2020 means business. With the world-wide pandemic and the mass awakening happening across our country right now, there has been a push for the entire human race to change - physically, mentally, and spiritually. The past few months and then the past few days have all been emotional, frustrating, eye-opening, and scary...and it's all been a huge turning point in our history. Although I realize these feelings and what we are being witness to are a lot to process for everyone, I think I've done enough 'inaction', so I'm sharing what my new 'normal' will be like...
I have had the privilege of knowing a lot of comforts in my life. I'm a white woman who went to catholic school K-12 and I went to the University of Wyoming for college. I now have two degrees, I have a home that I bought with my husband and completely remodeled, I have a full-time job doing what I'm passionate about and now I've started this business to give myself another opportunity to create more freely. I feel successful and happy. There have been hard times, though, to get to this place. I'm in my 5th job and 4th home since I graduated college in 2016. That's a lot of change in less than 4 years. I never thought I was ever really comfortable in where I was at because of all that constant change, but I understand now I never knew what being uncomfortable was like.
I have only met 4 people in my entire life who are black that I considered a friend at some point or another. 4. One person in grade school, one person in middle school, one person in high school, and one person in college. Because of the society and 'bubble' I was born into, I never saw (take this word consciously or unconsciously) racism and I never had the opportunity to choose to to be antiracist. So what was I? I've been struggling with that question. So far, my answer is that I was inactive. I wasn't seeing. I was comfortable in my privilege.
Well now I'm choosing to become an antiracist. I'm choosing to see. I'm going to learn. It's going to be a lot of work and it's going to be difficult to hold myself accountable because this is also going to be self-taught. I don't have kids yet, but it is something we plan for and I've started thinking about how to give them the opportunity to be antiracist. I'm trying to be actively aware of the current events that I can learn from and also gain a new perspective about past events that I should have been paying attention to.
I've been active on my Instagram this last week, dedicating my posts and stories entirely to sharing what I've learned and to amplify black voices + businesses. I want to say though, that I don't plan on stopping. I won't just be part of a 'status quo' week of learning and sharing. Here's what I plan to do:
Continue to read books and watch videos to know what is happening in my communities. I will be educated and I will learn.
Actively seek out business + organizations to support and donate to, owned by People of Color - I understand I wasn't seeing them because of my unconscious societal bias, so I'm going to figure out how to undo that.
Share information through this platform that I have created.
I need to add - I believe that at it's foundation, this is not a political issue - I've seen both sides manipulate this for their own agendas and I choose to ignore that for right now because it's very simple: this is a humanitarian issue and it deserves every ounce of the attention it is getting. I do, however, think there are serious flaws in our systems, policies + laws throughout our country and I will definitely be taking more action to recognize and speak up about what I do not like; but first and foremost we need to fix ourselves.
Here's how it makes the most sense to me: It's no secret around here that I love plants. That's not to say I'm a true 'plant lady', but I always aim to be. I've always found so much beauty in plants - from wildflowers to succulents, I love them ALL. They all have their own unique way of growing and each one is completely different even if growing on the same stem. We are all like plants. Taking a look at my garden (just succulents and lavender), it takes work to see them continue to thrive and to bloom. Continuous work. The plants will die if I don't continue the work. It has to be steady work though - I can't use a months worth of water in one day and say 'OK that plant is good for the next month'. It takes a consistent and precise amount of care, for as long as I want those plants to thrive, in order for it to be successful.
Yes I am relating my thoughts to plants. It's what's easy for me, and it could be for you which is why I'm actually sharing this in a blog post on my businesses website. It has been an emotional 7 days, both personally and with our nations' current events. I've done a lot of processing, thinking, researching, listening, and learning. At the beginning of the week, I dove head first into absorbing it all - from the Pandemic we are still in (ya, remember that?) to the Black Lives Matter movement that have both swept the entire world... and I'm ready to start creating a garden with new plants that I haven't learned how to take care of yet.
I have added a 'Learning' highlight to the Aspen + Veda Instagram page to hold myself accountable to continue the work. I have always tried to keep 'giving back' at the forefront of my life. I definitely could do more and I know there are millions of places that will always need the help. So this 'Learning' highlight will be a resource for us to see, to give to, and to grow from.
This business is a reflection of my truest self - it has taken vulnerability, courage, and constant work. So it will be part of my mission, at Aspen + Veda, to incorporate consistency in educating myself and sharing that with you...just like I do with the aspects of design that I'm passionate about. Social media and what you see on my website are just words, pictures, and some video snips showing only the content I want you to see. The real work happens when I'm reading a book, writing in my journal before bed, or even - when I have all my best ideas and can think the most clear - while in the shower (anyone else? lol). The goal, ultimately, is to be able to have a beautiful garden in the end to show for it.