Is your Inventory of Good good enough? (Because mine sure isn’t…)

I thought I’d get skinned alive after Tuesday’s post about the death of Carrie Fisher, especially once Debbie Reynolds had the audacity (or perhaps good fortune?) to go and die the next day, but judging by all of my new subscribers (welcome aboard, folks!) and the comments I’ve received both here and on Facebook, I’m feeling pretty justified in what I’m about to say:

It’s going to get a whole lot worse before it gets any better.

The clock isn’t going to magically re-set at midnight on December 31st. We don’t get to say goodbye to 2016 and kiss our loved ones and tell ourselves that it’s all going to be okay because 2017—2017!!!—is finally here and now we (and all of our remaining celebrity idols) will be saved.

sparkling trails of light drawing out the numbers 2017 in glowing light to welcome in the new year

 

I’m not saying we shouldn’t celebrate. Because you’d better believe I’m gonna be tossing back the martinis on what will hopefully be my last non-pregnant New Years Eve party for the foreseeable future…

But I’m going to approach this New Years Eve like Mardi Gras: one last hurrah before the darkness of Lent sets in.

Now I don’t mean to go all Doomsday here—it’s the holidays, after all!— but I’d like to share an excellent suggestion from blogger TrulyUnplugged written in response to Tuesday’s post.

Instead of pointing fingers at time, we could be holding ourselves accountable by taking inventory of what we’ve done to contribute to the good this past year.

It’s like a reverse New Year’s Resolution, but better, because in this case you still get to eat all of the chocolate and carbs you like as long as you stop blaming the amorphous boogeyman personified as 2016 and realize that perhaps, you’re just the tiniest bit complicit in all of the shit that’s gone down.

You with me?

I’ll start.

First off, I got married in May and I tried, with the help of some extremely talented family and friends, to throw the greenest, most ethically responsible wedding that I could. There were some areas of abysmal failure in this department (my DIY favor boxes were a disaster so I had to order cheap ones from Oriental Traders at the last minute, and I have no idea where the food for our reception came from or where it went afterward…) but we did manage to score a few for, you know, the earth. Just look at us:

 

 

We gave our guests handmade brooches from Ten Thousand Villages along with chocolate truffles made locally by a friend. I made almost all of the non-floral décor out of recycled materials and thrift shop finds and we donated the centerpieces to the residents at my grandmother’s nursing home after the reception so that the flowers wouldn’t go to waste. Lastly, despite my addiction to pretty paper, I put my foot down when it came to wedding stationary: no printed save the dates, no printed invitations, and no goddamn menus. If you want to know what you’re going to eat, just look at your plate.

Next up, we adopted a rescue dog in June. To reward us for our benevolent, non-puppy mill approach to canine acquisition, the shelter gods gave us the CUTEST. DOG. IN. THE. WORLD. (And if you disagree with me, you can get off my blog.) He tried to run away less than 24 hours later but PIC found him sitting in the park with some kids a few blocks away and now that he knows we’re not like axe murders or… you know, Republicans, he spends most days campaigning to snuggle in bed with us.

 

henry-on-rock

 

Thirdly, I served as a delegate for Bernie Sanders at the DNC. Oh wait. You didn’t know this? I DIDN’T TELL YOU THIS??? Oh my God! How much time do you have?

Just kidding.

I’ve written enough about that whole drama, and it’s the holidays so I’ll spare you the regurgitation, but I take pride in the fact that someday I’ll be able to tell my grandchildren that I was on the right side of history and that if everyone had listened to us, we wouldn’t be stuck scavenging for fluorescent squirrels or whatever it is that people eat after the apocalypse…

I’m taking a brief pause now to pat myself on the back for being such a well-coiffed eco-warrior, such a paragon of civic duty, such a shining example of enlightenment and social justice savoir faire. In fact, maybe I’ll post a selfie of myself wearing a safety pin to prove that I’m one of the good guys like they do over at Pantsuit Nation… Could I just superimpose one over the well-intended but ultimately ill-informed white-feminist, white-pantsuit shot I took on Election Day?

 

i-voted

 

Except that a safety pin is not going to cut it (unless it’s this one). And neither is the pantsuit, the rescue dog or the “sacrifice” of printed wedding invitations, radical though it may have seemed at time in the face of all those bridal magazines and Pinterest boards.

Because you want to know the truth?

I was surprised that Trump won the presidency. Not shocked—I spend enough time outside of Philadelphia to know that a Clinton victory was anything but secure—but still: I should have seen it coming. I was never all that inspired to campaign for Clinton after the DNC but I took for granted that common decency and some semblance of the democratic process would protect us from the rise of a fascist demagogue. It didn’t.

Also? I never actually donated to Standing Rock. I kept meaning to, and I called the Whitehouse and both of my Senators, wrote some really eloquent letters about our nation’s history of genocide and convinced several of my students to do the same, but I never got around to donating or to divesting from Wells Fargo. It’s on the To-Do list, but this is not good enough.

I did donate water bottles and poster board for one of the Black Lives Matter marches in Philly but aside from a rally at City Hall, I never made it to a single march or vigil. Sometimes, in class, I also found myself saying “incidents of police brutality” instead of calling a spade a fucking spade because I’m afraid to alienate my white students. This is not good enough.

I could go on (there’s nothing like a good public self-flagellation to leave you desperate for the sort of get-a-grip and get-moving attitude that only Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton soundtrack can provide) but I think I’ve made my point. I have a lot of work to do in 2017.

How about you?

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10 Responses to “Is your Inventory of Good good enough? (Because mine sure isn’t…)”

  1. Trying to do better

    Yes, more on my plans in person, one can still donate to Standing Rock, FYI 🙏🏼 Great post. We all have our addictions to certain non “woke” choices, (look at my NYE parties) as with everything in life, it is about how balanced you are. You are no good to any cause, no matter how worthy, if you are wearing yourself out trying to make every choice the right one– sometimes you’re not going to make the right one and that’s OK if on balance, most of them are the right ones.

    Reply
  2. trulyunplugged

    Oh, Kat, how I love what you say and how you say it…and, again, we are connected…I didn’t intend to post today (I’ve started one of my regular type posts, but, those require a lot more time and effort)…however, inspired by our online chat the other day, I posted a mini-post….
    Because I wanted to give you credit for the inspiration, I scrolled through my reader until I found the article you wrote that resulted in you and I “meeting”….then, I found this one…
    I am sooooooo pleased to know that we both followed our instincts to credit each other….thank you and thank you (for the credit and your fantastic messages) 🙂

    Reply
  3. The Prof

    One of your best Kat! To me 2017 feels like full of despair with all the hatred surrounding us, but it is people like you who bring joy and action, no matter how small, that show possible ways.

    Reply
  4. Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, MCC, SCAC

    I jumped over from Kat’s mention on her trulyunplugged blog and I absolutely LOVE this post, your point of view, and how you put it into words. I *rarely* follow after a single exposure, but as soon as I can find where the WordPress Gremlins hid the follow button, I think yours will be well worth chancing an exception.

    Happy NEW Year – and congrats on your recent nuptials.
    xx,
    mgh
    (Madelyn Griffith-Haynie – ADDandSoMuchMore dot com)
    – ADD Coach Training Field founder; ADD Coaching co-founder –
    “It takes a village to transform a world!”

    Reply
    • Kat Richter

      Thanks for stopping by and for your kind words on this post. I was a bit hesitant in publishing it but sometimes a bit of navel gazing is necessary to get your (in the case MY) sh*t together.

      Reply
      • Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, MCC, SCAC

        If I didn’t write I’d probably be in a looney-bin somewhere. I even go back to read my own comments to others when days get dark – lol.

        I have noted in the comments of many articles like this that it makes people feel less alone (and more able to cope) when they read words that encourage them to BELIEVE that they are not “the only ones.”

        When you’re struggling, the positivity pablum around so much of the web can make people feel even worse sometimes. Especially those struggling with depression or chronic illness or pain, who are simply unable to paste on a happy face many days.
        xx,
        mgh

        Reply
  5. carlymagnotta

    I enjoy your sense of writing and connection to what are your thoughts and what are the thoughts of the people around you. I find that although not everyone has the same views, we might all have the same ending goal for our lives. For once, it’s nice to see someone talk about that good they had in 2016. From other social medias, people act as though 2016 was the year of everything horrible, which in ways, I can relate too. But it’s nice to see you discuss that just because the clock strikes 12, doesn’t mean we can erase everything that is happening in our lives and the world around us. The only thing we can do is focus on how we can make our lives and the important people around our lives’ better for the future!
    – carlymagnottablog.wordpress.com : cnmagnotta@mix.wvu.edu

    Reply

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