Quinn and I met in college where I wish that I knew I was cool enough to be better friends with her. When you’re an English major in a writing class, it’s important to have people who get you and for me, there were few who got my writing like Quinn did. She still does. As time went on, we’ve gotten a lot closer and we’re still reading each other’s writing.
Not only does she maintain an incredible blog and Facebook account that you should definitely be following where she tackles the monumental subject of the white response to racial injustice, but she’s also a regular contributor to &/Both Magazine and we are honored to have her perspective.
Anyway, here’s Quinn. Know her, love her, follow her.
How do you want to introduce yourself to these readers?
My name is Quinn and I am a writer (I am practicing saying this and not feeling like a complete fraud). (eh-hem) I am a writer who has to work really hard to convince herself that she is worthy of this pursuit, worthy of this title. I so easily say “I am a knitter,” or “I am a runner” and know that these are true simply because these actions are a part of my lifestyle. Though writing is an essential part of my daily life, it is more difficult to talk about in the same way. I am learning to claim it simply because I love it and because it draws me closer to authenticity.
I write a blog about racial justice and contribute pieces on the same topic to And/Both. I am especially interested in the reckoning that white people need to have regarding our internalized racial superiority, our biases, and our complicity in systemic racism. I believe this work is pivotal in the fight against racial injustice, and while I try to inform people about the issues, I also explore the ways that racism bubbles up or lays dormant in me too. I am also a part of some really exciting equity efforts at the school where I work and in my community. This both drives me and exhausts me. There is so much to be done.
I am a mother of a three-year-old (sensitive, inquisitive, creative) boy who I am raising with my (sensitive, inquisitive, creative) husband.
Professionally, I am what is called a “resource teacher”. What that means, basically, is that I help kids who struggle learning and managing their tasks get a grip on the demands of high school and plan for their post-secondary futures. I also help guide the team that supports these kids (teachers, parents, admin) in the best ways to address these students’ needs.
What parts of your life are you finding most rewarding lately?
I am finding such satisfaction in giving myself permission to do what I love (refer to rant about being a writer). Writing is the most satisfying endeavor because in order to surrender to it, I am forced to do some serious inner work. It is difficult, makes me feel crazy-vulnerable, and elevates my spirit to a level that is only equal to the satisfaction of being a mother.
My son told me the other day that his favorite color is green because my eyes are green. I am not sure there is anything that compares to a little person showering this kind of love on you. So yeah… I have to say motherhood is pretty damn rewarding too.
What word/phrase resonates the most in your life?
This is hard.
I have been thinking a lot about confirmation bias lately. This concept has been a part of the national conversation as it relates to our news consumption and what we deem “reliable,” but I have recently heard it talked about in terms of what we believe about ourselves. So, if I believe that I am stupid, then my brain is primed to gather evidence to support this inherent belief and to disregard the evidence that contradicts it.
Telling myself things like “You are smart” has just felt like false optimism in the past – like seeing through rose-colored glasses. But I am realizing that it really only feels like lying. What is really happening is that I am only allowing the information that reiterates my destructive belief to resonate and to be retained. I am disregarding or skewing the evidence that contradicts it, keeping the belief in tact, no matter how corrosive it is.
This is not my original thought by any means. I heard it on a recently discovered podcast called Unf*ck Your Brain by Kara Loewentheil. She’s a life coach, and while sometimes too simplistic for my taste, she breaks things down in insightful ways. She says you have to change the belief first – as awkward and as trite as it may feel – before your brain is going to hold fast to the evidence to support the new belief.
What does your ideal day look like?
My ideal day is book-ended by days that are open and flexible. Is that fair? It has to be this way because the days on either end act as buffers for my “I should be doing __________” or “I am neglecting ___________” thoughts that constantly prevent me from fully enjoying the activities that feed my spirit. I feel like women (and especially moms) have this deep-seated conviction that they are supposed to be able to give their full attention and commitment to approximately 100,000 different people and pursuits. I am still learning how to quiet all these demanding voices so I can determine the 10 or so that I value – and then free myself up enough to respond to these one at a time, fully and thoughtfully. Some call this mindfulness. I call it sanity. At this point on the learning curve, I need these buffer days around my ideal day, so when these thoughts of obligation emerge, I can respond with “I did that yesterday” or “I’ll do that tomorrow.” Then I can sink deep into the creative, reflective, sloooooooooow pace that I never get enough of.
- You want me to be more specific? Okay:
- A morning run while the sun rises
- Hazelnut latte and almond croissant
- Short stories at a coffee shop
- Creative writing
- An outing with my son and husband (Wonderscope, library, or park)
- Dinner with my husband at Bluebird Bistro
- Knitting on the couch watching either a murder mystery or a dark comedy with the hubs
Quinn–thank you. Everything you said about writing–I’m just beaming huge “me too”s at you for that.