I know what you’re thinking.
How do sarcasm, obsessions and stamina have anything to do with each other? Well, to be perfectly honest, the word “Humor” in place of “Sarcasm” wouldn’t have resulted in a clever acronym. Insert sarcastic tone. But seriously, bear with me as I connect the dots.
The definition of sarcasm: mocking, contemptuous, or ironic language intended to convey scorn or insult. Yikes! Admittedly, that doesn’t sound very positive.
But I believe an extended definition could include: language intended to bring negative situations, different opinions or stereotypes to light in an effort to encourage open dialogue and bring about positive solutions, compromise or acceptance.
I love comedian Lee Camp (although not for the faint of heart) and unconventional, tattooed Lutheran Pastor Nadia Boltz-Weber of House for All Sinners & Saints who use this extended definition of sarcasm as a tool for social justice.
We live in a world that is so polarized and unwilling to compromise.
The brilliance of sarcasm as a tool for social justice is that 1) it gets people to lighten up long enough to actually listen and 2) it gets people to acknowledge or at least think about the injustices in the world. And isn’t that the first step towards change?
We all know the famous Gandhi quote “be the change you want to see in the world.” I wholeheartedly agree. But what we tend to do is box ourselves in with those on the same side of an issue.
We end up just preaching to the choir.
And so are we really affecting change at all when we aren’t reaching those who are on the other side of the issue?
So where am I going with all this silliness on this beautiful blog by one of the loveliest humans I’ve ever met?
Watching the above activists use sarcasm to affect change got me thinking about how we approach those who aren’t doing or believing what WE think they should be doing or believing.
We love to point fingers, protest and condemn.
There has to be a better way of approaching those on the other side of an issue. So what are some ways to reach out to these “others”?
I’ve had the most productive and civil conversations on Facebook with people who have different beliefs and opinions than me. I know social media has its flaws but it is a great tool for open dialogue in a way that feels safe for both parties. Of course, it requires two people willing to be kind and open.
I believe the person approaching sets the tone. Go in with an open mind and willingness to listen and you will more than likely get a civilized conversation and probably learn something new about the other side of the issue.
It’s easy to invite these “others” into our boxed in view of the world. We want to show them that our minds are growing the right kind of ideas that are nourished by our boxed in environment.
But if we want to plant seeds in their minds, shouldn’t we explore their world and learn about the conditions of their environment?
Sure, that means possibly putting yourself in an unfamiliar and uncomfortable position. But wouldn’t it be helpful to understand or at least see where they are coming from?
My friend and local celebrity Randy Harris is giving my community the opportunity to reach out to their “others”, but on neutral ground. He facilitates The Great Conversation.
Quoting his blog, it is a “series that provides an opportunity to engage in passionate, civil, respectful discussion about important issues ranging from current affairs to timeless human questions that affect us all.” This conversation is box free. People on all sides of the issue willingly come together to dialogue.
The boxes we create for ourselves tend to be like members-only clubs. And for an outsider looking in that can be intimidating. And so why would they even attempt to enter?
You’ll recognize Randy by his hearty laugh, open mind, solar ovens, moped scooter and to contradict all that, a cigarette with an inch long ash on the end. He’s the master of staying out of a box, which is why his Great Conversations are such a hit.
So instead of a box, I’m in the process of creating multiple circles that overlap each other. Boxes are so uninviting if you think about it. Four sides with sharp corners that bump up against each other.
Do you truly belong to ONLY one members-only club? If your answer is yes, I invite you to ask yourself why. Are you afraid to think outside of that box? OR are you hiding some thoughts that don’t fit in that box?
I’m a visual learner learner and so I thought it would be helpful to create a visual. Here are three of my members-only clubs overlapping:
I have friends that fit into one or two categories. I have yet to find a friend that fits into all three. BUT that may be because I don’t freely advertise my membership in all these clubs.
I’m working on embracing my contradictions unapologetically.
What contradictions reside in your personality? And are you capable of embracing them unapologetically? And what’s the benefit of embracing our contradictions?
When we embrace our contradictions it makes us authentic. Authenticity is beautiful, approachable and believable. And it gives us the ability to make our separate circles overlap. This non-intimidating structure will allow our friends to explore our other circles. In doing so, we now have the ability to plant seeds in their minds that may actually grow.
So how does this all connect with the other two words in my title? Your guess is as good as mine at this point. Like I said, I just really wanted to have a clever acronym in the title to catch your attention. Plus, I added “Part 1” to my title so I can sleep on it and connect the dots in a 3-part series.
But for now I’m off to teach my Yin yoga class, which is focused on the energetic body, then to visit a dear friend who is a Methodist minister-in-training to discuss our love of Jesus’s teachings and the progressive Christian movement. You heard me right. Let the embracing of my contradictions and advertising of my different club memberships begin.
Kicking down the walls of my box and taking names…
DEIDRA SCHAUB is a self-proclaimed hippie nonsense momma, yoga instructor imposter, recycled paper jewelry artisan, essential oil pusher and wannabe activist. She spends her days laughing and making jokes at inappropriate times as a defense mechanism, exploring her obsessions (a.k.a. hobbies and work), and putting off housework (to her patient husband’s dismay) to change the world. She lives in her home state of New Mexico but has lived in the southeast which thankfully exposed her to different beliefs, ideas and views. Moving quite a bit as a child and her love of creating new opportunities has caused a constant itch to uproot her family just as she’s officially settled into a community. Visit her website www.riffraffjewelry.com to view her current obsessions and feel free to contact her if you think your community could use her brand of sarcasm.