Let Your Anxiety Flags Fly, We're All Doing Our Best In This Year Of Our Collective Trauma 2021.
Liebchens! Are these intros too eager? I look back and re-read them, observing the overabundance of pet names, exclamation points, and overly-eager exhortions to take care of yourselves and wonder if it all borders on toxic positivity. Toxic positivity is a personality trait / social coping mechanism / survival tactic with which I am intimately familiar. In fact, it wasn’t until I was 34 and embarking on a divorce that I sat down and realized that my personal insistence on optimism and forcing myself to find the bright side of life was merely a way of denying my own unhappiness, putting a very valid emotional response to a really tough situation into a box and attempting to shove it down and away. I know this sounds ridiculous, but I remember how, the very first time I responded “You know… not great” to someone who asked how I was doing instead of cheerfully exclaiming “wonderful!” and switching subjects, I was gripped with doubt, thinking that the person who asked this seemingly innocuous question would instantly abandon me (personal anxiety, ahoy!). And how great it felt when that person responded with kindness, asking if I wanted to go for a walk and talk about it.
Anyhoo, this is all to say that I hope you’re doing the best you can right now, and that I hope you know you can always respond with one of my favorite gifs (below) if I ask you how you are.
TO THE INTERNET.
Last Friday night, I rolled up my yoga mat for the first time in months and strolled down to 16th and Mission, walked up five flights of stairs, and gingerly stepped into one of the new yoga studios that have grown out of this pandemic. Walking in was strange; so many elements of a studio that I wouldn’t have even noticed last year—poofs to sit on and tie your shoes! Boxes of water! Changing rooms!—that suddenly felt fancy and exotic. I walked mid-way up the window-surrounded top floor room, unrolled my mat and sat down. Suddenly, I didn’t know what to do with my hands, where to look, how to sit. I was hyperconscious of the pounds I’ve put on during the pandemic, of the stiffness of my previous-injured shoulder, of the fact that I was definitely maintaining eye contact with strangers too long. But halfway through the practice, when phenomenal teacher Danni Pomplun had us all laughing and breathing and dancing on our mats, I experienced the social phenomenon, as described by this NYT Sunday Review piece, that I have most missed over the last 15 months: “collective effervescence”, “the sense of energy and harmony people feel when they come together in a group around a shared purpose.” Sweaty and shaky with smeared mascara from a few shed tears during meditation, I hugged Danni afterwards and couldn’t stop grinning. And with a lingering glow of adrenaline and dopamine, I walked back out onto San Francisco streets, a newly-heightened attention to sights and sounds coupled with a much-missed ease in my own body, and reading the final line of this piece a couple of days later couldn’t be sweeter: “Joy shared is joy sustained.” There’s a Specific Kind of Joy We’ve Been Missing (New York Times)
If you’re wondering if I binged ’I Think You Should Leave’ the second the new season was uploaded to Netflix, you are correct. There’s something about the ultra-cringe characters in this sketch show that make me both deeply uncomfortable AND laughing so hard I nearly snort out sparkling water. Tim Robinson Is Sorry For Yelling (Vulture)
I love this headline so much: Trump Organization Indictment May Spell Trouble for Trump Spawn (The Daily Beast)
OMG, this is how the android revolution starts: Stumble-proof robot adapts to challenging terrain in real time. (TechCrunch) I, for one, welcome our terrifying canineish robot overlords.
And finally, toxic positivity be damned, let’s all channel our inner demon dog: If Prancer The Nightmare Chihuahua Can Find Happiness, So Can You (BuzzFeed News)
You’re all great. Drink some water, don’t forget to take breaks today, and be kind to yourself, won’t you?