vanderjames This pic from yesterday by @toastycakes, who also took the last pic I posted of the burning car. This isn’t over. There’s a ton of correction that needs to happen. The road ahead is going to be rough, and we are all still mid-process. But there are stories of communities coming together. Of peaceful protestors stopping looters. Of police protecting people, and people protecting police. It’s by no means the complete story... but it’s worth being told. Because the only way we come out of this... is by doing a better job of looking out for one another.
vanderjames At a loss for words this morning... I don’t want to remain silent, but at the same time I don’t feel qualified to offer wisdom. I’ve been the beneficiary of a system designed to oppress people with skin darker than mine my whole life. I didn’t design it - it was constructed long before my birth. And I’ve never advocated for it - I fact, I’ve actively tried to combat my own ignorance over the years by listening, reading, learning, speaking out and supporting voices who challenge that system. But a heart full of love and the best of intentions... that hasn’t been enough. At least I don’t feel like it has been today. I will never truly know what it is to be a person of color in this country. A friend of mine compared it to living every single day as if it were 9/12/2001. Even as an actor and writer with well-developed empathy skills... I can’t touch that. So instead of platitudes and conclusions, today I’m sharing myself as mid-process, and inviting everyone to share resources: Books, accounts, organizations and wisdom that has opened your own eyes. Amplify the voices that have pointed you toward understanding how to make this country deliver on the promise of liberty and justice for ALL.
Please be respectful, especially in your disagreements. The goal here is healing.
Photo credit: @toastycakes, who went to the march with two cameras around his neck and took a rubber bullet for it.
vanderjames After the death of #armaudarbery, my friend @mehcadbrooks impressed upon me the power of asking friends how they’re doing. And when I asked what I could do, what he said was: “Listen. And believe us.” I’m reposting his response to the most recent atrocity today so we can all do just that. He is raw. He is honest. He is mid-process. And I’m choosing to use my platform to hold space for that. I invite you to listen with empathy and an open heart.
To those wondering where my voice has been today. It’s been stuck in my heart. Stuck in the stress of my experience in this country. Thank you for your patience with my response. Love y’all. 🔳🖤
#justakidfromaustin #georgefloyd #racism #ahmaudarbery #christiancooper #amycooper #centralparkmoments #endracism #thishastostop #blacklivesmatter #newagreements
vanderjames Sometimes I wonder if I’m losing my grip on sanity. Then I wonder if that “sanity” wasn’t really just a delusion all along, created to cope with a reality that was never actually “real” in the first place. And then... I get reminded that I should stop trying to figure stuff out with my head that only my heart can know. And that I think way too damn much. #BeInYourHeartNotYourHead
vanderjames We’ll never be able to fully appreciate everything our mothers went through... the challenges, the triumphs, the daily struggles and joys, the sacrifices and the gifts passed down both through DNA and by nurture. But we can appreciate THEM... for everything they are. I love you Mom. #HappyMothersDay, thank you for all the love and care, and all the little things I’ve forgotten about along the way. Thank you for encouraging my crazy, and for not telling me not to wear that striped blazer in the third pic. 😘
vanderjames #HappyMothersDay to all the moms out there, dealing with these insane times and juggling homeschool, working from home, and all the pressure, anxiety and uncertainty that comes with quarantine and a global pandemic. And to @vanderkimberly... Never have I met anyone who cares so deeply about the world, who is also just as determined to grow in her understanding of how contribute to making it a better place. I am in awe of your strength, your vulnerability, and your capacity to love. The world is blessed to have you in it, and the kids and I are one insanely lucky unit to have you in our orbit. We love and appreciate for all that you are 😍
vanderjames Wishing you all the happiness of my kid with a handful of snails.
We’re all going through it. Heard some advice today that made sense to me: Give to others what you want to receive. I know, we’ve all heard this before... but in weird times like this it’s easy to think it’s not that important or even doable. So I’m trying it with everybody I come into contact with today. Starting with you. Hope this made you smile.
vanderjames Thrilled beyond belief to announce that another little bundle of joy has picked us to be their family. We chose to have our first ultrasound on camera with our #DWTS crew capturing the result - something I NEVER thought we’d ever do... but @vanderkimberly and I have been through three of those first appointments to discover either no heartbeat, or no baby, and she wanted to share this moment. Miscarriage (a word that needs a replacement - nobody failed to “carry”, these things sometimes just happen) is something that people rarely talk about, and often go through in secret. But there needs to be zero shame around it, or around giving yourself the time and space to grieve. We decided to put ourselves out there - not knowing what we’d find - in an effort to chip away at any senseless stigma around this experience and to encourage people who might be going through it to open themselves up to love & support from friends and family when they need it most. Happily, for us - this time- we walked out with tears of joy. #AndThenIDancedAQuickStep.
Pic by @jilliangoulding
vanderjames Wrecked. Devastated. In shock. That’s how we’re feeling right now after the soul we thought were going to welcome into our family in April... has taken a short cut to whatever lies beyond this life. We’ve been through this before, but never this late in the pregnancy, and never accompanied by such a scary, horrific threat to @vanderkimberly and her well-being. Grateful that she’s now recovering, but we’ve only just begun unpacking the layers of this one. Thank you to all of our friends and co-workers (and dance partners) who have shown up for us so beautifully during this time. As many of you have said, “There are no words...” and it’s true. Which is why in a time like this it’s enough to know that you’re there. Grieving AND counting our blessings today.
vanderjames I spent a lot of energy at photo shoots in my early twenties trying desperately to look half as cool as any one of my kids do in this photo. Clearly, they must’ve been lying in wait that whole time... siphoning off all that cool for themselves. Selfish bastards. 🥰
vanderjames Still in repair. Discovering that healing happens at its own pace. Not the pace you’d like, and definitely not the pace at which the world keeps on moving... But it happens. And there’s beauty in allowing yourself to be exactly where you’re at. (Plus, it’s not like you really have a choice, anyway 💜)
vanderjames From our family to yours, wishing you all the best on this crazy, surreal #Easter Sunday. Extra special love going out to the first responders, food workers, delivery workers, and everyone else taking the risk to keep the world turning. We’ll do all the staying home, meditating, reading, home schooling, self-reflection and (hopefully) keeping sane to make sure we all - as a species- come out of this thing better than we went into it. #HappyEaster everybody!
vanderjames So... here’s my working theory: Dads, date your daughters. Drive responsibly, put down your phone, invest in everything they have to say and treat them like they’re the most valuable human in the room, if not the world. And then (theoretically), once they start dating for real, they’ll have a bar... and anyone who doesn’t meet that bar, you won’t have to tell them - they’ll make that call for themselves. #DateNight #SetTheBarHigh
* (I’ll let you know in about ten or fifteen years if this actually works 👍🤞)
vanderjames For me, being a father means having that quiet little voice inside of you that says “Be a better man,” get louder and more consistent... to the point where you can’t really remember where that voice ends and where you begin. It means being tired beyond what is probably healthy, and patient beyond what you previously thought possible. And even though you know you’re far from perfect... being a father also comes with an unshakable awareness that all your actions have consequences - context that reaches far beyond your own self-interest. It’s scary to feel that interconnected with the rest of the world - especially with your heart now walking around outside your body - because it demands more personal responsibility... but it will make you a better man. Of at least that I’m sure. #HappyFathersDay to all the imperfect dads out there, trying their best and learning on the job.👊#fatherhood
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