This week the world was turned upside down by a simple photograph. The last time a dress garnered this much attention it was when Matt Stone and Trey Parker showed up to the Oscars dressed as Jen.Lo and Gwen.Pal
When I came to school on Friday, I expected to be overwhelmed with conversations about why two llamas were running through the streets of Sun City, Arizona. Seriously, this is what the internet was made for- the video of two llamas on the lam. And when I have a big-time lesson about the properties of rational exponents planned, I’m worried that a single interruption could derail the whole day. So I mentally prepared myself to talk about these rascally llamas.
Instead I was badgered with a slightly more confusing question:
“What color is this dress?”
The dress is white and gold, AND the dress is blue and black.
I’m not kidding. The dress you have looked at is both. And Wired explained why.
Jay Neitz, a neuroscientist at the University of Washington, says that it comes down to your own perception and interpretation of the situational colors in the photograph. I know. That makes a lot of sense to me, too. The point is this- you adjust the colors you see based on your assumptions of the lighting in the photograph. So the dress really is white and gold AND blue and black.
By the way, Nietz sees gold and white. Which means the dress MUST be blue and black, because nobody trusts a Husky.
“And” is a very important word.
Without “and”, people would be limited to identifying themselves as one thing. If this were the case, I would have to make a very difficult decision when I introduce myself.
Hi, I’m Dave.
I’m a teacher.
I’m a screenprinter.
I’m a beer fanatic.
I’m a pho lover.
I’m a former runner.
I’m a Portlander.
I’m a Vancouvertonian.
I’m a father.
I don’t want to choose one or some of those. I want to be all of those, because I’m at least average at each of them and I’m proud of that. I like being all of those things, more than I like being one of them.
Last week, former NBA player Larry Sanders explained in an interview with The Players’ Tribune why he walked away from a high-paying, high-profile career that comes with money and notoriety, both of which most people pine for.
Something about Sanders’ whole concept of self-acceptance and awareness was surprising to me. He seemed to be saying what I would say if I were in the same position, and his comments are what motivated me to think and write about this topic.
What I hear him saying is that although you may be identified as someone who does a certain thing, you know that you are more than that so you include “and” often in your conversations.
Don’t neglect the ‘and’.
I love that line. And I love the next.
We all are more than just one thing.
This means so much to me. I try to preach this to my students and I try to live by that idea. We are so much more than what we give ourselves credit for. We are so much more than what people remember us for. We all are so much more than just one thing.
Larry Sanders understands that you need to do what makes you happy, even if that does not fit within the archetype that you are living within. He left the NBA to become a better version of who he really is. A version that he could respect if he were to meet himself.
As he said,
Everyone has to make a living. I’m no different from the person whose 9-to-5 isn’t their dream job. It’s a scary thing to walk away from security but I’m more afraid of living with the “what if.”
So hold on to your “and”. Without it, all you’ll have is “what if”.