I'm glad you're here. Because I'd like to tell you about UNDERMININGnormal.
UNDERMININGnormal is a digital coffeehouse for deep-thinking, change-seeking women, who like to nerd out with — and possibly change the world with — all kinds of interesting women.
Changing the world doesn't happen at scale. That's what someone says after the fact — look! there's a movement; see what they did there or look at how far we've come.
It doesn't happen suddenly either, not among humans, not inside us.
A situation can change suddenly, yes, but change, growth, love, the things that mean something to you, that you feel and live, more than claim or quantify, these things develop over time.
We need a place for that.
UNDERMININGnormal is a place for conversation, community and care.
Here, we are growing a hype-free, anti-FOMO, emergent, unabashedly slower-going, creative, caring and supportive space that expects, respects and supports women. Not as an add-on. Not at an extra cost. Normal. One unhurried conversation at a time.
It's kind of a mashup of several projects and dreams of mine.
Here, we take care of ourselves, as we are.
It's where being is very much a verb and an end in itself, unique, varied and personal — it's the experience of being, not as a production or care-taking machine, as a woman, as you. You tell me what this means to you. And I will listen, do my best to hear you and hold space.
Here, we get to express ourselves, as we are.
UNDERMININGnormal is where you can share half-formed thoughts, ask questions you don't know the answer to, and be your unpolished, complex human self.
One normal, that I seek to undermine, is the social media content feed, soundbite-snappy race to I don't know where.
A digital coffeehouse is an online conversation space that feels relaxed and homey, can surprise, challenge and nourish you. There may be books shelved on a wall, magazines and flyers around, but it's the tables, high ceilings, good snacks, surprisingly tasty and not-oily chicken soup, that bring you there. That and the reliably welcoming smile from whoever's in today, whether they're behind the counter or at a nearby table.
This is where you can take an exhale and slow things down to match your beat.
What normal(s) would you like to undermine?
Just think about it when you have a chance. I'm not going to send you a form to fill out, so I can sort us into like-minded groupings.
I don't always want to be around like-minded people.
I just think that we defer to the status quo or feel like we have to, more than we need to; and that to reveal those opportunities, to break those habits, to undermine those normals, we start by talking about the things that matter to us, that enable or prevent us from living a fully-empowered life on our own terms, in an environment that doesn't rush us to conclusions, reduce us to binaries, sort us into demographics or make it seem like there's a right way to be or do things and if we just optimize for that, then....then....then what?
We need places where we can relax, process, listen, share our stories, be curious, be mistaken, be struggling, lost, closed, surprised, moved, happy, all in the same room: feeling what we feel and trying things — out loud, each on our respective journeys. And feel welcomed to be ourselves, as we are.
If this kind of vibe and conversation is your thing, or you’d like it to be, sign up to receive invitations to UNDERMININGnormal living room picnics. The topics vary, and this is just the beginning.
You can learn more about living room picnics here: How a digital coffeehouse grew out of living room picnics...
or read about the origins of the project.
And soon, you can learn more about me, too. I mean, who am I to open a digital coffeehouse and aspire to create space for conversations we don't usually get to have?
Meanwhile, if you have a moment, would you tell us about your way here?
with much care and interest,
—Alex (Alexandra Jacoby)