Underbelly: 10 Things - Illiterate


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Wendy Kelly
Wendy Kelly
#137 in a series of wild and precious observations on communication

This week I contemplated communication — And when it goes awry. I contemplated what we should and should not say in order to be helpful. I contemplated misunderstandings.
What a week.
Most of the week was humorous, which seems to be a very helpful way to introduce complicated learnings into my life. So, welcome.
The simple, quiet, humorous main story this week happened in the group chat my sister and I have with our mom. She is quite the trooper sticking with my sister and I when we go on long hilarious-to-us rabbit holes for days.
This time, we were laughing at her. She had no idea, which we found even more hilarious.
Turns out, we had misread the original text.
Several days in, I finally showed my husband the original text that had made us laugh for days. “Isn’t this funny?” I asked. “Why hasn’t she caught on? Isn’t it funny?”
He looked at me. “You’d been away for a week,” he replied.
Ahhh…Yes. So. I had. The entire exchange had occurred on Wednesday.
“When will you be back?” asked my mom.
“Friday,” I replied.
“Wow, that’s a whole week away!” She enthusiastically reacted.
My sister and I quickly side glanced telepathically :) and started making jokes about 2-day weeks and other time-fluid hilarity.
Friday was in fact only 2 days away. I, however, had been away for a week.
So - why does any of this matter?
Since February of 2021, I have been quietly writing this weekly newsletter in a holding pattern as I care for my youngest teenager who needs me. As I write, I have been leaning in a bit, listening more closely. Kind of putting my ear to the ground as it were.
Last night I heard an impassioned and a bit inarticulate podcast on homelessness in San Diego. The people on the ground, the ones who had befriended the homeless and were working hard to help people, were being interviewed. Their message was: Solutions exist. They are effective and doable.
I am so, so grateful for you who come back weekly and give me a bit of a reason to continue this holding pattern. Each week, I have used this newsletter habit as a reason to listen a bit more closely, to quieten, to stay calm and reflective. I hear from you so I know that for at least some of you, this newsletter welcomes you to do the same.
What I am noticing is that when we quieten ourselves and become reflective, we can hear better. With more depth, with more grace.
We can hear past both slick talk and loud bluster. We can hear past inarticulate speech and tired rambling. We can hear the pulse, the breath, the heart of the message. I submit that this is possibly a large part of where I believe I would like to head with you :)
I’d love some feedback as I (possibly) rest and reset over this coming week.
Thank you.
“Anytime we’re a part of any group that has strong beliefs, it’s pretty unlikely that we’re going to rethink any opinions or decisions.” — Adam Grant, interviewed by Shankar Vedantam on Hidden Brain, You 2.0: How to Open Your Mind
“In the United States, we often praise people with strong convictions, and look down on those who express doubt or hesitation.” — Opening blurb for Hidden Brain, You 2.0: How to Open Your Mind
3. Prompt
When was the last time you rethought an opinion or decision?
4. Quest
I’d love to offer you the excuse to reflect and possibly enter a state of hesitancy or doubt about something you feel strongly about :)
No need to do an about face, or completely change your mind. Simply decide that you do not know. Decide that you very well could be wrong. Choose something you feel quite strongly about.
5. Level up
At that moment when you begin to turn toward someone else and remember just how much that person needs to change their mind, turn it back to yourself. No need to change your mind, simple decide that you do not know and you may be wrong.
6. Video
Adam Grant on Non-Conformists
Adam Grant on Non-Conformists
7. Video
Adam Grant: Turning takers into givers
Adam Grant: Turning takers into givers
8. Poem
“So Quietly” by Leslie Pinckney Hill - Poems | poets.org
9. Hero
Sacagawea: Facts, Tribe & Death - HISTORY - HISTORY
10. Connect
Don’t miss out on the other issues by Wendy Kelly
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Wendy Kelly
Wendy Kelly @wendykkelly

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