Tuesday, May 25, 2021

Look-Alikes, Pt. 2

While I was at the dentist this afternoon, one of the hygienists said, "Weren't you my patient last week? You look just like Gwyneth Paltrow!"

Honestly, it was a nice compliment to get, since it's been a while. I mean, I've gained some weight this year (Thanks, COVID.), I don't have a nice golden tan anymore, and I haven't dyed my hair bright blonde since graduate school. AND I almost always wear my hair in a ponytail and/or bun.

Still, it was kinda cool to get that comparison. I'm still not sure what it is about us that is similar, but I'll take it! (Though she and I are rather different in our approaches to health, fitness, and alternative medicine, I don't mind looking like her.)

Thing I'm thankful for: a cool new husband by my side!

Every Human Emotion

I'm nearly five years late, but in this case, late really is better than never. That is, I just started reading -- listening to, rather -- Born A Crime, the autobiography of Trevor Noah. I'm only into it by a couple of chapters, but it's one of the best nonfiction books I've read/listened to in . . . well, maybe my life. Noah had me crying and laughing at the same time. It's truly gut-wrenching content, but he adds just enough humor to let his words sit with you a while in wonder.

If you only read one chapter of one book this year, let it be the first chapter of this book. It's called "Run," and it'll make you feel every human emotion.

That is all.

Thing I'm thankful for: comedians, who, incidentally, my dad once said were some of the most intelligent people on the planet. I quite agree.

Saturday, May 01, 2021

Rachel Hollis: A Case Study in Un-intentionality

I know, I know -- you're probably thinking, "Who are you and what have you done with Sara?" In other words, WHY am I writing about an "influencer?" Well, I'll tell you why: 1) She has caused a small kerfuffle online, and I read about it in The NY Times (Girl, Wash Your Timeline), and 2) Her brand (her personality?) have been directly at odds with mine recently.

So. What's all the fuss about? Well, in short, Rachel Hollis posted a photo on Instagram in 2015 that went viral. Since then, she has created Hollis Co., a lifestyle brand that sells products (e.g., journals, jewelry, water bottles, etc.), organizes inspirational conferences, and cheers women on by saying things like, "Girl, you got this." She has also written three best-selling books all about intentionality and confidence and believing in oneself. Her audience is largely white, middle class, Christian women, and they are devoted to her. After a series of missteps last year, however, and one big misstep about a month ago, several thousands are un-following her. They've started to question the person they've been following since 2018.

Well, here's what I think: They're right to question. I listened to her most recent podcast on the topic, and I've gotta say . . . It smacks of arrogance, and quite frankly, it's filled with thoughtlessness and carelessness. Essentially, she said some derogatory things online, and while trying to "own [her] mistakes" in this podcast, she instead shifted the blame:

  • "I wish that I hadn't had to go through something like this. I wish I hadn't had to hurt people [. . .]"
  • "I'm appreciative of what God and the universe put in front of me to learn."
  • "When this thing happened to me [. . .]"
Uh, what??? "Things" did not "happen" to her, nor did she "[have] to hurt people." The kicker for me, though, is when she hands everything over to "God and the universe." I'm so tired of people refusing accountability for their choices by handing everything over to "God" or "The Universe," and this is particularly egregious when that person is Rachel Hollis, who uses phrases such as "Be intentional," "Own your mistakes," and "Manifest your destiny."

Someone I know recently texted, "I wasn't ever intending on doing [this thing], but I guess the universe had other plans." My first response was to roll my eyes, but my second response has . . . been building over the last year and a half or so. Talking about God or The Universe in such a way is seductive -- what better way is there to ignore accountability? To avoid guilt? To get a pass for bad behavior?

Rachel Hollis's approach to an apology is a slap in the face to true intentional living; it's also an insidious message that says, "Here, let me teach you how to live an authentic life without actually taking accountability for my actions."

Thing I'm thankful for: my parents. My honest, loving parents who taught me what a deliberate life looks like.