Tuesday Shorts

  • A Kidnapping Gone Very Wrong. There is so much in here: the bizarreness of the 1970s; Nixon being an ass; a woman trying to do the right thing; a white man who should have been put in jail for years but wasn’t because his race gave him the benefit of the doubt.
  • Why “Fearless (Taylor’s Version)” Hits Different in 2021. My child was always a big Taylor Swift fan, while I wasn’t. I found the things she wrote about cliche, and quite frankly, I was a mother and moms have different taste than kids do. But then I was forced to listen to “Red” A LOT. And it’s got some good songs on it. And then I genuinely ended up liking “1989”. I’m still not super-interested in her earlier stuff, probably because of some prejudice still lingering, though I tell myself there’s also just too much media overall to consume (also true). But this article makes me maybe want to revisit my decision to not revisit early Taylor Swift.
  • Would you like a better country or not? There is so much to say, but I’m not sure I have the words for it. Yes, I want everyone to have good schools, yes, I want everyone to be able to afford to live in the Bay Area. I don’t know that I want to start going to city planning meetings, but maybe I need to. Or maybe there’s another way for me to do my work, given how much I hate conflict and how much anxiety talking to people can give me. But still: there is work to be done.
  • What is infrastructure? It’s a gender issue, for starters. I read something somewhere that claimed the original definition of infrastructure was anything that made society better, not just physical things. In that way, yes, child care is infrastructure. It is a crime that child care is so hard to get and the pandemic has shown that American society doesn’t work without it.
  • When COVID hit, I started walking 20,000 steps per day. It’s changed my life. My daily goal is lower – 10,000 – but I’ve been hitting it more often since the pandemonium started. Daily walks are a salvation, and sometimes, I’m even just walking around my house, though outside is better. (It should be said that my child is a teenager so childcare while I’m out an about isn’t an issue.)
  • White women co-opted pandemic yoga. Now, South Asian instructors are taking it back. Yoga is my other go-to exercise, and I’m doing it much more regularly because of the pandemic as well. But it’s been years since I’ve been in a studio – and even though I live in a majority Asian-American part of the country (and Indians are a significant part of the population) I’ve never been to a class that was taught by an Indian? That seems odd. (I was lucky enough to take a regular class from someone who would start with a spiritual reading, but he was white.) There’s something to fix once yoga studios are open again.

The Body Keeps the Score

The Body Keeps the Score is a non-fiction book about how stress and trauma affect your physical body. It tries to cover everything; not being a therapist, I can’t tell you how comprehensive it is. It certainly felt that way. But let me tell you that in the ongoing shitshow that is 2020, reading about both the effects of trauma on the body and possible ways to combat it was a fucking godsend.

Some of the therapies are definitely things you’ve heard before: yoga, writing, getting enough sleep, that kind of thing. But he goes into the studies that back up *why* they help you process your emotions and to let you move on to a better place, which stops you (ok, me) from rolling your eyes about them and actually take them seriously.

Some of the therapies and body systems are things I hadn’t known about before. Things like the autonomic nervous system (the one that kicks in while you’re relaxed, not the fight or flight one), polyvagal theory, EMDR (which I’d heard of but never understood before), neurofeedback (which, this is the one I want to try if I ever get the chance), parts (of the self) work and why it works.

The other thing that The Body Keeps the Score reminded me of was that, while 2020 is traumatic, I am relatively fortunate. It doesn’t mean that this year isn’t taking an emotional toll – it totally is – but things could be so much worse. There is so much deeper trauma out there in the world. So while it gives me good resources and the why I should pull out the damn yoga mat when all I want to do is watch Ghostbusters (2016) for the millionth time, it also gives me some perspective. My life could be so much worse.

So yes, The Body Keeps the Score was essential reading for the moment and yes, I would recommend it if you feel like you’re at the end of your rope.