Unnamed Emotions

Yesterday I was driving along Bell St to Fairfield. I saw a group of people with a banner and a painted wheely bin, a few people were holding signs and wearing t-shirts with the cause or statement written on them. I strained to see what it was about. I saw the words Manus and Mining. I think they were making a link between concessions made to get Adani mining in Australia, while we treat detainees in Manus in a subhuman way.

Image taken from media: Protesters from the Refugee Action Coalition hold placards during a demonstration outside the offices of the Australian Government Department of Immigration and Border Protection in Sydney, Australia, April 29, 2016. REUTERS/David Gray

I tooted my horn in support. I waved and did the ‘thumbs up’. A couple of them waved back. One person looked at me in disgust, anticipating that I wasn’t in support of their actions. Once he realised, I could see his face change, I was relieved to see he understood I was with him.

The interaction left me emotional. A sudden rush of emotion filled my body. I wanted to weep, instead of trying to understand it, and figure out if I was just proud or maybe feeling guilty for not joining them, I let my emotion be. As the second wave came a few moments later, I struggled to stay in what felt like a weird combination of pride and pain. I got curious about the wisdom it had to offer.

They were expressing their dissatisfaction about government actions by literally taking to the streets. Good on them! In response I felt the pain, I also felt proud of them. I felt the pain of all the people who are pissed off that our government is putting peoples lives in danger and letting dubious companies come extract minerals from our land. It’s infuriating. And as I gave myself permission yesterday, I felt the feeling. I felt the pride and pain in the same emotion.

Our language for emotions is pretty limited, and to describe the feeling isn’t an easy one. But it feels important to try. It feels important to name it however awkwardly, and imperfectly. Have you ever experienced that? Where you struggle to name what you felt? I’m curious if it’s similar or different to my experience.

 

This post is 24 in 45 posts for 45 years.

Trello

I have recently changed banks and I let my previous bank’s card lapse, a lot of my business payments are on it and I’ve had a few emails letting me know the card needs to be updated.

This is the best one yet. Makes me glad I have a paid account with Trello.

Hi Tathra Street,
We know that, sometimes, stuff just doesn’t go right.

We hope that’s not the case for you, and if it is, please come chat with us about what we can do to help. Unfortunately, your Trello account has been in arrears in the amount of $49.50 for the past month and is now disabled in accordance with our terms of service.

When you signed up for Trello, you provided us with a credit card ending in XXXX-XXXX-XXXX-3175. We have been unable to charge that card for the past 30 days.

To reactivate your account, use this link to add a new credit card to your account and we’ll automatically try to charge it:

Review Account

We want to keep your Trello account awesome: For more help, please reply to this email.

Thanks a bundle!

Trello Customer Team
support@trello.com

How good is that? I appreciate it when companies treat their customers as human beings.

 

This post is 20 in 45 posts for 45 years.

Review

I’ve been working on the Enterprising Wyndham Project for over a year and had my first performance review today. It was a relatively straightforward process. I was to fill in the sections and my manager adds their comments in discussion, she writes up the outcomes of the discussion and it goes on my file.

I have been working as a consultant and contractor most of the last decade, so it was the first time I’ve experienced a performance review in about as long. Even after working on the performance review cycle of a professional development program as a consultant, I could only speculate about what it was like.

I doubt I have a typical experience but I was glad to go through it. I was able to see the limitations of my thinking and the impact of the lens through which I look at work. Even though the organisation I work for is very progressive and has a strong desire to provide a good experience to their employees, I struggled to think of the professional development opportunity as a loyalty ploy. My manager helped me think about it in a different way.

Tho the work is year to year, and my contract started with a 5-month term, on some level, there’s a recognition that the organisation doesn’t offer a lot of career options. So they can offer development opportunities that will leave them better off than when they started.

She asked me “When we get to the end of year three, and you look back, what will you wish you had learned?” What came to mind was a conference I’ve attended for the last three years and it’s looking unlikely this year. She could see the link to my work in a way that I couldn’t. For me, it was an interest in the Future of Work, and yes, it’s the thing that had me see entrepreneurialism as a key skill in the workforce of the future, but it seemed a stretch to help me develop as a program coordinator of an entrepreneur education program.

The upshot is, she approved it. CMY is paying for me to attend the Future of Work conference! Needless to say, I’m pretty stoked! Not the outcome of the review I expected!

 

 

This post is day 18 of 45 posts for 45 years.

Catching up

The other day I had the opportunity to catch up with two people I haven’t caught up with for a while. It reminded me of the joy that comes from a 1:1 interaction. A proper catch-up, unlike a social gathering which has its own joy but not always possible to connect with people fully or to the level I’d like.
It also reminds me that I’ve spent about half the year focused on things like house, mortgages etc that made it difficult for me to engage socially. It felt great to have a sense of having moved through that time period to one where being able to do more than one catch up in a day is possible. That is all. Yay.

 

This is post 17 of 45 posts for 45 years.

Derby

Today I watched the Rebellion 2017 Roller Derby Tournament, a friend was playing for the winning team. We watched a game yesterday as well. Being in that environment felt different. I felt more at home among women with coloured hair and tattoos.

Mothers with families, fathers taking care of children while moms play derby. It was a great community feel, lots of people cheering for their friends and getting in on the excitement of the game.

This is not your average ‘women in sport’ experience. If you’re not familiar with Roller Derby it’s worth checking out. This isn’t a women’s league of a primarily men’s game. There are a few mixed teams but the vast majority of derby is women playing their hearts out. This is a full-contact sport. It’s one where having thunderous thighs and hefty hips is an advantage to block the jammer. And if you’re small and speedy, you’re likely to be a sought after jammer.

It’s also a reasonably complex game with lots going on, numerous officials to track various positions. As a spectator, there is a lot to pay attention to. I’m not going to go into detail here, I recommend watching Whip It or this video to learn about the game.

My point is that it’s a very different experience from most of the sport out there, that I find generally unappealing. I’ve watched womens’ Australian rules football, especially last year when the historic AFLW league was formed, and a little bit of netball and gridiron or what is called football in North America. I don’t mind it but it doesn’t excite me the way derby does.

It’s a place for rebels and misfits where I feel right at home. It’s appropriate to be as feminine or fat, sporty or freaky as you are or want to be. Fishnets, helmets and knee pads, heavy eye makeup, face paint or simple sporty gear, all common sights at a derby bout.

The other thing that struck me was that the post-game ritual is that everyone from both teams comes together as a single group for photos. The camaraderie and common achievement celebrated is really something. This is the kind of thing that gives me hope.

 

This post is day 14 of 45 posts for 45 years.

Neighbours

We’ve lived in our new place for almost 4 months. Today I met our next door neighbours. It’s the last unit in the row to be occupied. Even though our settlement was delayed by 3 weeks, we were still the first to move in. It was easily another few weeks before anyone else moved in, a few sightings of new owners, but few resident owners.

When I was coming home today, there was someone in the garage next to ours, this was a first. I took the opportunity to say hello, I discovered that he and his wife are moving in over the long weekend from just up the road. They lived in another townhouse in the same development but found it was too small. He seemed nice enough and already familiar with the area.

It’s a whole new chapter for us, living in the newest neighbourhood in our suburb. After a very old crumbling house with a lot of land that needed lots of maintenance. We’re loving having very little lawn and not being responsible for mowing it. Having a large park right next to us to walk the dogs in every day. Ducks and frogs in the rain garden out front. Birds, trees, creek, a wonderful natural landscape, next to a group of boxy houses that all look the same. 

It’s an interesting juxtaposition. I usually advocate for everything human-made being regarded as natural, but in many ways, the development, with its rows of same shaped and coloured houses, across from a creek surrounded by native trees, shrubs, rocky outcroppings, grassy hillsides, they’re pretty far apart on the spectrum of ‘naturalness’. I’m not sure it’s useful to try and romanticise the park or demonise our new home, they are two things I appreciate a lot.

The point is that we share a wall and there will be people living on the other side of that wall after the weekend. I’m glad I met him and introduced myself. I’m looking forward to creating community in this new neighbourhood. It will take time but it starts by getting to know the people who live in our little row of boxy houses.

 

This is day 12 of 45 posts for 45 years.

Your Birthday

Today marks the 32nd year from the day you came into this world. My calendar reminded me and brought up the pain of your absence. You didn’t see your 30th year before you took your own life. You have no idea the impact you had. You probably thought we wouldn’t notice, but we did.

Looking at your Facebook page today I see how much you were loved. My heart hurts though there is so much beauty in the memories people have of you. I want to post something but I don’t know what to say without sounding trite and feeling like it’s not my place.

I hardly knew you, in fact, we probably never even had a conversation, yet you made an impression on me. We were probably in the same room a handful of times and you were part of at least two of my communities. We’ll never truly know why you decided to leave us.  But the light that went out when you did cast a dark shadow on all our hearts. 

What dark thoughts possessed you to make the choice to end your life remind us of our own demons. It reminds us that we are vulnerable to the dark shadowy depths which we avoid. And of our avoidance of the things we don’t want to think about, the parts of ourselves we reject. It reminds me to be gentle with myself and love all the parts of myself that I struggle to give love to. Thank you for the gift of your life and the gift of the darkness when your light went out.

 

 

This is day 11 of 45 posts for 45 years.

Entrepreneur’s brain

Tonight I met with the people who just finished the entrepreneurs’ program I’ve been running. Hearing about how much they valued it and the impact it had on them was incredibly heartwarming. Reliving the graduation night and listening to their experiences, the observations of a previous program participant quickly reconnected me to my own joy from the night. Less than an hour earlier I’d started to feel tired, but talking about the energy in the room and feeling the love from all of them at the graduation brought my energy right back.

I love that our brains don’t know the difference between thinking of something and experiencing it. In this case, it was a really good thing! 

One of the participants referred to our group as like ‘family’. That meant a lot to me. A whole new take on ‘chosen’ family. Many of them talked about how their friends and family just don’t get what they’re on about. Many entrepreneurs experience this. You have to be a bit crazy and super driven to pursue a business idea. Most people don’t understand this, what keeps people following their dreams. Other entrepreneurs do. It’s nice to be with them.

 

This is day 10 in 45 posts for 45 years.

One Week Ponderings

One week into this 45 for 45 challenge I set for myself. It’s been interesting this daily blogging thing. I’ve been learning about myself in the process. I’ve been sharing more than I expected. Through the writing, elements of myself emerge in unexpected ways. I start to write about something that seems fairly basic and then it goes deeper or reveals a new view of the topic. It makes for a more rewarding experience than I anticipated.

But it also feels a bit vulnerable.  I often question what’s appropriate to share, and often err on the side of being open. Sometimes I’m not sure what’s good to say that’s not normally said and what to keep private. 

I decided to do the 45 blog posts for 45 years on my personal website rather than my business site. And I have an IFTTT recipe from ages ago that automatically shares each new blog post on my business facebook page and twitter. Where is the line between personal and professional? Who is the person behind the persona and what is being real and oversharing?

Ultimately, the answers lie in the eye of the beholder. I can only ever guess and see what feels comfortable, appropriate, and a balance of courageous and safe.  I’m always interested in feedback and if you feel I’m sharing too much, I want to know. In the end, I will make my own choice AND I would rather have your honest perspective than not. That’s enough for today. Thanks for being here.

 

Day 8 of 45 posts for 45 years.

Floral scented air

One of the things I love about living here is the floral scented air. Even when it’s cold or not very warm out, the smell of wattle, jasmine or daphne fills the air.

Growing up in Canada, usually you had to get pretty close to flowers to be able to smell them, even lilac or budlea. But here it’s a common experience, in spring to have a tree several metres away and be able to smell the flowers. I remember being struck by this when I first came back 13 years ago. And I’m blessed this spring to live near many blooming wattles.

In the years since moving back here, it’s been a good excuse to stop and smell the flowers, to appreciate the flora of my homeland, both native and introduced species. Sometimes I didn’t always know the difference. And when I first arrived back, not knowing the plants here was a bit disconcerting.  Being a plant lover is a big part of my identity. 

Last year I was having a conversation with a friend, exploring how I was relating to being someone who posts photos of a lot of flowers on Instagram. I didn’t really want to be ‘one of those people’ thinking it was a bit inane.  Realising I was keeping my love for the beauty of flowers at arm’s length by being cerebral about it, focusing on what they are called.

Part of it is about resisting what is associated with being ‘girly’. The value that ‘girly girls’ have in our society is quite limited in scope and as a teenager I rejected it, never wearing pink and eventually I stopped wearing dresses. And it contributed to how I thought about what was ok to enjoy and what wasn’t.

Now I’m letting my flower freak flag fly. In my old age I’m starting to care less what others think and giving myself permission to enjoy what I enjoy regardless.

My name is Tathra Street and I love flowers. I love waking up to the scent of wattle wafting through the air. I love the vast array of diverse forms they take, orchid, gerbera, honeysuckle, snapdragon, violet, hyacinth, bougainvillea, lily, protea, cornflower, tulip, freesia, peony, dahlia, nigella, cosmos, cyclamen, iris, calendula, hydrangea, columbine, fritillaria, clematis, jacaranda…. the list is endless.

 

 

This is day 6 in 45 posts for 45 years.