It’s not that I’m anti-normal, UNDERMININGnormal is a refuge from the heavy-handed rule of normal. Or what purports to be normal. Who says so? And why should I care? How does normal dictate value? If you act, believe, need, desire what is outside the norm, what’s the cost of being, well… you?
I have questions (and that doesn’t seem to be normal).
Undermining, for me, isn’t just about displacing or contradicting , it’s also about engaging with what has become the status quo, the usual state of things, the expectations and even the language delimiting what is and what can be —without disintegrating, bracing or ducking.
Undermining normal in my country would be to even talk about it . In my body, to stay in the conversation on my own terms — before I understand it, or know exactly what it is that I want, or how to make it happen, or have the language for it.
Staying in the room when you are outside the norm (are against it or oppressed by it or not sure where you are) is not easy to do.
This is where Jenny Odell’s notion of resistance in place comes in.
To resist in place is to make oneself into a shape that cannot so easily be appropriated by a capitalist value system. To do this means refusing the frame of reference: in this case a frame of reference in which value is determined by productivity, the strength of one’s career, and individual entrepreneurship. It means embracing and trying to inhabit somewhat fuzzier or blobbier ideas of: maintenance as productivity, of the importance of nonverbal communication, and the of the mere experience of life as the highest goal. It means recognizing and celebrating a form of the self that changes over time, exceeds algorithmic description, and whose identity doesn’t always stop at the boundary of the individual . —How To Do Nothing by Jenny Odell, Introduction p.xvi
I don’t know if questioning our capitalist value system resonates for you, but if you’re reading along, something about your own sense of being is not served by something in the status quo , and I think exploring this notion of resisting in place (as described above, or as you would take it on) can lead to a nice clearing for a picnic.
As we end out the calendar year, I invite you to consider resistance in place in your world, in your body —because one way or another, the tension between being an individual and the collective as portrayed by, possibly controlled by the government, your family, friends, workplace, business world, social life, the media and news is impacting you .
It’s a constantly shifting relationship, or it could be…
This is for women who who like some camaraderie around their personal pursuits, the questions, ideas, interests, challenges, aspirations, on the way to discovering and creating the paths that will lead you there.
If this is your kind of thing, or you’d like it to be, sign up to receive invitations to UNDERMININGnormal living room picnics.
UNDERMININGnormal is where deep-thinking, change-seeking women can find community, care and unhurried space for conversations we don’t usually get to have.
Also, some more info is available here —