Personal

april, 2021

1. spring has sprung sprang sproink spank sprank

Oops, I did it again. Nothing fun and sexy like the song, no – I overbooked myself and felt exhausted for a week, as I am apparently wont to do at the beginning of the quarter. What is it about ease that is so difficult for me? Is it that I think of myself as being either good or bad at everything, including finding ease and contentment and peace? Why do I say yes to so many things? Am I ambitious, or do I just think I need to do Useful Things for Other People to achieve some sense of worth? Would I be less neurotic if I weren’t so self-aware of my neuroses? (I think, in another life, I could have been a tortured and vaguely wealthy white man, and that positioning enables me to fill absolute gallons of novels with endless questions like this.) So, yeah, April started off like that, and I want to say it ended a little better. I got better throughout the month at saying no to things to take care of myself, and I’m trying to keep that up.

Also, I think I have allergies now. It’s horrid.

2. reviews

Usually this is where I talk excitedly about stuff I’ve really enjoyed this past month, but lately I’ve been listening to a lot of the podcast The Anthropocene Reviewed, where John Green reviews various parts of human society on a five-point scale. I’m going to this new format for a spin!

Watching traumatic videos: I’m taking a class right now called Race, Racism, and the Law, and on our first day of class on Zoom the professor had us watch a video montage of murders of Black Americans from 1944 to the present day. I’m going to link the video here for posterity, but I’m also going to tell you I don’t recommend you watch it. I used to feel like there was some value in sharing videos about violence and hate crimes – something about the irrefutable evidence in them was, I thought, really important to convince people that, hey, racism is a thing, and people fucking die over it. That’s why Emmett Till’s mother had an open casket, no? But now, I think it’s absolutely secondhand trauma and, over time, desensitizes us to violence done to (most often) Black bodies. And if someone needs to watch a white man kneel on a Black man’s neck to think “hm, racism is a problem” then maybe there’s bigger problems afoot. I really detested how we started off that class, and I ended up muting it a few minutes in. Non-Black folks like myself really need to give it a rest with shit like that. I give traumatic videos a 1 out of 5.

Walking and talking with my therapist, Liz: This month, I said goodbye to my therapist, Liz. I wasn’t with her for a super long time, but for me, with my history of sporadic therapists, she was my most consistent and regular therapy relationship. We’ve talked every 2-4 weeks (which I know is not super regular, but again, for me, it was) since December. And things were really good. Unexpectedly, I found that I enjoyed walking and talking on the phone with her; something about seeing the grass, dogs, the sun, squirrels as I spilled out my guts was really special. I think it enabled me to open up more than I might have in a more clinical ‘therapist and client sitting on a couch’ setting. To just talk and not worry about my facial expressions or how I’m coming off or any other number of odd things that might inadvertently self-consciously pop into my head. I know it’s not groundbreaking information or anything, that therapy is, like, good and validating and affirming, but man. It really knocks the wind out of you sometimes to realize just how helpful it was. I have so many things I do and believe and don’t even think about, but here’s this great person who’s going to help me unravel this knotted up tangled string and figure it out. I’m docking a point off because I would love for Liz to be my therapist for eight more years, but you know. American healthcare policies and whatnot. That said, I found it really special to say goodbye to her. We rarely ever know when we’re going to be saying our last goodbye, and sometimes I wonder what I’d do if I knew that the last time I saw someone would be the last time I saw someone. Like, good friends I used to have and drifted from, or just casual friends who I always enjoy seeing but time and distance and life makes us into old acquaintances. What if you knew when the last time was? Wouldn’t it be cool to be able to know that, have no hard feelings about growing apart, and enjoy that? To hug them and be like “Hey, this is the last time we’ll be together like this, and I want you to know this was so fucking good. I’ve had such a great time. I hope you’re well”? So, I’m glad I got to do that. Sincerity and open affection don’t come easy to me, and it meant a lot. As I start thinking about finding a new therapist, I’m apprehensive and worried and already exhausted, but I’m hoping I’ll be able to stumble across someone as good as this was. Liz and I spent our last phone call together “soaking in the sweetness of a good match” (I know, can you believe this woman has a PhD in poetry as well as psychology?), and I give that 4 out of 5 stars.

BTS’ 2019 MMA performance: This performance… where do I begin. I cannot tell you how much I have watched this video in the month of April, only that I think the number is higher than the number of days within April. This video popped up on my YouTube recommendations (classic algorithm handing me what I want, fuck you big tech) and I put it on as some background noise while I wrote in my planner, but after two minutes I couldn’t pay attention to anything else but this. I’ve watched the first section, of Intro:Persona to Boy In Luv, probably 40 times. I’m so into V’s growly little voice in that song; I was utterly devastated when I listened to the album version and it didn’t sound like that. I’m pretty new to BTS, so I guess I’m just very surprised at how much good shit is crammed into this one performance, and it sent me down a complete rabbit hole of BTS videos. There’s, like, a contemporary dance break? What on earth?? And the stagecraft?? The costume changes??? All that going on with the songs??? I give this 5 out of 5 stars.

3. shit i mostly watched bc my youtube history is great at remembering for me but there is no comparable thing for articles i read

Dynamic self‐representation of interdependent Chinese: The effect of bicultural experience by Sisi Xi, Marhaba Mamat, Chaoqin Luo, and Yanhong Wu in the International Journal of Psychology (2018)

The Beauty of 78.5 Million Followers by Vanessa Grigoriadis for the New York Times

5. camera roll

I leave you with my number one 2D betrothed from Fire Emblem: Three Houses.

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