Thanks to a beloved cousin’s wedding and some previously planned plane-hopping home to Ohio, I’ve been doing a lot of traveling this month. I needed a new TV show to binge while I was airport bound, and “Killing Eve” did not disappoint.
The BBC America series is about Eve, an M15 security guard turned international spy (played by the incomparable Sandra Oh), who is on one twisted (and surprisingly funny) hunt for a psychopathic murderer named Villanelle (played by the also awesome Jodie Comer).
Seeing some ladies lead the psycho game trope is really fun. And def bloody. If you didn’t love Sandra Oh already (who even are you?), you will after watching this show.
“The Philosophy of…” on YouTube
re: Psychopaths, the Wisecrack channel on YouTube does some excellently down-the-rabbit-hole worthy videos on The Philosophy Of our favorite cultural characters, movies, and TV shows.
One pot vegetarian meals
In my effort to be a better, environmentally friendly human (ie. not a psychopath), I’ve been trying to eat more plants. I’ve found vegetarian recipe how-to videos on YouTube to be more helpful to me than the static veggie food porn I find on Pinterest (though I like those too).
The Good Ancestor podcast
Particularly, this brand new episode with writer Glennon Doyle. You can and should listen to all of author and speaker Layla Saad’s episodes here. My Zero Proof Book Club co-host, Shelley, recommended this episode to me (Glennon’s big in the sober movement) and tuned me into Layla’s important work about how white feminists can be better advocates for racial justice.
Seltzer Squad podcast
re: Sober movement, the Seltzer Squad podcast has been getting a lot of buzz about not getting buzzed. Each episode covers a topic that inevitably comes up in sobriety.
This body meditation
Since we’re not peeing the bed anymore, and all that.
My kitty cat
My main squeeze is now roomies with my ‘rents, thanks to my husband’s atrocious allergy to anything cat. Hanging out with Little Dude when I’m visiting home always makes my heart grow 10 sizes. ‘Till next travel, cuddle buddy.
I have bookmarked this speech ECS gave at the Committee of the Judiciary of the US Congress on January 18, 1892. I find it most useful during, of all things, my super-blue days. Her wisdom and identification about the realities of the solitude of self, and her unintentional reminder that I am capable and free to help myself (a privilege people like ECS fought hard for) help pull me out of the black holes that are my bad days. I recently re-read the speech and thought I’d share some of my favorite parts. Read the full text here, you sweet-beautiful-captain-of-your-own-ship.
First of all, let’s imagine a world where women are ppl, mmk?
“In discussing the rights of woman, we are to consider, first, what belongs to her as an individual, in a world of her own, the arbiter of her own destiny, an imaginary Robinson Crusoe with her woman Friday on a solitary island. Her rights under such circumstances are to use all her faculties for her own safety and happiness.”
Because she is (surprise, wig boy!) a real person, woman is responsible for making herself complete and happy
“…as a woman, an equal factor in civilization, her rights and duties are still the same—individual happiness and development.”
To survive the implicit solitude of self, every person needs the right to choose
“The isolation of every human soul and the necessity of self-dependence must give each individual the right to choose his own surroundings.”
Education helps save us from fear
“The strongest reason for giving woman all the opportunities for higher education, for the full development of her faculties, forces of mind and body; for giving her the most enlarged freedom of thought and action; a complete emancipation from all forms of bondage, of custom, dependence, superstition; from all the crippling influences of fear, is the solitude and personal responsibility of her own individual life.”
Men can’t protect women from certain things, things like the solitude of self
“No matter how much women prefer to lean, to be protected and supported, nor how much men desire to have them do so, they must make the voyage of life alone, and for safety in an emergency they must know something of the laws of navigation.”
You are a beautiful precious snowflake… so you are responsible for making sure you do not melt
“Nature never repeats herself, and the possibilities of one human soul will never be found in another.”
Our internal lives can never be fully revealed
“In youth our most bitter disappointment, our brightest hopes and ambitions are known only to ourselves; even our friendship and love we never fully share with another; there is something of every passion in every situation we conceal. Even so in our triumphs and our defeats.”
Self-actualization is an inalienable human right
“To throw obstacles in the way of a complete education is like putting out the eyes; to deny the rights of property, like cutting off the hands.”
Being a wife or mother is hard as fuck too
“The young wife and mother, at the head of some establishment with a kind husband to shield her from the adverse winds of life, with wealth, fortune and position, has a certain harbor of safety, secure against the ordinary ills of life. But to manage a household, have a desirable influence in society, keep her friends and the affections of her husband, train her children and servants well, she must have rare common sense, wisdom, diplomacy, and a knowledge of human nature. To do all this she needs the cardinal virtues and the strong points of character that the most successful statesman possesses.”
Taking responsibility for your life is empowering
“Nothing strengthens the judgment and quickens the conscience like individual responsibility. Nothing adds such dignity to character as the recognition of one’s self-sovereignty; the right to an equal place, everywhere conceded; a place earned by personal merit, not an artificial attainment, by inheritance, wealth, family, and position.”
Even if protected, a person faces “fierce storms of life”
“The talk of sheltering woman from the fierce storms of life is the sheerest mockery, for they beat on her from every point of the compass, just as they do on man, and with more fatal results, for he has been trained to protect himself, to resist, to conquer.”
Identity politics don’t matter in the realm of self
“Rich and poor, intelligent and ignorant, wise and foolish, virtuous and vicious, man and woman, it is ever the same, each soul must depend wholly on itself.”
Making yourself a stronger, smarter person is necessary for survival and self-respect
“But when all artificial trammels are removed, and women are recognized as individuals, responsible for their own environments, thoroughly educated for all positions in life they may be called to fill; with all the resources in themselves that liberal thought and broad culture can give; guided by their own conscience and judgment; trained to self-protection by a healthy development of the muscular system and skill in the use of weapons of defense, and stimulated to self-support by a knowledge of the business world and the pleasure that pecuniary independence must ever give; when women are trained in this way they will, in a measure, be fitted for those hours of solitude that come alike to all, whether prepared or otherwise.”
Equal opportunity for all, mothafuckas!
“The chief reason for opening to every soul the doors to the whole round of human duties and pleasures is the individual development thus attained, the resources thus provided under all circumstances to mitigate the solitude that at times must come to everyone.”
“We see reason sufficient in the outer conditions of human beings for individual liberty and development, but when we consider the self-dependence of every human soul we see the need of courage, judgment, and the exercise of every faculty of mind and body, strengthened and developed by use, in woman as well as man.”
Last week I was very sick courtesy some cute lil germies in my tum courtesy my cute lil nieces and nephews who had the same lil germies in their tums the week before.
It sucked. Especially since I had spent the week before that with a head cold. Sick and tired of being sick and tired, or something like that.
As I lay nausea-stricken on a bed of applesauce-soaked crackers and a mountainous pile of unread emails, I considered how sick I’ve gotten this past year. It feels like it’s been more frequent than ever before? Is that right? Is my immune system caving? Or am I just paying more attention to my body than ever before? Both?
That, of course, rendered me helpless to do nothing but steer down a rabbit hole toward the dimly lit Hall of Fame Of All My Other Major Sicknesses. My 32nd birthday is this week and, with that time marker in sight, I remembered the stomach flu I had had a week before my 29th birthday.
Aw, poor poopy birthday girl!
Between bathroom bouts I made promises to my body to take better care of it as soon as it felt better. I acknowledged my sins against it and recognized that though I don’t put it through the ringer anymore with alcohol, I still fall into some traps that are the opposite of that totally-having-a-moment”idea of self-care, which is ultimately all about slowing down to take better care of your mind and, thus, body.
For example, I don’t eat well and sometimes I don’t eat at all. I’ll get so focused on a task I forget to eat. Or I’ll be weird about what to eat — because I’m trying to be either a) healthier, ironically enough, or b) a guilt-ridden veg and not a health-positive one. And when that happens, I don’t get enough calories that a body I’m making go-go-go all the time needs. I follow the same extreme patterns with sleep. It’s a deadly combination. Or, well, one that leaves me, I think, more vulnerable to catching any cool ass looking germs that fly my way.
At one point in my sickness boredom last week (you can only spend so much time on Pinterest), I started combing through body positivity apps, of which there seem to be about two, to download on to my phone.
I’ve never gotten too into the body positivity movements. Not because I don’t care. It’s just that one only has so many hours in a day.
But if there’s anything I’ve learned in sober recovery, it’s that help can come from the strangest sources and you have to just go with it. I used to listen to motivational speeches for weight lifters to get myself in a good headspace to go to a brunch sober. Ha!
All these things are tools and, like a castaway trying to make it on a lonely island, you gotta use that shit in whatever way you need to survive. Start thinking of your phone as your Wilson Volleyball, ya dig?
I downloaded the free Rise Up app, which is for self-monitoring eating disorder recovery. I know I don’t have an eating disorder, but Rise Up is more about offering friendly reminders to check in with yourself and how you’re thinking about food. I just want to make sure I eat breakfast more often instead of waiting until 2 pm to finally eat something–and Rise Up’s meal tracking helps me do that. The app’s “911” and stress management tools have actually been super helpful as I get nicotine cravings.
I love how technology has made independent recovery like this possible. You can cobble together tools from all over the place, for whatever it is you’re struggling with, from big problems to tiny-tummy-flu-induced self-awareness about something you’d finally like to address.
And the more you do that hodgepodging of skill sets, the more likely you are to find positive coping techniques in the strangest places.
Like… the wrestling ring…
I love watching Chicago’s Freelance Wrestling matches. It’s like watching sweaty, sophisticated choreography but with a lot of grunting and cool intro music. We went to Saturday’s event in Logan Square Auditorium and it didn’t disappoint.
I’m not naïve enough to think that any industry based in physicality, especially pro wrestling, isn’t without pressures to conform to a certain body standard. But there’s certainly some atypical beauty about something that’s part theater, part sport — it just wouldn’t be as fun if everyone looked the same.
The Freelance lineup last weekend included bodies of all shapes, sizes, abilities and genders. Watching Gregory Allen, AKA Iron Curtain, AKA an awesome wrestler who also has cerebral palsy, dominate in the ring was magic. Cleveland, Ohio, represent!
But the best part is that they’re all running around in their skivvies. And if not their skivvies, super tight pants, brah. It’s excellent eye candy, sure, but I appreciate that so many bodies are on full display, in all their glory, without that being the main issue.
We didn’t have to take a moment to pause about how brave some of them were being for bearing all nearly 300 pounds of themselves. We paused for how brave they were for willingly flippity-belly-flopping onto a hard surface.
The main issue is some made up, stupidly delicious story line. (And, for fair-weathered fans like me, if Stevie Fierce is wearing a shirt or not.)
And that’s it.
In wrestling, the body love doesn’t necessarily rely on what that body looks like. It matters what it can do.
And how strong it can handle the blows thrown at it.