Tag Archives: experience

Money, the value of a human, and what it means to apply empathy at scale

I made a lot of money last year.

I don’t have any of it, but I made it.

A significant amount went to the staggering cost of living in San Francisco for close to a year.

Another large chunk went to friends and family for various reasons – art and music projects, trips to see relatives, etc – in other words, I gave it to people who were engaged in growing their careers / passions, their families, and their hearts.

I also tipped more frequently / in higher amounts than I ever have, gave money to charitable orgs, and regularly bought food and other items for folks living on the street (most of the time I do these things quietly and quickly – there’s a more nuanced point about why, which I’ll get to later).

Then, about a month ago, I was laid off. While it wasn’t my favorite moment of the year, it certainly wasn’t the worst either.

Losing a job will definitely make you consider what growth, personal and collective, is about
Losing a job will definitely make you consider what growth, personal and collective, is about

As I write this, I’m helping bootstrap a journalism startup from $0, have a bank account in the low hundreds, and am scratching together freelance writing & content planning/strategy to make my bills.

Oddly, I’m fairly comfortable with the situation – something that surprises even me at times.

Continue reading Money, the value of a human, and what it means to apply empathy at scale

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On being held captive by trauma, and our need to be made whole

A friend of mine was in a car accident 7 months ago and hasn’t been the same since.

He was broadsided by someone illegally crossing three lanes of traffic and thrown hip first into a curb, then ended up in a pile of gravel on the street corner.

On Friday he was struck again, just a block from his home, but fortunately this time it caused damage only to his car and not his body.

We ate dinner together today and he talked about passing both places on his way to meet me. At the place of the first accident he both wanted to avoid looking and was also drawn to its’ features….the disturbed gravel (thinking, it could not be the same as it was months ago could it?), the rubber tracks on cement, and the feeling “this is where life shifted.”

Narratives of trauma are bound up in notions of both self and culture. The body and mind struggle to equip the traumatized person with explanations and/or support that will ease suffering, perceived and real. In fact, in many cases of trauma that distinction often ceases to exist at all. Our signposts stop being literal/scientific pieces of information (is my knee healed, can I breathe properly) and shift to another realm. We become dependent on and starved for symbolism, and meaning.

Continue reading On being held captive by trauma, and our need to be made whole