Exploring how to be positive and patient
I’ve written before about being positive and as a rule I’m quite good at keeping a glass half-full approach to life. Remembering to be grateful and kind is key. I have to admit though that in the last couple of weeks I’ve struggled to be patient or positive. At times it has felt like “I’ve had to fake it to make it.” As Brene Brown would say in the Gifts of Imperfections, which I've mentioned before, I’ve needed to ‘dig deep’.
Somehow ‘digging deep’ seems to have worked and when I woke up this morning it felt almost like a switch had flipped and I could see things more positively.
Looking for the Positives
July has brought both ups and downs.
On the plus side, and it is a big plus, my lovely Saint Mick of Thana is back in Beech Close full time. At the risk of gushing, he is the kindest, most quietly supportive fellow I could ever wish for. On the downside he snores a lot.
It is sad not to have said a proper goodbye to Bangkok, but we can perhaps return there one day. In the meantime I’ve got all my friends’ Facebook photos of them hopping from one beach to another as a means of reminding me of how lovely Thailand is – grrrr… not jealous at all! I say that tongue-in-cheek as I know many of them would have much preferred to travel home and see their family this summer and are actually making the best of their own difficult situations.
These incredibly cute photos of my friend's little girls and her husband doing a nappy car change reminded me how travelling with infants can be a bit full on. You need to pack everything except the kitchen sink!
Getting Better after Health Concerns
We have had a couple of health setbacks this month. My dad’s foot had become infected whilst at his rehab centre and he had to be admitted to hospital. This was a good call as intravenous antibiotics are quick and effective. It has been a challenge though. Poor communication and missing x-ray paperwork meant he had to stay in hospital longer than was strictly needed. Having said that some of the teams up at the hospital have been brilliant. Looking back at my blog I was writing about the NHS and my dad’s health about a year ago. I am afeared middle age is making me repetitive!
The noisy hospital environment is not good for my dad’s well being so I felt ridiculously relieved to finally get him moved back to rehab late on Wednesday night. The hundred plus phone calls (largely to an automated generated machine who couldn’t understand me), and the missing sets of newly bought clothing I took in for him faded away into insignificance.
A big positive is that dad’s new room in the rehab centre has a window, so for the first time in a month we were able to go wave to him yesterday. Dad looked tired but quite well considering the trauma of the last couple of weeks. He gave us a smile and a wave. Dad seems to have left hospital ‘sans hearing-aid’ so this week’s task is to get a new one organised. Once more … grrrrrr….
Little did my dad know that at the same time he was back in hospital he had one of his granddaughters just down the corridor from him in a different ward. My typically understated and calm Annie found herself in tons of pain with what we thought was a kidney infection, but what turned out to be a kidney stone. There followed three nights in hospital. Her main response was that she was ‘relieved she hadn’t been making a fuss or being melodramatic for nothing.”
Annie is now back home recuperating on the sofa and doing lots of extra hours for her virtual internship to make up for the time she missed during her stay in hospital. She is resilient, funny and kind and makes me proud. That’s a lot to be positive about.
With all this ill-health Mick and I didn’t manage to get to go down to Torquay as planned. This was disappointing as we had hoped to surprise my lovely friend Carolyn who lives down there, but there will be other opportunities to see her.
I have had some lovely reminders this week of how lucky I am to have some great friends.
Carolyn sent the girls and me these lovely hearts to which cheered us up no end. Another great friend Jackie and her gorgeous son Bill sent me a pampering set. I’m looking forward to closing the bathroom door (in this overcrowded bungalow!) and having a lovely quiet relaxing bath. As I light a candle with a relaxing and soothing scent, I’ll also perhaps indulge myself with a nice cup of one of the specialist teas my other dear friend Rachel sent me a couple of weeks ago.
My friends are a tower of support and for that I’m very grateful. The gifts are an added bonus which just prove how spoiled I am!
Despite our aborted trip to Torquay it isn’t all gloom and doom for the Flint Smith family re holidays. Annie did manage to get to Spain for a week to collect her belongings. I think that was bittersweet for her, so I’m pleased she has come back home to us before heading back to London in September. Betsy has also managed a little mini-break with her boyfriend. They opted to go to Liverpool. I’m not really sure why, but they seem to have had fun.
Trying to be Patient
I am naturally quite a self-reflective person and in recent years I’ve been surprisingly positive. I don’t think, however, I need to dig particularly deep to discover that I am not a patient person. I always want things completing ‘yesterday’. I think this is partly why this further setback for my dad has been so frustrating. It is, of course, much more challenging for him and my mum. They don’t deserve it.
These last few months have felt a little crazy. We need to be patient just a little bit longer regarding the timescale of getting my dad home to mum. We’ve had a small blip, but can now look forward positively. We are back on track though and that’s a big positive. Some things we simply can’t change, so as my mum says, “what can’t be cured must be endured.”
A couple of years ago I wouldn’t have predicted that the whole family would be back living in the UK, not currently working and coming out the other side of a global health pandemic. We have got through it so far and are so much luckier than many people.
I have had the huge bonus of having the girls at home with me all through lockdown. I’ve had several months of enjoying their company and not having to worry at all about everything that comes alongside their living away from home. I know that they can’t stay forever, but I’ve got them a little bit longer yet. That’s a massive positive for me.
We’ve got some figuring out of our future to do, but there’s no rush. Mick is enjoying being able to see more of his mum and dad. I even heard talk of him picking up a paintbrush over at their house!
Once the girls have returned to their lives, (which I guess they do have to!) I’ll still have my Saint Mick of Beech Close here with me. For now, I’ll hold on to that as the biggest positive of all.
Book Review of Reni Eddo-Lodge's Why I'm No Longer Talking To White People About Race
Reni Eddo-Lodge's Why I'm No Longer Talking To White People About Race was first published in 2017. It shares a title with a blog post she published in 2014, but wrote in 2012 with the same title. She explains how she doesn't wish to discuss race with those white people who are defensive about their 'own white privlege and those white people who don't even believe that it exists. With such a strong opening the reader (if white) is immediately required to reflect on their own attitudes towards racism and forced to confront what may be uncomfortable for them.
The irony of Eddo-Lodge's claim that she isn't talking about race, when she spends most of her working life doing just that in the white publishing world isn't lost on her. Neither is the knowledge that she is inevitably going to have the reprisals and character assassinations that come from the discussion of race. Eddo-Lodge is rightly angry and forceful.
In Why I'm No Longer Talking To White People About Race Eddo-Lodge clearly shows the legitimacy of the claim that structural racism and its symptoms continue to be rampant in today's society. She does though express hope as she describes how in 2017 she felt that, despite the continuation of far right political progress, the world climate was finally ready to discuss racism. The current popularity of this text must, of course, be related to the 'Black Lives Matter' movement. Eddo-Lodge's claim in the final sentence of ther book 'It's happening right now' was, at the time of publishing, an incredibly accurate prediction of the imminent future
The structure of the text cleverly separates issues into topics in order to enable the reader to consider specific aspects of racism before bringing it back together in order to demonstrate the wider picture of the origins and continuaton of structural racism at all societal levels. Why I am No Longer Talking To White People about Race is a very comprehensive account of the history of racism. It's chapters on how racism needs to be considered specifically when exploring issues relating to women and class had me reeling. Eddo-Lodge skilfully shows how even in these marginal groups racism exists.
Even though, the time is, I think, ripe for the success of Why I'm No Longer Talking To White People About Race it is currently attaining, it wouldn't be popular if it wasn't so honest and accessible. Eddo-Lodge is quick to admit her own failings and concerns. For example, she questions whether it is appropriate to use the Grenfell Tower Disaster to prove a point when the grief that people are feeling is so raw. This openness and tiny glimpses of self-doubt makes Eddo-Lodge very readable. That's not to say that she is a beacon of humble self-effacement. She is a strong, forceful powerful women whose angry voice rightly asserts itself through the pages.
Book Discussion Questions on Why I'm No Longer Talking To White Poeple About Race
These questions are all based on an acceptance that structural racism and white privilege exists.
How did the title make you feel? Could you relate to the sentiment expressed?
Did you learn anything from Reni-Eddo's book that you hadn't known before?
What was the value to you of reading Why I'm No Longer Talking About Race to White People?
Do you think many people will read this book and completely dispute the validity of the arguments made in it?
If Reni-Eddo was here now what would you ask her?
Having read the book what do you think white privilege means?
Do you think anyone can be completely without prejudice?
Do you think you or 'people' more generally would respond differently to the book if it was written by a man?
Is it uncomfortable discussing this book in a bookclub environment? Why is this?
if the movement is happening now how will you contribute to it? Discuss?
Is there anything you disagree with in Eddo-Lodge's account of society?
Do you think there will be many book groups discussing this text? Why or why not?
How would you describe Reni Eddo Lodge's character?
What chapter of the book did you find most revealing and interesting? Why?
What emotions did you feel as you read the book?
Has reading this book changed your perception about racism? How? Will it change your behaviour?
Is age an excuse for racism?
How would you respond to someone who rejects the 'black Lives Matter' statement by claiming that 'all lives matter?
If you are a white person do you feel that reading Eddo-Lodge's book has helped give you a platform for discussing racism more freely? Why or why not?
Wold you like to explore how different members of the groups' experiences regarding racism have been different? What can you learn from each other?
If structural racism pervades our society what can you do to help eradicate it?
Is it possible to feel as passionately about inequality if you are not experiencing it?
Personal Response to Why I'm No Longer Talking To White People About Race
One reading of Why I'm No Longer Talking To White People About Race is not enough. A second reading allows the reader to assimilate and reflect calmly on the points that the reader reacts emotionally to the first time through For anyone who is struggling to really accept the extent of racism that underpins our modern world this book is a real eye-opener. Eddo-Lodge has claimed that white guilt isn't helpful and rather it is white action that is required. She is right but it is hard to not dwell on the guilt. This was an important point for me to consider.
This powerful, focused book on race is the first about this issue that I've seen become a best-seller. It is an essential read,