All in a Phrase

I don’t know if you have thought about this quite yet, but the new year is just around the corner and not only is it the end of the year – but it is the end of a decade!? I have been feeling very nostalgic and reflective, so this is one of 4 posts that I have planned in honor of the forthcoming 2020. I will be posting every Monday, each with some relation to the new year or the previous 10 years.
I hope you enjoy!

For the past 10 years, I have given myself a phrase at the start of a new year.

Sometimes these are borrowed from someone else, like “who you know is who I am,” borrowed from a camp coworker in 2014, or the entire chorus of “Dancing Queen,” borrowed from ABBA the year I turned 17. Sometimes its simply a sentence, like this one is for the takings, or keep track of your jackets. These phrases are sometimes used more than once, in a row or they bounce around. It’s just a habit I picked up around the time I started (seriously) keeping a journal, and it seems to stick with me throughout the year better then when I make a list of resolutions.

The first couple years of college were cataloged under: Push Through The Fear. Depending on your memory and/or how much of my blog you have read, this might look familiar. It is the title of a blog post all about trying to deal with my major anxiety, and was an alternate title considered for this post that I wrote in honor of my time as an actor. It’s a phrase that was written all over my notebooks, diaries, tucked away in blog posts, doodled on note pages. It is one that has stuck around with me for a while, and for me it acts as a chapter title for that time in my life when my ultimate goal was just to get-through-the-anxiety of whatever I was facing. I just wanted to get better at pushing myself to do what I needed to do, and stop missing out on experiences or relationships. That phrase is what got me through my first day at college; it is what got me to audition for my first college show and later my first performance of said show. Push through the Fear was what ultimately encouraged me to come out and try to build a relationship with my now girlfriend of 4 years. It was with me along every terrifying step of those formative years.

When I got sick and had to essentially quit my life, Fear wasn’t what was holding me back anymore so that mantra quickly got replaced. The goal has no longer been push through the fear, but instead to “practice patience,” because patience takes practice and practice takes patience. It’s been the title of my blog, it’s been doodled on note pages, written and underlined in my journals – I wrote about it too. The goal for the past 2 years has been to focus on slowing myself down, practice bettering my negative traits, and to be patient with – not only the people around me – but also how long it takes to grow. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither is Raelee. So as I waited for every test result, as I learned new jobs, tackled medical bills, dealt with germy airplanes, and navigated scary adult processes like renting my first apartment – Practice Patience was there along the way. Not a push to just do it, but a reminder that it is ok to take my time.

Regardless, setting up a phrase for myself has been a way of setting intentions and gathering up excitement and encouragement for a new year. In times of crisis or depression it is something that helps me focus and continue building resilience.

I can tell that it will be a new phrase for 2020. I can feel the adrenaline of a new year, the lightness of a fresh start, the energy of finishing a book and picking up the next one. But I don’t know what it is yet. I never really seek them out, it has always been something that happens organically. I guess we’ll just have to see.


Image description: The photo is of a pile of Raelee’s diaries, journals, and planners. Some of the books are open to certain pages, one on top has a quote from Ernest Hemingway “I am a writer of fiction and so I am a liar too and invent from that I’ve heard. I’m a liar. My excuse is that I make the truth as I invent it truer than it would be. That is what makes good writers or bad”; one entry says “I kissed a girl and I really liked it and now we’re dating, but she leaves for Australia in September and also keeps hanging out with a girl who likes her and now I’m getting jealous” Dated August 3rd [2015]. The pile also features a bunch of scraps, like a dried rose head, movie ticket stubs, confetti from a Taylor Swift concert, and some Polaroids. 


I Watched An Episode of the Original COSMOS with Carl Sagan and Got All Riled Up At Midnight.

     See, I really wanted to like Carl Sagan’s Cosmos, but after just watching an episode for my astronomy class, and hearing the tone and language he uses to dismiss astrology and how pretentiously he refers to scientific history… it was infuriating.
“[Kepler] preferred the hard truth to his dearest delusions”
     What I love about modern anthropology and the teachers I have had, is they put so much emphasis on human variation. How variation is fundamental in our survival, and how we should respect each other’s perspectives. And I’m grateful that anthropology heavily influences my lens when studying the other sciences. I feel that I am better at seeing the whole picture form varying perspectives, rather than shitting on people who see the world differently. My professors have put emphasis on the idea that science is always ready to be proved wrong with a better, stronger theory. That we don’t, and won’t, ever know everything. That there is always room for another idea.
     At one point in this episode Sagan literally says “it’s possible to figure things out. We can do science. And with it we can improve our lives” right after talking about how if the planets dictate our lives, then “explain twins! and I nearly turned the damn thing off. For one thing, he literally only referenced pop culture astrology, and for another thing he did that crummy manipulation-of-information thing that people do, where they are like “So and so from this movement can’t even agree” which is just so shitty. Like, I’m not out here distrusting all Christians just because some crazy loud ones say I deserve to die because I like a girl in a *gasp* non-platonic way.

The script was so loaded with arrogance that it surprisingly helped me understand the ongoing stereotype of Science Bros who laugh at people who put energy into religion. If this is the kind of media that they grew up consuming, OF course they think they are better than everyone else because they can do hard math problems and quote old white guys. No wonder there are such aggressive conversations about science and faith.  They have been fed this idea of “us vs. them” for so long and never thought to fight against it because *ScIeNcE* is meant to be set in stone and completely accurate. Science Bros think that they are honoring their fallen heroes who were ostracized for speaking against the church.

     But that was in a time when we didn’t have the luxury of mass communication. It was in a time when education wasn’t easily accessible by the average Joe. And I think that there is this idea that because more of us can access education now, that everyone will take the time to learn everything. But there are enormous amounts of people who just aren’t interested for one reason or another. And that’s OK. What has made us strong and successful as humans is our ability to teach and share information. Seriously. We can teach each other ways to accomplish goals, and we can record that and build upon that knowledge.

And we need to keep that in mind as we go about our lives. No one person can fight every issue. No one person can learn every perspective. But if we build a foundation in our society out of compassion and put more emphasis on community, the knowledge we gain is more likely to be heard and welcomed. No one loves to learn if they are forced into it. Learning must come from willfulness. Shoving perspectives down people’s throats will only create more resistance.

     I’m not an incredibly spiritual person. I don’t have a god or an energy that I put time into. And I’ve barely scratched the surface in academia. But I am not arrogant to assume I will know everything about how the universe works, and I urge every science thinking mind to leave room in your imagination to be wrong. The only reason science is where it is today is because great (wealthy) minds risked sounding crazy and experimented with how they saw the world. Many of the people that hold to great esteem turned out to be very wrong. And many of their discoveries led to incredible amounts of damage (I see you racism). Science is not perfect (lol Ptolemy), and it does not make you “better” than someone who doesn’t keep up with it. It simply means that you see the world a different way. 
Everyone is right in their own minds. It’s important that we don’t let those perceived notions cause harm to our neighbors and loved ones. It is important that we maintain some level of compassion.


File this post under “posts I didn’t proofread because it was midnight”

     With all this being said, I do want to clarify, you can think someone is nuts and still respect them. Flat Earther’s that were spoken to in this interview done by Buzzfeed said that they couldn’t think of what our purpose on Earth would be if it were round. If it was flat, then that means that we were placed here, and that means someone is looking out for us. For them, a Flat Earth is a source of faith, and it helps them navigate the difficult world that we live in. I can respect that. I disagree, but I also don’t need to tell every single Flat Earther that they are wrong and stupid, because that is not compassionate and it really doesn’t solve anything. Human’s generally like having a purpose. We aren’t good at being lazy, not really. 

     And to use a more touchy example, I don’t hate people who are homophobic. I’m a bisexual, And while I am scared of people who give a shit about someone else’s love life, I do not hate them. And I do not need them to like me or accept me or even agree with me. They can think that it’s unnatural, they can refuse to give me a wedding cake, they can think I’m going to hell. That’s fine, that’s within their perspective. In my opinion, I don’t really care if a business turns me away cause I’m gay. If they want to lose business because of who I am sleeping with, then that’s their money lost. However the GOVERNMENT should not be allowed to do that. 

     For me, the issue comes from when people hurt others simply because they are different. When you actively seek out and hurt people just because they live differently than you and you are scared, you are awful and I hate you. You don’t want me in your private domain? We have no issue. You want to control people and play with their lives? We have some big issues. 
I’m gonna go sleep now.