Welcome back to Saturday Shares...that I forgot to post on Saturday as this was in my Drafts folder...whoops!! Above is a glimpse of the quiet place we stayed overnight at up on the peninsula that rocked when it came to sustainability and overall peaceful vibe looking out on the dunes. Oh, and here's what I've been learning about this past week!
Sustainability On the greenwashing of plastics supposedly being recyclable when most go into the landfill: "Industry companies spent tens of millions of dollars on these ads and ran them for years, promoting the benefits of a product that, for the most part, was buried, was burned or, in some cases, wound up in the ocean. Documents show industry officials knew this reality about recycling plastic as far back as the 1970s. " The NPR article Is Plastic Recycling a Lie? calls out the multi-decade onslaught of lies we've all been subject to, started by the fossil fuel industry, and hopefully will help more folks realize that we cannot continue the path we've been on for so damn long. Plastic is NOT recyclable - it can only be downcycled, y'all! Change your habits, folks. If it comes in plastic at the grocery store, don't buy it. If the fibers in the clothes you're looking at aren't natural fibers, don't buy it. Do better. Be the change.
Equity Last week I skipped my Saturday Shares post because I was sitting on the phone with my girlfriend I call Sis, alternately crying and laughing and crying and...you get the picture. What a brilliant day that was, one that after 2016 I didn't think would ever actually happen. The thrill I had for every girl in America, for every woman, for the underrepresented around the country? It had me weeping. For the little girl we had hoped to adopt who was also Black and Southeast Asian, I hoped she knew how big this was even if her foster parents had the audacity to tell her that she wasn't black. When the announcement they had won came in and my phone was being blown up with happy texts from my husband and friends, I ran out into the pasture and whooped so loudly with joy that the ducks and chickens ran for cover. In a rural town, the streets weren't full as they would be if I'd been in my hometown 2 hours away, so I had to blast an old favorite, Ain't Nothin' But a She Thing, on the wagon and cruise down to my husband's workplace and hug him in person, and cry again. I had planned to vote for Kamala Harris in the primaries, even had the Kamala For The People t-shirt, but Oregon's primary being in May meant the opportunity had disappeared, so seeing her added to the Biden ticket was tremendously gratifying, and the hopes of what she could bring to this country...particularly if Georgia votes all-Blue to even out the Senate and get the racist creep McConnell out as Majority Leader.
Creativity Supporting artists during the pandemic has been really important to me, even with a limited budget, and with that, I've looked to Etsy to find many of them. Check out Miami's Phil Fung Studio and his impressive mixed media work - including the gorgeous one of Kamala Harris (that is now on the wall in our home), and Three Little Birds out of Philly where she makes the awesomest t-shirts (I have the Nina and Maya ones in my closet...).
Simplicity One of the major changes in 2020 for us was the decision to no longer pursue adoption after the trauma being unable to adopt the 7 year old girl we'd fallen madly in love with, who had started calling me mom (we couldn't adopt her without her older sister, who had serious behavioral issues and severely bullied the younger girl; and while the agency told us prior case workers had also recommended they be placed separately, they now refused to consider it - even though we wanted to maintain the relationships, just separately and therefore safely, which BOTH girls deserved so they could thrive...and finally be out of the foster care system after 3 years and 10+ homes, including the current one who, while well-intentioned, sadly denied their multiracial roots and suppressed the younger one's immense desire to learn and grow). When this happened in August - which feels like yesterday to me still - I thought I might permanently shatter. And while I still carry her picture with me (and have the bracelet she made me, and the "I love you" she wrote to me, taped to my desk where I write this blog, with this distant hope that someone will change their mind and call me up and say that this girl I would go to the ends of the earth for would finally be my daughter, because we both said if that miracle ever occurred we would be all in), I also had to come to the realization that I had been keeping a lot of things with the intent of passing them along to my child someday. But when you've had 6 failed donor egg IVF treatments, miscarriage, and multiple failed international, domestic and foster care adoption attempts due to program closure, birth mother fraud, agency fraud, and state agency mishandling of cases, and your body has physically responded violently to each trauma (back injury, idiopathic detached retina, weight gain, knee injury, depression, anxiety), we had to make the decision to save our mental health, and my physical health. I had to save myself. And in the process of these past 3 months, I had to deal with the Things. Books for her, old pictures for her, memories to pass on to her. The things that, without her, were really just taking up space. Sentimentality, by a blogger friend in New Zealand who also has battled infertility for years, summed up the fierce internal struggle with keeping the things that will never be passed down. As she said, "Maybe the desire to start a fresh is just a way of trying to hide from the grief, and the constant reminders that the children we wanted aren’t here to pass things on to." So in the name of simplicity, I made a compromise. I scanned the old photos and uploaded them to the family tree on Ancestry so that someone, someday, might appreciate the stories and the images, I donated the majority of the books to my husband's friend's daughter - ironically, the one who'd helped me decorate her room - and other things to charity, and yeah, I threw some things into the fire. I donated the brand new furniture to a women's shelter so a single mom getting back on her feet would have something beautiful for her child, but I kept the little pink owl with the wind-up "Over the Rainbow" in it that we got in Paris together five years ago, and the seashell mobile my husband made for the baby when we were pregnant in 2016. Simplicity is a journey, to say the least.
Discovery Yesterday, an Aboriginal rights advocate in Australia who I follow on LinkedIn asked the question - do you know how to say hello in the language of those who lived on the land before you? She challenged us to understand the indigenous roots of our land, to learn and thereby show respect for the language, culture, and history of where we live. Being an Oregonian in an area where "settlers" / "pioneers" / "explorers" like Lewis & Clark are lauded, with history whitewashed not unlike the "original Thanksgiving" myths that we were told in grade school, there is very little attention to the indigenous lives, both current and before us, who protected rather than destroyed the land we live on. The Chinook Jargon Phrasebook was where I started out to learn Kloshe Sun (good day), which helped me find another site where I could hear the voice of Myrtle Woodcock speaking in the Chinook language back in the 1950's. I would encourage everyone to learn more about those who inhabited the earth they now live on, and open their hearts to discovery.