“I Am The Leader I’ve Been Waiting For”

“We Are The Leaders We’ve Been Waiting For”

~Grace Lee Boggs

This is a quote that I am holding extremely close at this point in my journey.

But before I go more into that, first, a little history to my connection with this phrase and Grace Lee Boggs.

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The BEST Marygrove College Orientation Team EVER!

I had the opportunity to work at Marygrove College in Detroit, Michigan for a year and half as the Offices of Student Life and New Student Orientation (but for reals, it was Me, Myself and I with amazing students…shout out to my MG Peeps!). During my tenure with Marygrove College, it was an independent Catholic institution sponsored by the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Part of the focus of the institution was servant leadership and community engagement.

Being on Six Mile in Detroit and in the old neighborhood of Grace Lee Boggs we read her book and leaned into her leadership and example as an advocate, activist and human. So the phrase was not new to me when we selected it as the guiding principle for #ACPA19. But over the course of the past year and a half it has inspired, empowered and guided me through some difficult times I’ve experienced as a Student Affairs professional.

As you know Michigan State University is going through some challenges. The ripple effect from the Larry Nassar crimes continue to move throughout campus and more start up each week, the trial of former-President Lou Anna K. Simon and the uncertainty of a close Presidential search have created an uneasy environment. Combine these pieces with normal everyday campus politics and dynamics, it has resulted in micromanaging, self-preservation and survival becoming a more than common theme that runs through the work leaving an isolated sense of belonging.

Its hard to navigate this type of environment; to not be empowered with the agency to better the work, the environment and student experience. Its hard to not have role models on campus who lead by example.  (And please know I hold that I come from a lens of an individual who is in a lower level administrator position and I can only share and blog from my experiences.)

This is what I’ve struggled with for the past year and a half. And as many of you who know me, I don’t thrive well in these environments.

But over the course of the year I’ve come to understand that I can’t rely on others to be the leaders I need. I need to become and that I CAN be the Leader That I’ve Been Waiting For.

In the MSU Dialogues Faculty Staff Program we talked about our Spheres of Influence. These four spheres are individuals or groups of people that we can make an impact on, and include Self, Close Family and Friends, Local Community, Larger Community. And we can only authentically make change within those spheres in terms of what you, yourself, can do. Not what we wish we could do.

I wish I could work on so many of my great ideas and suggestions. I wish I had a voice at certain tables. I wish I had great role models in upper level positions I could find guidance and learn from.

BDHPBut I need to focus on my spheres of influence.

Taking some time over the past few months to refocus and see what I CAN do has been eye opening. I can make change and better the work in the small things. In the relationships I build and maintain. In the tasks and projects I do hold. At the tables I do have access to. I can lead by the example I needed for myself, with the hopes I can be the me I needed for someone else.

I hold this close now. It may have taken me a little longer than others to learn this, but you know me, I like to take my time in life lessons 🙂

Thanks for reading my musing and navigating this myriad of random thoughts! We’ll see where this goes over the summer while I reflect on the past year and get geared up for next!

Until next time,

Peace, Love and Pandas!

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Instant Family: One More Layer

I went and saw Instant Family over the Winter Break. Overall I LOVED the film and already have it in my queue to purchase. It was a 118 minutes of warm and fuzzy feelings that had me in tears throughout the whole thing.

And while I am an international transracial adoptee, which is in someways the same and others is different, I still found myself relating closely to the children and the family dynamics in the film.

Let’s be honest: Adoption is a beautiful AND challenging thing.

But to start this blog let me provide some numbers for context of the foster care system here in the United States.

  • At any given time there can be any where from 400,00 – 700,000 million children in the U.S. foster care system and of this, only an abysmal 8% are adopted any given year.
  • 100% of these children have experienced some level of trauma be it physical, emotional, or mental trauma.
  • In 2017 the average age of children in the system was 8.4 years old.
  • An average of 20,000 children age out of the system each year.
  • In 2017, 44% of children in foster care were white followed by Black at 23% and Hispanic at 21%.
  • Of those children adopted, 53% are adopted by their foster families and 35% are adopted by other family members.

So, let’s just put it out there: these numbers break your heart. You want to go out and advocate for foster care and adoption and even perhaps consider it for yourself.

In the film, they encourage an idea and premise that anyone with means, an open heart and who are ready for the joys AND difficulties of fostering should should do so and hopefully have it conclude with adoption if all goes well.

I LOVE that premise. I encourage everyone to consider adoption whether or not you can have your own children. There are so many factors that go into deciding whether or not you can/should adopt that it’s really a case by case basis and should always be considered.

But I’d like to add one layer for everyone to consider while deciding if fostering and adoption is for you:

Do you have a pre-existing definition of a child’s identity and are ready for internal conflict with yourself if the child identifies differently or is there something that prevents you from wholly embracing and accepting a child as they develop authentically?

I propose this layer partly due to my experience and partly due to the work I do in my profession.

When you foster and adopt you can somewhat pick and choose the child(ren), for example the gender, age, siblings, etc.

But now let’s revisit that average age of children in the system statistic…8.4 years old. They are in the EARLY development stages of who they are and in some ways may be behind in their development due to the trauma they may have experienced. Even if you do select the child(ren) according to their identities they hold in the system, they are just beginning to develop themselves and further define their identities.

And so my ask to you is to consider whether you are ready and willing to hold and accept the child(ren) regardless of how they identify. My lens of this comes specifically in regard to gender identity and sexual orientation.

To foster/adopt children but either force them to conform to an identity or turn your back on them for identifying as an identity you do not support could do more harm than good.

In some ways it is intention vs. impact. To adopt is beautiful and well intentioned. But if you cannot support and accept their identity development into their authentic selves, the impact could be worse. To be rejected once is hard, so consider what it would be like to be the second set of parent(s) to reject a child.

Now some children will do whatever it takes to keep a foster family and will conform because from their experience, all they want is the Basic Needs of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs which is food, water, shelter and safety.

Others will hunger for more going into the Psychological or Self-Fullfillment Needs of Maslow’s Hierarchy and, you should be ready to hold on to them and love and accept them for who they are and not who you want them to be or think they should be.

I have grappled with this all my life. As an adopted child or child of the foster/adoption system, there is a fundamental question we all must come to terms with: “Why did they (birth parent(s)) not want me?” Some of us find the answer, while others have to be alright with the unknown.

When I came out as gay and more recently married my husband and have one of my adopted parents turn their back to me, again I had to ask “Why?” It was a simpler answer the second time as I knew it was based on organized religion but it doesn’t erase the hurt of being left behind/rejected by two mothers. But in my case, I’ve been able to come to terms with this because I have the love, support and acceptance from my Chosen Family I’ve created and my profession and the work I do to reach an understanding. Not every child is that lucky to have a community to get them through a second round of “why.”

Now, I want more individuals to foster and adopt children. But at the same time, I want them not to be a second parent(s) to reject them if their identities are not what they expect or can support.

To me, when you foster and adopt you are saying that you love and accept the child for whomever they decide to be and however they identify. That your pre-conceived expectations for the child(ren) is to live a happy and authentic life and not who they love or which restroom they use. 

So please, hold this and let it be one of the things you consider while contemplating fostering and adopting. Is there an easy or simple answer to what I’m asking or to solving this? No. Because there are so many more children who need a family than families available. And in some ways I’d rather have a child adopted and have a chance at a better life with conflict than no chance at all. But for those who are able to factor this into your decision, please do. Or at the very least be ready to have conflict with your values and morals if you do have pre-existing expectations of identity than what the child(ren) are holding.

Thanks for reading through my whirling mind of thoughts on this, and definitely go see Instant Family!!!

Until next time!

Peace, Love and Pandas!

 

Resources:

Instand Family Movie Website

US Adoption Statistics

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

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All in the Last Name

I’ve been asked many times why I decided to change my last name to Hercliff-Proffer. To be honest, it took me the full 21 months of my engagement to decide and even then it wasn’t until 3 weeks before when Michael applied for our license and with much frustration told me that I had to finally make a decision.

For some, selecting your last name is easy. For others, there can be more layers to it. For me, it leaned towards the more layers side. Some are very personal and some are very practical. (Kinda like me :))

So here are my whys for how I created my last name.

  1. I wanted to keep Proffer for professional branding. I’ve really branded myself with my last name as a professional and wanted to continue that brand in some way with my married last name. So really, hyphenation was always on the table for me.
  2. I wanted to keep Proffer to acknowledge where I come from in all the good, bad and ugly of it all.  Some of these include coming from a family who opened their hearts to taking in a child and adopting me, and who gave me the opportunity to develop my values, morals, and life views. Also, coming from a family who provided me opportunities to travel, learn, make music, and have experiences that led me to become the man I am today. I also come from a family who has conditions that come with their love and who hold organized religious views that supercede the humanity of others. I come from a family of extremes that has really high peaks and really low valleys which has taught me self-preservation and survival.
  3. I wanted Hercliff in my last name because I wanted to have a similar last name to me husband. Part of our conversation in deciding what our last name would be was that he would not take on Proffer in any form because of the homophobic nature of my family and the sincere lack of support from them towards me and our relationship.
  4. I wanted Hercliff in my last name because of the unconditional love and support we have gotten from his family which is also why I placed Hercliff first in the hyphenation.
  5. I also decided to place Hercliff first so that in the case we have children (or officially surname our furbabies) we’ll go with Hercliff and that way our last names will be consistent.
  6. Finally, Hercliff-Proffer is easier to shorten to H-Proff…which I think sounds cool…rather than P-Herf. LOL

OrnamentSome of the whys were hard to acknowledge while others got me excited to begin a new journey as Hercliff-Proffer.

So if you ever get a chance to ask why a married couple has the last names that they do, do so! You may learn more about them than you thought you knew, and may learn a little about your own journey as well!

Have a great Winter Break and Happy Holidays!

Until next time,
Peace, Love and Pandas!

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Election Day: Meme Edition

A little fun to laugh at for Election Day while you wait to vote!

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I’m Baaaaaack!!!

Well hello world!

This has been a significantly longer hiatus from blogging than I anticipated. LOL. But I realized that while I loved writing, wedding planning took a lot more time than I expected. But it’s all finished and I’m hyphenated so I can return to my writing!.

So let me continue on my first blog as Brian David Hercliff-Proffer! 🙂

For today, I think I’ll get back into the groove of blogging with gabbing about Michael and my wedding 🙂

Imma just gonna put it out there…our day was PERFECT! It was a beautiful sunny day, the venue was gorgeous, the flowers to die for, the donuts and food delicious, music fantastic and photographer amazing! Our wedding party came through for us and with all the special people in our lives in the room and sending us thoughts from wherever they were, it was a day of love and celebration.

But behind our perfect day, there were a lot of personal struggles and conversations in my journey. But somehow it all came together and there’s a sense of peace now with much of it.

If you’ve read my blog since we became engaged or listened to my Friday morning Facebook Live Chats the biggest thing I struggled with was my family throughout the engagement and wedding planning. They are a strong religious and conservative group of individuals. And when I became engaged to Michael that was the line in the sand that many of them could not cross, especially my mom. Long story short she did not attend the wedding.

Now, during the engagement I was upset, angry and hurt. I struggled with how much grace should I give, should I take the high road, etc. I struggled all the way up to the week of the wedding with it.

But somehow on the day of the wedding and since, there has been a peace to the whole situation. I’m not sure if it was because the what ifs were finally answered, if it was when two of my best friends, Amanda and Shawntae, danced with me in place of a mother/son dance, or if it’s because I decided to place Hercliff first in my hyphenated name.

But that day has settled the struggle I’ve been going through with my mom. She will not change and nothing I ever do will change her heart or mind. I have to accept that. I know we both love each other but for the foreseeable future we are not able to hold space together. I’m at a point where I need to be able to be authentically me and she is not in a space, and may never be, to be able to allow me to be that with her or in her presence.

Friends, family and other parents have wondered how a parent can’t attend their on child’s wedding because of who they love. I chatted with Ashley our wedding photographer and one of my oldest UM-Flint friends.  And she reminded me that this happens more often than we realize. In my situation its because I was marrying a man. In other situations it’s because of the color of their skin, their socioeconomic status, or their political views.

As a society we’ve cornered ourselves into conditioning our love and respect and in many situations its based on religion or money. And it’s why there are parents who do not attend their child’s wedding, or are not in the lives of their grandchildren. For many unconditional love is not possible because of their conditioned beliefs and inability to allow someone to travel down their own journey of life and be happy that they are living their authentic lives through the good the bad and the ugly.

So, what can we do about it?

Nothing.

It’s the journey of life that those individuals are traveling. I have no place in telling them that it is the wrong path for them. Belittling them, questioning them, or even hating them will do nothing. I’m learning to live and let live. All I can do is live my best authentic life and give what I may not have received to others and support those in the chosen families of others that have invited me in and let alone those who have conditioned their lives. And yes, if you’re reading into this that it’s applicable beyond just this situation, then you’re picking up what I’m putting down.

But our Wedding Day was that moment in my life where it all clicked and came together to bring a sense of peace of mind to me and I’m LIVING for the hyphen.

Until next time!

Peace, Love and Pandas!

 

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I am

Eleven different photos of Brian D. ProfferI am Asian
I am gay
I am impulsive
I am a country music fan
I am adopted
I am short
I am a male
I am emotional
I am a coffee lover
I am a writer
I am a mid-level professional
I am a fiance
I am a multitasker
I am a Michigan Wolverine
I am dramatic
I am a musician
I am Korean
I am a Hallmark Movie fan
I am a lover of ice cream
I am an Eastern Michigan Eagle
I am short tempered
I am a smiley individual
I am a bad joke teller
I am Millennial
I am political
I am imperfect
I am driven
I am a fan of Star Trek
I am a lover of travelling
I am a friend
I am one who needs validation
I am a dreamer
I am one who has high expectations
I am restorative
I am a Student Affairs Professional
I am a dog lover
I am one who hates snakes
I am OCD
I am all about social media
I am a lover of couch surfing
I am trusting to a fault
I am not a huge sports fan
I am a Kappa Sigma Brother
I am an advisor
I am one who tries too hard
I am an Apple person
I am fast to act
I am not financially smart
I am an ambivert
I am a pop person
I am a volunteer
I am a student
I am jealous
I am driven
I am vocal
I am naive
I am a pizza lover
I am a procrastinator
I am a drinker
I am a brother
I am a nail biter
I am a techy person
I am creative
I am a son
I am awkward
I am insecure
I am passionate
I am American
I am Type A
I am moody
I am a wanderer
I am supportive
I am sensitive
I am harsh
I am not a public speaker
I am a medium rare sort of person
I am an instigator
I am distractive
I am diligent
I am hopeful
I am from Flint
I am probably lactose intolerant
I am average weight
I am a perfectionist
I am a talker
I am an organizer
I am a social butterfly
I am an opportunist
I am a challenger
I am a dance in the aisles person
I am a thinker
I am one who wears glasses
I am a LOVER of pandas
I am not good in campus politics
I am a Queen
I am one who over shares
I am loyal
I am a colleague
I am a Michigander
I am a not good with chit chat
I am easily frustrated
I am patient
I am one who worries about what others think
I am 33
I am absent minded
I am intentional
I am a lover of malls
I am a nature person
I am one who uses jokes and sarcasm as mechanisms
I am overly positive
I am always having a good hair day
I am a blogger
I am fair skinned
I am a jewelry person
I am always down for a tiara
I am not athletic
I am opinionated
I am a worker
I am a caring
I am one who fills the void
I am one who has purpose
I am one to not fit in
I am one who breaks the mold
I am on a journey
I am one who needs to be reminded of who I am, what I am worth and that this is me and that’s beautiful.

Speaking with a friend and role model yesterday, they reminded me that I shouldn’t worry about fitting in or feeling inadequate.  That its not me being inadequate or not fitting in but rather what and who I am that fills what others are missing. That it can be a struggle at times, but that contention can be good. That holding who I am and my why is mine to own and dictate.

I am about to turn a year older later this month and upon reflecting on who I am, what I do and why I do things, I’m doing just fine.

I can’t wait to pick up the blogging again because after this hiatus, there is depth, emotion, passion and me FULLY sharing my authentic self that is about to go down.

My endurance is forever, my stride is long and my me is mine.

Until Next Time!

Peace, Love and Pandas!

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“Count Your Blessings Instead of Sheep”

One of the longest running traditions for my family was to watch White Christmas on Christmas Eve.

We’d get in after Christmas Eve Mass, grab some food my mom had keeping warm in the crockpots and all gather in the TV room to watch It’s a Wonderful Life and White Christmas.

Since living on my own, I still carry on that tradition and make sure I watch at least one of those films during Christmas. This year I picked White Christmas. While watching the film, during this scene, I couldn’t help but think that of the applicability of this song in the way I should think of 2017 and how I wanted to move into 2018.

2017 was a roller coaster of a year. We had the bad and the ugly in full continuous force this year. Trump was sworn in, I didn’t land a dream job, Trump’s Twitter, my mom’s inability to accept my pending nuptials, worries about some friends and their life journeys, and frustrations with the current position.

7075A3A9-4FE0-4B16-B3E7-E8A1B39E8567-2203-000000C754EBAFEBBut 2017 was full of blessings as well. Michael and I got engaged, I found a support base of I-LEAD that I wouldn’t trade for anything, I’ve been provided the opportunity to take on more challenging professional opportunities, I’ve learned that I do make changes in the world around me, my BFF Shawntae got engaged, my BFF HJohn got engaged and married, we got our new fur baby Lyra and Michael got his foot in the door at MDOT.

It reminds me of a phrase I told one of my students this year, that I need to remember myself “You’re still standing” and even that in itself is a blessing.

So, good-bye 2017 you challenged me, kicked my ass, brought some amazing people into my life, and brought joy, sadness and celebration. But bring on 2018. It’ll be yet another rollercoaster year with growing pains, changes, and trying to become the man I wish to be, but between the struggles, it’ll be full of blessings, including Michael and my wedding, Shawntae’s wedding and all the unknown opportunities and joys.

So if you’re worried and you can’t sleep
Just count your blessings instead of sheep
And you’ll fall asleep counting your blessings.

Until next YEAR!

Peace, Love and Pandas!

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“Live Your Best Life”

“Live Your Best Life”

It’s a phrase that I heard for the first time this summer after spending almost two weeks at Kansas State University being a part of the Association of College Unions International (ACUI) I-LEAD Program.

Ben Williams, one of the I-LEAD Co-Chairs and one of the most awesome individuals I’ve met in the field, is a bluntly honest and genuine individual who many times closed advice, commentary, etc with this phrase. It absolutely caught on and I don’t think any of us from that program can not think of him and I-LEAD without this phrase.

It’s so versatile, you can use it genuinely, sarcastically, ironically, dismissively; you can use it as a foundation or as an ending thought; you can even use it on a train or a placne or eating green eggs and ham! (I just had to throw in some Dr. Suess today LOL).

I’ve come to adopt this phrase into my long list of jargon but just recently have I really ground my teeth into it.

We’ve all heard of the Struggle Bus. Well, I’m a bit beyond this right now. According to Sam, one of the best and most hilarious past Graduate Assistants I’ve worked with, had a series of “struggle vehicles” he would gauge life with. “Struggle Bus, Train and Plane”. Recently I’m at Plane level. Though, not just ON the “Struggle Plane”…I’m building the freaking thing.

There is a lot going on right now from personal to professional and everything in between, but this phrase, “Live Your Best Life” is a constant reminder that is helping me through everything.

It’s helping to remind me that all I can do is my best. Sometimes my best is not enough. Sometimes it’ll be more than enough. And other times it’ll even be too much (Yes, I acknowledge I am extra at times LOL).

It’s helping to remind me that I should continue to live my truth even if I don’t quite know what it is or where it’s taking me at times, so long as I’m journeying down my life path bravely and honestly.

It’s helping me to remember to prioritize what’s important and who’s important to me. And to help me step away from some things and take on other things.

It’s helping me to remember that despite struggles, mistakes, hurts, problems and stresses, to just put one step forward and keep at keeping on and do my best with a genuine and  honest heart.

It’s helping me to remember to start conversations and advising with a foundation that individuals are living their best life rather tahn assuming the worse.

It’s helping me to remember my WHY.

Sometimes we need philosophies, reminders and mantras. And for now, this is my current mantra and philosophy.

Live Your Best Life

Until next time

Peace, Love and Pandas!

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#NationalComingOutDay2017

Pride-Rainbow-Flag

Courtesy of uuse.org

Over the past few years, I’ve shared different components of my coming out story and experiences on this day each year.

But this year, I want to share some of the lessons from coming out that I have learned over the years to perhaps helps any one else working through this process.

  1. National Coming Out Day shouldn’t be the day you come out. For me, NCOD is about celebrating those who have come out and on the journey of coming out.
  2. Its your own journey. We each come out in different ways at different times. For some it’s an internal and simple process. For others it is an external and complex process. For some it’s personal conversations with friends and family and others it’s posting it on Facebook. for some you come out at a young age, while others of us decide to come out later in life. Regardless how or when you do it, it does not diminish the significance of your decision and identity.
  3. Its a process for all. Just like those of us who come out, there is a process of being on the receiving end of coming out as well. Not only is the context and identity of the individual new but theres new terminology, perhaps new pronouns, new phrases, and new community to learn and understand. For those of us in an educational field we know the breadth of information we teach on. It takes us years to learn what we know. So give time to those you come out to, to become educated and learn the community.
  4. Its ok to take a time out. Sometimes you have to take a time out from people. Its ok to step back and give people, or even yourself, time and space to process and handle your new identity and people’s reactions. But the next step in the relationship should be to reach out periodically when you are ready and when the other people seem ready to talk about it. Don’t ignore it.
  5. Family is not only connected by blood. When you come out, you learn that while blood family is important, it is not the only family in your life. You can create family. True family will struggle and go through the process with you. That can include blood family members but it also can be friends who take care of you, support you and love you for who you are.
  6. “Ignorant is bliss” game does continue. Even after coming out people will play the “ignorant is bliss” game. Try to be conscious of this. Acknowledge that even though things may seem fine, key life events will happen such as engagements, weddings, children, etc that will jarred these individuals back to the reality and remind them that you are LGBTQ. You will be in an eternal circle of “coming out” to them. For most in this vicious circle, it’s revisiting hurtful conversations such as “what did I do wrong in raising you to turn you gay” or the eternal damnation of your soul.
  7. Its a challenge for parents and guardians. Regardless if you have supportive parents or guardians, its still a challenge. For many parents and guardians, creating dreams and hopes for their children is natural. For most, however, it is founded in heterosexual normative structures i.e. the perfect wedding day for the bride and groom, having children of their own, living life without the fear of harassment and discrimination. When we come out to our parents and/or guardians, it can shatter those hopes and dreams. It changes how they have to view you and the context of their hopes and dreams for you and for some it is not an easy to make such significant changes to long standing hopes and dreams.
  8. You have self-authorship. You have the ability to dictate your life journey. You can find a support system. You can choose who is in your life or not. You can choose your family. You can define the boundaries and context of your life. I acknowledge that at times these are more challenging such as when you come out as a teenager or if you live at home vs coming out in college or as an adult or if you’re living on your own. But there is a community out there to help you.

Just some thoughts and lesson from my coming out journey so far.

Until next time,

Peace, Love and Pandas!

 

NationalComingOutDay

Courtesy of Planed Parenthood of Michigan

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Disclaimer

There’s a new app out there called Sarahah. It basically allows individuals to send anonymous messages and comments to an individual.

Michael started using it and encouraged me to try it, so I downloaded it and created my profile.

Now this post isn’t about the app. It’s about my first message I received in the first 20 minutes.

My first message was the following:

IMG_6152

This made me pause and think. I’ve been racking my mind around how to approach processing this, and this morning I share a response:

To all the people I interact with and engage with. I acknowledge that this is the feeling some get when there is discussion and dialogue or when I post on my platforms.

It is never my intention to make anyone uncomfortable and I am not hostile or aggressive on purpose. I am passionate about life, pandas and the growth and development of people, including myself. Societal and political issues, identity development and social justice and equity work is very personal, messy, and emotional work and it shows in my conversations and work.

But I encourage everyone I engage with to push back and get into the mess of this whole world with me and to be ready to be passionate, emotional and logical about all of it together.

I’ll be honest, and do not see the hostility and aggressiveness in my posts and comments, but am reflecting on how it may come across to the external world so I can improve my engagement.

However, over the past few months, I’m learning that it is not my responsibility to ensure everyone’s feelings are not hurt or to ensure that everyone is comfortable or ensure that the conversation is easy.

This work and this life is not unharmful, comfortable or easy.

But it is my responsibility to learn and understand another person’s perspective.

I will never tell anyone what to think or believe, and I ask the same.

I will never just dismiss your perspective, but I will push back if there is another perspective for you to consider or to clarify my perspective.

I will get emotional.

I will not always agree but I will agree that we have different points of view.

I will always find both the common and uncommon ground.

I will be personal and vulnerable in all of it.

I also challenge those uncomfortable, hurt or offended by my posts to step back and ask:

Why am I uncomfortable?

Why is this conversation hard?

Why is this hurtful?

Am I offended by the words or the issue?

And finally:

You all know me. You know I do my best to understand and be open. You know that I am, though emotional, mostly even tempered when having dialogue. If I’m coming off as hostile and aggressive, ask yourself why. Check in with me. Step back and connect the dots. Work to center it around the conversation and not how you’re receiving it or how I’m sharing it. If I’m coming off as hostile and aggressive then there’s a reason. It’s hit something personal and/or emotional. It’s those moments I need good two way dialogue with people who are willing to get into the mess of it all.

So thank you to the individual who sent me this message. It has helped me clarify my approach and work in life, and that I really am a passionate, dedicated, and aware individual. It has also confirmed that being emotional, personal, vulnerable and honest is how I approach this life. It’s also confirmed that I must be doing something good because if these conversations were easy or comfortable for everyone then they really weren’t good conversations to begin with.

Until next time,

Peace, Love and Pandas!

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