be, at best, tedious for you and, at worst, onerous for me. But I will share my reflection on the "launch >blog > tweet, tweet, tweet > email > meet" process of the last week.
Firstly, we disagreed and allowed the disagreement. I've blogged before that I believe that where communities struggle with diversity is in their need to hear or to speak with one voice and that they need to decay agreement.