Monday, May 7, 2007

active

I've had an idea for a while of hosting a party.
I was inspired by this website, momsrising.org, an advocacy group for family-friendly policies. They produced a documentary about the issues, and I got a DVD. They recommend that people hold house parties and show the movie, then have conversations about the issues/ideas it raises, to try to raise awareness about the current state of affairs, and some ideas for how to change things.
All good, right? Fun party, being active and helping other moms, helping other people to find a better life, and making our society more livable for everyone. And with a movie, we could even make popcorn!

So I haven't actually planned anything yet. Part of it is that it's hard to have projects when your day is divided up into 10 minute chunks.
But that's not the only reason.

I have never really been an activist. I've always thought I should be spending time doing dogooderness of some kind. But I've never really done anything. Sure, I serve in my church, and give money, and be kind to people, but it's not the same thing. I've never really had a cause (except for my faith, which calls me to do dogooderness as part of showing God's work in my life).
I've always been a bit uncomfortable with causes. I think to be active in stuff, you really have to be sold on something, and willing to put yourself on the line to make something happen. You have to be full-bore about something and identify yourself with it.
I'm always so wishy-washy I am never sure about really committing to causes.
Actually, I think a lot of it is fear of looking stupid.
I kind of have a pathological fear of looking stupid. So much so that if I play games with Dyami and lose frequently, I get bent out of shape, because I am so afraid of being "bad" at, say, Duck Duck Goose.

So to invite a bunch of people to my house and show a video, I have to say, This is my cause! Join me! Aren't you excited about this too? Isn't this important?
What if everyone yawned? Or said, hmmm, I don't find this very compelling? Or, why are you sending me an invite for a cause? I need to go do something better with my time.

Okay, this is all sounding like a really bad case of "everyone like me" syndrome.
Sigh. Will I never get out of junior high?

The thing is, I am tired of being so wishy washy. I am tired of being cynical about causes. I am tired of not being willing to put myself on the line. I don't think being cowardly about letting people know I care about things is a good way to spend my thirties. (I'm almost thirty, by the way. At the end of the month. !)

Today Dyami and I were talking about feminism, and some of the issues the movie raises (he hasn't seen it), and in typical Dyami fashion, he raised some good points of critique with the way I described things. And then I got all bent out of shape because he was critiquing me.
I realized, after I calmed down, that it's that same fear of looking stupid. Because I am a baby, learning about all of these issues, and I don't really understand them all that well. And I don't know that much about them yet. So who am I to "raise awareness"? Who am I to invite people to a party about them? Doesn't that just smack of the novice, getting super excited about something she doesn't even understand all that well?

Anne Lamott descirbes the voices in her head as a radio station, called KFKD. (FKD stands for a bad word, okay?). The station plays all negative commentary, all the time. Shooting down any idea she has as stupid, irrelevant, hopelessly naive, etc.
I have no idea what the woman is talking about. Really, I don't.

I'm turning off the radio! I am taking a stand!
I am making an evite! I am inviting people! Whether or not they will judge me! I am joining a cause!
Just as soon as I get back from vacation.

Note: If you would be interested in coming to said party (or parties--I might hold more than one, since our house is small), you should comment, saying so. It will motivate me to get off my keister and actually follow through. And no, I have no idea what I will be doing about childcare (have kids there? Take kids to park? Who knows?). But I know we can figure something out.

8 comments:

Melissa said...

Hey, good for you! I've been wanting to see that movie anyhow! You know, you could have a "let's explore these issues" party without it being a "I'm super hyped for this cause for ever and ever amen" kind of party. Just a thought.

And... this will make me unpopular, but... I wouldn't have big kids there. Babies/toddlers, sure, but I think it will be easier to generate thoughtful, in-depth conversation without little pitchers. Just my 2 cents.

Corrie said...

I'd come! You'll invite dads too, right?

Also, if you need someone to take the big kids to the park, I'll volunteer for that too.

amy said...

I'll come! And I'll offer to call some high school sitters for the kids (they could even hang out at our place, since we live close) if that would be useful.

Heather said...

Oh, you guys! Sniff! You make me feel so loved! You like me, you really like me!
Cool! Movie night! With everyone!
And yes, dads are welcome.
and melissa, if you're willing to go kidless, I don't feel as awkward saying it might be a good idea. I understand if people can't come because of it...but it would be easier to have free-flowing conversation.

Michelle said...

I would come too
especially if you want an expert opinion! HAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!! I am soooooo funny I crack myself up. What movie is it again? Politics involved? E would be interested in that too. You know, Sally, one day Junior High will be officially OVER! We love you!!!

Heather said...

yes, michelle, it's political. But not really partisan. which is nice. I was planning on inviting Enrique. :) This is all of our problem, not just the womens'.

AlegraMarcel said...

I wanna come, too!

I've been wanting to see this movie for a long time. I have considered throwing a party myself, but hey, I'm not even a mom, so I would really feel stupid jumping onto the "mom's cuase."

No, I'm kidding, I realize this is a family and society issue, not just a mom issue, and as I understand, that is the point the movie takes.

I see your hesitation and "joining a cause." I definitely jumpe a few bandwagons in college, but I don't regret it all. First, I'm not like that anymore (thank God!). Second, I learned a lot from it; I learned about the cuases and becmae more infomred, and I learned about wht kind of person I am and what kind of activist I am.

Activism takes many many forms, and dogooding is one of them, IMO. In that case, you've been an activist for a long time, disguised under a different name :)

And kudos to Melissa - I was going to say it, but she already did: you could have a "let's explore these issues" party without it being a "I'm super hyped for this cause for ever and ever amen" kind of party.

Heather said...

okay, alegra! you're invited.