The Color Scheme of a Love Story [Day 6/365]

Today was a writing day of something I hope to have out your way soon. (Wish me luck on that!!!πŸ˜‚)

It’s the tale of two soulmates, and the colors of their souls are mentioned in the story, since they’re fae … and, well, fae are ALL about the color of their auras! They know their color like you know your eye color.

No finished story for you yet, but here’s a novice rendering of their color scheme of their energies tangling.

Orange and purple yin-yang. Tiki and Mowgli

Day 2: “It’s a Gas, Gas, Gaslit World” Movie Poster Mock-up

Mock-up poster for "It's a Gas, Gas, Gaslit World" The Must Un-See Documentary of 2020!

As part of building my new business, I will be posting unique content every day as I learn new skills.

One of those skills is art.

And I have A LOT to learn so, for now, I need to constrain myself to what I can produce in a day to meet my posting goals. But the hope is that what that end-product looks like improves across the days and months to come.

If you have a pro tip, feel free to share! I’m looking to improve and it will certainly be fun to go back and create second and final drafts with a year of practice under my belt.

For now, however, I will give myself permission to make mock-ups that are more like artistic direction than final products as I work on what kind of a visual artist I actually am.

But step 1: Capture concepts and moments of inspiration before they pass by!

New Beginnings: 9-13-2020

9-13-2020 could just be another beautiful, autumn day, but I’m choosing to make it something more in my personal world.

Like the trees all around me, it’s time to shed the foliage of days gone by to pave the way for new growth. That’s why I’m making today a birthday of sorts for a year-long adventure where I explore everything under the sun as I build something new.

If you’ve known me for years and wondered when I would really step on the gas on showing up publicly: This is it.

The time for dabbling is done.

The time has come for the world and I to dance publicly … which is pretty unnerving for me because metaphorical dance-offs are not my specialty. But it’s time to get over that and dance out the metaphors anyway.

It’s game-time and I’m letting myself be drafted to a new team. It’s the same one my grandma played for before me, and this was her creed:

One thing I’ll never say at death’s door is
“I wish I would have …”
for I will have done everything.

Later on in her life, when I was a teen, my grandma pulled me aside and affirmed this same mindset to me. She said, “Sheralyn, when I die, I don’t want you to be sad for me. Dying is the only thing I haven’t done yet, and I’m quite excited to see how it plays out. It will be my biggest adventure yet.”

Of course, I mourned her when she passed. I bawled — wishing I could re-do so many moments with second chances. But I also smiled, knowing she was on the other side of a great adventure where she left everything on the table. She was proud of who she became and what she’d done, and that was what mattered.

Now, after decades of living life in more conservative ways of being, I think it’s time to take a page from my grandma in removing the phrase “I wish I would have…” from my vocabulary until I live life so fully that I get to the one thing I haven’t done yet.

That sounds like a life well-lived to me.

But it also means I need to hit the ground running and pick up my pace from there because I’m late to the game of betting on myself and building a reputation on purpose.

After years of building other companies, I’m finally going to put that same effort into myself to build a vision of my own. It might take a bit or it might happen quickly, but — starting today — you will watch a lifestyle brand of ethically sourced products grow before your very eyes. And you will be excited to buy my products because they will inspire you to show up in life more fully.

It’s going to be amazing. And I hope some of the people reading this right now become the future partners who help me grow the brand.

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. One step at a time.

First, I need to shed the clinging leaves/habits of days gone by to make room for the new growth. Then, I need to grow — building new skills and attracting talented partners into win-win business relationships.

I need to show up with the same vision and tenacity my grandma did until the word impossible simply means “something someone hasn’t accomplished yet” while building something that didn’t exist before me but is passed like a torch by those who wish to keep it going after me.

After all, my grandma didn’t trailblaze the way she did through the entirety of the 20th century so I could sit on my laurels in the comforts of modern society and say, “Gee, wasn’t she great? They just don’t make ’em like they used to! Too bad because the world is really going to hell and could use someone like her right about now.”

Nope, it’s time to show up. And I’m writing this post to both kick off my venture and hold myself accountable. NO OPTING OUT this time — which is something I have a history of doing.

Old Me would look at any future lack of engagement as a reason not to broadcast what I’m doing and hold off on sharing until I have something final and perfect.

New Me is just going to get louder in the silence. #youvebeenwarned

So welcome to Sheralyn Pratt’s Vision of the World Roller Coaster Ride!

Please, do ANYTHING BUT keep your arms and legs inside the ride at all times. Please, sprawl out like a blissed-out starfish, make involuntary noises, or flail like a random air-puffed mascot trying to sell you a used car. Because you’re about to witness ADHD on full-throttle, which is best experienced in a non-locked position.

Many find it dizzying. That is a normal side-effect of vicarious ADHD, so best practice is to embrace the sensation and go with it!

Some days, it might get a little crazy. This means I’m doing something right and it’s where the fun starts.

My hope is that you’ll join the fun with me on the journey to the gift shop on the other side. Because it may look like I’m doodling randomness or posting things that lead nowhere, but I will DEFINITELY be building a brand, a vision, and a company out of this.

I have the URL ready to go (and have had it for a while). I have the logo. I have the tagline, values, voice, and promise — all of which I’ll reveal to you in phases as I build something with the potential of outliving me and enriching lives to come.

My grandma did it during her time on this earth; now it’s my turn.

And today is the kick-off of getting down to the business: 9-13-2020.

It’s official.

Established September 13, 2020.

Let’s see what we can build in a year, shall we?

Topic: Toy Troll Buttons

It’s amazing how quickly times change.

When I was growing up, an unadvertised button between the legs of a child’s toy that makes multiple gleeful noises when you press it would get a company boycotted and banned overnight.

They’d be done.

These days, not so much. These days, opinions are split.

So let’s talk about it.

Here are two screen grabs from a mother who posted a video about the feature that raised concerns after her daughter received a doll at her birthday party.

The mother posts a clip showing how the button between the legs is not advertised or disclosed on any of the packaging. She then demonstrates the sounds the doll makes when the button is pushed.

You can watch her clip here:

Doug Stanglin, Breaking News Editor of USA Today, was quick to post the other side of the story, stating that Hasbro & Dreamworks intended the button to make happy sounds when the doll is sat down, and that not all dolls have a button between their legs.

Julie Duffy, Hasbro’s Senior VP for Global Communications, email response to USA TODAY’s inquiry reads:

β€œThis feature was designed to react when the doll was seated, but we recognize the placement of the sensor may be perceived as inappropriate. This was not intentional, and we are happy to provide consumers with a replacement Poppy doll of similar value through our Consumer Care team. We are in the process of removing the item for purchase.”

(In his fact-check article, Stanglin also links directly to the concerned mom’s personal Facebook profile when naming her as the original complainant, but he does not link to the video itself … a tactic I have opinions about, but let’s stay focused for now.)

My question: Does Hasbro’s response satisfy you?

I’m genuinely asking because our country is quickly moving into a place where the companies we support will forge our future environment to the point of being omnipresent, and I only see one side of the political spectrum voting with their money and their business: the Progressive Left.

In the 20th century, it was the exact opposite.

When I was growing up, it was the Conservative Right that staunchly voted with their money, and I think it was my generation’s (Gen X) response to be a little more chill and relaxed about supporting different values.

Gen X is the middle-child of generations — those raised by conservative Boomers who then turned around and decided not to be so value-strict with their own children, inadvertently becoming a bridge between the diverging values on either side of themselves.

In the 20th century, the conservatives were the power players who didn’t support anything that didn’t match their values. The conservative market was so strong that Coca-Cola built special Coke factories to make caffeine-free Coke in my city. Movie houses couldn’t survive if they showed something that went against community standards and you couldn’t get a job in customer service or an office if you had an unnatural hair color or a visible tattoo.

I was raised conservative and even I thought the values were enforced on a cultural level to an extreme level.

Now we’re on the flip side.

The progressives I know put their money where their values are on the same level that my parents did when I was a kid, but the conservatives I know are typically more focused on good deals and convenience. The company with the best deals wins, so to speak.

Life is crazy, there’s only so many battles worlth fighting, and convenience wins.

To this end, companies like Dreamworks put out shows kids want to see with marketing parents can’t ignore and so they are too big to fail and don’t need to worry about the “Karens” complaining about their product. The “Karens” can simply be doxxed and social media will take care of them. (Okay, maybe I can’t totally let go of what Doug Stanglin did in his article by linking people DIRECTLY to her personal information and place of employment. Tactics like that will always be relevant to me. But, again, I’ll address this tangent some other day.)

It so strange how quickly the world changes… when I was young, I looked around and saw a world built by conservatives. Now, several decades later, I look around and see the progressive vision growing in its place.

A college professor I had once said that it is the nature of progress to move from extreme to extreme before we find balance. I was raised in extreme conservatism and it made me a moderate. Now, the world is shifting strongly into progressive values, and I’m still a moderate wondering if the pendulum is reaching a limit of a progressive arc, or if it’s really just starting to swing.

Ten years ago, I doubt I would have known anyone who would defend this doll. Now I know many parents of young children who would not only defend it but intentionally buy it to signal how fine they are with it.

What do you think? Ten years from now, will dolls that make noises when they sit be a thing no one thinks about? Or will the push back be strong enough that no company will think about doing it again?

What’s your prediction?

2 Paths to Managing a Family Schedule

If you’re a parent, you have a lot on your plate now. Period.

If you’re a mom in a home right now, the psychological responsibility of managing all the scheduling and curveballs and decision making typically falls on you.

Traditional gender roles have men handling the outside of the home and women managing anything inside the home: schedule management, and community relationships.

TRADITIONALLY, while men go out in the world and make money while taking care of the yard and the vehicles, women TRADITIONALLY handle food, hearth, home, birthdays, daily schedule, getting children where they need to be, hosting events, earning supplemental income, and generating the “Honey Do” list for all the things that fall in their husband’s territory of maintenance or using tools in his domain.

I put TRADITIONALLY in all caps because the world is changing. Gens Y & Z actively push against these stereotypes, along with a notable portion of Gen X-ers, and that’s fine. What’s important to note here is — regardless of who in your home is over family scheduling — there job is getting SIGNIFICANTLY more difficult.

There world is shifting in an unpredictable way right now. Routine is gone — and not by the choice of those involved. Government and businesses are making decisions with massive trickle-down effect.

Yet they must be managed in order for things not to fall through the cracks, and there are two sustainable paths forward to help you get (and keep) your life in order:

Option 1: AR (Augmented Reality)

AR is the direction the market wants you to go. It wants you to go this direction so much — and are so convinced that this is the future — that companies like Amazon are on congressional record as taking losses to underbid competitors to get Alexa into your home over a competitor’s.

AIs like Alexa and Siri are evolving to be the personal assistants so many wish they’d always had, and I think they are a great fit for a specific type of person:

MASCULINE ROLES

Notice I did not assume your gender there. Only your role.

If you are the person in your home who focuses on bringing in income and is the “Honey Do”-er, then AR might be a great fit for you because your job is not to think about the list, just check everything off it.

Alexa, Siri, or the AI of your choice can help you aggregate everything your partner needs you to do in with your schedule and get it all done.

Easy peasy.

Option 2: LARGE, ERASABLE ANALOG CALENDAR

Now let’s talk about:

FEMININE ROLES

Feminine roles have the juggling side of this game. You’re the one who needs to buy all the right things at the store, manage the calendar of who needs to be where (and when), remember all the birthdays, synchronize everyone’s schedule, manage extracurriculars, register for everything on time, keep in touch with the vibe in the neighborhood, and so on and so on and so on.

This role of psychological responsibility within a partnership or family generates a lot of anxiety when things grow uncertain. (And I think we cal ALL agree that things are presently VERY uncertain at the moment.)

Perhaps, you think an AI assistant would help you manage all this psychological responsibility better, but I’ll submit to you that an AI is the opposite of the answer you need if you are juggling 10 balls in the air right now and starting to miss a few catches.

You need an old-school wall calendar right now. And NOT a small one.

You need a LARGE wall calendar that shows you AT LEAST 2 months at a time.

So buying two erasable vinyl calendars like this might do the trick.

The goal with getting two so large is:

  • You can write in a readable size
  • You can erase, when needed
  • You have a place to write things that need to be added later
  • You can see what you need to see at a glance while passing by
  • You can see into the next month
  • You have a column to list things more than 2 months out for later updates

When you’re the person in the family juggling balls that are shifting daily, the LAST THING YOU NEED is for your balls to be flying around in an invisible AI cloud and only having forgotten items reappear when it’s time for you to catch them.

That is anxiety-inducing, and chances are you already have more than your fair share of anxiety going on.

You don’t need more.

An analog calendar like this helps you keep what you need in sight, while keeping you free to make adjustments on the fly when you need to.

To accomplish this, there is one more aspect you need to take into consideration:

CALENDAR PLACEMENT

After observing many calendars at work in many homes, I have a suggestion on optimal placement. You may, of course, put your calendar anywhere that works for you, but the most organized homes I see tend to put it about the same spot, so that is where I’ll recommend you give it a try.

Do NOT put it in a public space where it becomes a conversation piece for visitors. It goes best in a space you pass frequently and guests do not. (This includes the entry, if you can avoid it).

DO put your calendar in a walking area between your living space and your vehicle.

This is often an area everyone walks past quickly, especially if you have a garage, but it’s a place the mental juggler passes frequently as they do all the things that make juggling look easy.

Passing this spot frequently means they can:

  • Double-check their schedule to make sure they’re not missing anything
  • Adjust something that has changed since the last time they looked
  • Visually confirm they are on track (which reduces anxiety)

The happiest, most-functioning homes do this and it seems to work very well.

So, if you’re in a place where your stress is high and important things are falling through the cracks in this crazy world, I make this suggestion to you:

  • LARGE, erasable wall calendar
  • Stack 2 months on top of each other
  • Locate your calendars on the way out the door (not in a living space of the home)
  • Put it someplace you will see it frequently but guests will not
  • Glance at it each time to verify you’re on track
  • Decrease anxiety while knowing you’re not missing a thing

Doing this will lead you to stressing less, remembering more, and handling more efficiently.

Note To Self

I was going through my papers for burning and told myself not to look — just burn…

But, of course, I looked and found this little note to myself. And I can’t just burn it now that I’ve seen it. I’ve gotta keep it somewhere.

So I’m posting it here in case anyone else wants to read it, too:

Come at each task
with the hope and persistence of a child.
Have faith in following your own nose
for you do not know how the unwritten book goes
until you live it,
and to assume you know an outcome
before you even take a step
is to force a story.
Resist that urge, for it is the path of fear.
Focus, instead, on showing love
and rewarding loyalty;
give all their just dues and, in the future,
all that is right will return back you.
It is time to reveal what you have in you to be,
then stand tall and strong like a tree
for all to see.

By the way, I literally have stacks of paper to burn. If there’s a short thought I want to keep note of, I tweet it, but maybe I’ll keep posting longer thoughts here.

Better to post it and burn the paper than keep more papers than anyone in their right mind would ever look through, right? πŸ˜‰