On the 2nd of January (the Bank Holiday Monday) with Sam away in London, and having the whole day unfold before me, I decided to grab the new year by the horns and create a whopping 36 page blog business plan for myself. It revealed some of the ways that I wanted this space to unfold in the next few years, but more importantly it helped me identify a more succinct identity for Rhyme & Ribbons. I’ve long known what I’ve wanted to write about but struggled with a continuity of genre and voice. I don’t want to change any of the topics that I write about, but I want to give myself the freedom to blog with more intent. I find myself losing interest as a blog reader and a blog writer when too many posts are cotton candy fluff (something I myself am guilty of).
When identifying aspects about myself, my blog and my readers, I came to realise that I wanted to talk more about social responsibility. I want this space to be an ethical framework for my own personal values. I don’t want to alienate readers who differ in opinions to my own, and I always welcome civil disagreements. If I had a word for 2017, it would probably be “intent”. I want to blog and live my life with more intent. I want my life to have more curiously earnestness and eager intention in it. Maybe that means longer and more fleshed-out and thoughtful blog posts. Maybe that means more focus. I’m not sure yet, and that’s okay.
With that I’d like to just go out there and lay my beliefs out on the line. Some or all or none of them might rear their heads in my writing this year, but I must acknowledge that my beliefs affect the way I approach life.
I believe that there’s nothing wrong with being a “progressive” but lately it’s been bandied about like a pejorative term. I’m claiming it. I believe in the importance of feminism. I believe that Black Lives Matter. I believe in the importance of multiculturalism. I believe in universal healthcare, longer paid maternity and paternity leave. I believe in trans rights. I believe in gender equality. I believe in a woman’s bodily autonomy. I believe in global warming, and in the importance of switching to green energy as soon as possible. I believe that Islam is not a religion of violence; violent people create a cult of violence. I believe that soon a woman will (and needs to) shatter that highest glass ceiling. I am pro-immigration. I believe that I am privileged and I need to remind myself every day of this bias when I form my opinions on the world. I believe that you can never, and should never stop learning about the issues. (And I believe that both the Labour Party in Britain and the Democrats in the US are facing very similar problems at the moment; thus I believe in disentangling legitimate grievances from intolerant populist rhetoric.)
I believe that in the US we should institute automatic voter registration. I believe that building a more progressive society by cutting done on predatory lending, increasing the lending wage, expanding public housing and public transit benefits everyone. On smaller issues I believe that if everyone took one for the team and had a few meatless days per week, the environment would greatly thank you for it. I believe in spending less in general and reducing fast fashion consumption. Buying less but better (or not at all). I believe that there’s no such thing as “clean eating” and it’s just a fad diet like any other, fed to you to make you feel inadequate and react by opening your wallet.
Agree with them, disagree with them, but those beliefs are mine.
So here are goals that I’ve set myself for 2017:
Whenever I hear microaggressions regarding myself or others instead of biting my tongue as I’m want to do, I will politely challenge the issue.
I will donate more of my time and money. Last year, Planned Parenthood was at the forefront of my mind.
I will continue to remind myself that hard-work isn’t just for personal gain, but improvement of the community.
I will continue to be curious and encourage transparency.
We must demand more of our politicians. Call your senators, call your representatives. Let their offices know your opinion as a constituent.
I will not “normalise” Trump. He’s a misogynist and a bully. Anyone who doesn’t adhere to basic respect of others should be challenged on it.
I will read more. And I will read the opposition more. I will read more critiques about the failures of the Democratic party. I will do more reading on euroskepticism and the leave vote.
I will remind my nieces and nephews that they can like pink or blue or orange or purple; they can do ballet and play in the dirt. I won’t use adjectives like “girly” to dissuade them from an activity.
I will stay optimistic.