Beyond the Filters of Human Decency

Back during JALC’s first lifespan, I took some small enjoyment from watching my WordPress dashboard to see what sorts of google searches brought readers to my posts. (I even used that as an excuse for a quick one-liner-type post way back when.) Google has since redone its programming, so there’s much less of that possible on JALC’s current life cycle.

Nowadays, most everything is hidden behind an “unknown search terms” privacy curtain. I haven’t the slightest level of understanding as to why certain terms making it out from behind the curtain to appear on my dashboard, but since I know the dashboard list is a mysteriously reduced and redacted version of the “real” list, I just haven’t really paid that dashboard feature much attention this time around.

Until I got back form my trip Sunday night and saw a new phrase in that screen field:

we hate ragen chastain

In case you don’t know, Ragen Chastain is a fat activist, someone I would say is out helping lead the movement. She has a book, an active speaking calendar and is currently co-organizing an online Fat Activism Conference that will take place from August 22-24. And she has a blog, a blog that is one of my go-to sources to continue expanding my awareness and evolving my thinking around fat acceptance and health at every size.

I would wager that Chastain and I wouldn’t see eye to eye on everything. For example, my guess is that she would consider my recent HCG journey simply to be a capitulation to diet culture, even though I contextualized it for myself as a detox experience. And, you know what? If she did have some questions about my motivations, and how mixed they might have been, I can respect that. ‘Cos Gaia knows, I had to do a lot of my own inner discernment to keep unwinding my old weight loss programming so that I could keep the goals of my HCG journey distinct from losing weight. And the uncomfortable reality is that no matter how hard I worked to keep my own focus in the detox lens, my decision to do HCG meant that I financially supported a company that makes its living off of diet culture, women’s insecurity, and size policing. (Ugh.)

So yeah, I can respect how Chastain and I might have differing opinions on some things. But the level of puzzlement and shock I felt about that search term being used to find this blog is largely driven by the great level of respect I feel for Chastain, her work, her voice. (My best guess, looking back at my old posts, is that the phrase must have made contact with one of my own FA/HAES rants where I quoted one of Chastain’s posts and then talked about “hating” some fat-shaming shenanigan-or-other.)

SPmobThe other piece of my upset about having been, even ever-so-peripherally, connected to that phrase is the general sense of despair and discouragement I feel about the ugly way that people treat each other, out here on the Interweb.

Often, I see the most virulent, soul-staining ugliness in misogynist response to feminist writing of some sort or other. For further commentary on this subject, see Chastain’s blog, Shakesville, Jezebel, Pacific Standard, Forbes, and the Washington Post.* To quote Shakesville:

Every time, the people with whom I share this experience express shock. It is always, always, a surprise that a woman who does public advocacy is subjected to this sort of abuse.

And it shouldn’t be. Because every single woman I know who does public advocacy is subjected to it. . . .

And then we are told not to talk about it. We are told that we empower the people who do this to us. No. NO. Victims do not empower abusers. People who refuse to acknowledge that abuse do. People who tell victims to be silent do.

I am not going to be silent. I am tired of people being surprised. I am tired of hearing “I’m sorry this happens to you.” I don’t want shock and I don’t want pity.

I want your fucking awareness and I want your fucking anger.

I want us to talk about the real costs of being a woman who does public advocacy. I want us to acknowledge how the costs of providing a safe space is that we stand on the line and absorb massive amounts of abuse. I want us to make noise about the people who create an atmosphere in which women are discouraged from participation.

And I want people to stop telling me to be quiet about it.

In addition to the politicized, misogynist harassment, there’s the general garden-variety flavors of awfulness.

Actress Zelda Williams, daughter of comedy great Robin Williams who died Monday from an apparent suicide, has quit social media after receiving taunts from Internet trolls.

Williams abandoned her Twitter and Instagram accounts Tuesday after saying at least two people were sending her Photoshopped images of her father’s dead body and other disturbing messages.

“I’m sorry. I should’ve risen above,” she wrote in her final tweet. “Deleting this from my devices for a good long time, maybe forever. Time will tell. Goodbye.”

The episode proves that, with the anonymity of the Internet, some people will be horrible no matter the situation. (CNN)

buffy_hush1Though I don’t know enough of the facts to say this for sure, I can’t help wondering whether Williams’s daughter was receiving more online harassment than his two sons, and whether she was targeted for that higher level of harassment because — well, because we live in a fucking kyriarchy, that’s because. And if my vague suspicions are true, well then there’s a very fine line indeed between “garden-variety” Internet awfulness and the misogynist endeavor to silence women’s voices.

I don’t often use the word “hate” to describe my feelings for people. Cultural trends, political positions, social patterns, even individual actions — those I’ll use the term for often enough, but not so much for referencing an individual person, in their entirety. So suffice it to say that I’m really kinda hating the way that JALC was connected (however temporarily, however peripherally) to someone on just that sort of hate-filled trip.

* PS– Am I the only one who found it odd that the WaPo’s main angle was to talk about how online harassment was viewed by or affecting the female writer’s male partner? I’m not saying, I’m just saying…

———–

Image credits: 

South Park: http://designaterobertson.blogspot.com/2012/05/your-south-park-tigers.html

Buffy: http://mentalunlockdown.com/2014/04/19/hush-ed-or-hearthstones-positive-result-from-the-gentlemens-visit/

Melting My Heart

Years and years ago, I saw a Christmas-themed TV commercial where an adorable redhead is running to tell her parents that Santa had arrived! As they walk into the living room to see mountains of gifts piled up, Dad says something about “Those must have been some cookies you left out for Santa last night.” And the adorable redhead says….

Wait, let me do a Youtube check and see if I can embed the punchline for you to see with your own eyes:

(I [heart] the Internet.)

cheese-dogI have remembered this commercial with shocking clarity because it made such a profound impression on me. I, like this fictional Santa, am much more a lover of cheese than of cookies. Y’all may recall that different times throughout my HCG journey I talked about missing cheese, and when I was in that last stage of partial food restriction (fats okay, but still no carbs or grains), the thing I was most happy to bring back into my daily routine was cheese. I’m still having a cheese and egg white omelet for breakfast most mornings,* and there’s plenty of days where my late afternoon protein boost is a cheese stick or two. (Except the days it’s a small container of cashews.)

From childhood into adulthood, when I had toast or an English muffin for breakfast, I would always want to have a slice of melted cheese on top, instead of jelly. And my absolutely favorite food during my childhood was  macaroni and cheese. Lest I oversell the contrast between my childhood self and my sage maturity today, let me be really clear: I have not outgrown that love for mac & cheese. (Nor do I ever want to.)

But, even though I feel greatly abashed and embarrassed to say this — especially on a week when there’s been this whole kerfuffle about the FDA’s attempt (thankfully abandoned) to ban the making of artisanal cheeses — I have a confession to make.

I love Velveeta.

Your toxic kisses make my heart race
Faster than a cheetah
I’ve been stapled and spindled
My willpower’s dwindled
You melt resistance down like hot Velveeta!

~Reefer Madness, “Mary Jane/Mary Lane

I know, I know. Velveeta isn’t even really a cheese. The label on the box says “pasteurized recipe cheese food,” and I don’t know exactly what that means, but I do know it means “not really a real cheese.

And yet, it was a core pillar of my formative cheesy experiences. Something about its peculiar, pasteurized and processed nature gives it that uniquely “liquid gold” melty-ness. So, for many many childhood foods in my memory — the melted sauce for mac & cheese, melting a slice of cheese on top of that English muffin, cheeseburgers on the grill, cheese melted into an omelet for Sunday brunch, or even our cheese fondue on Christmas Eve — Velveeta was part of the recipe.

During those few years when we lived in Brasil, whenever Dad would head stateside for a business trip, we’d send him with an extra-large suitcase. It’d be mostly empty on the flight to the USA, and then would return chock-full of Velveeta cheese blocks and cans of Campbell’s Tomato Soup. Mom would host her own personal Velveeta cooking festival,** and I, hopelessly picky about food and struggling always to adjust to the heat, the flavors and the concrete surfaces of Sao Paolo, would feel, if only for a few dinners, like I was home.

As years have worn on, I have come more and more to replace Velveeta with really real cheeses in my life. So now, the morning omelet is made with colby-cheddar shred, the afternoon cheese sticks are mozzarella or cheddar, and if I’m melting cheese on top of toast it’ll be swiss or provolone. As for that Christmas Eve fondue? My brother-in-law, who is quite a talented cook but who doesn’t get much of a chance to express that with his work schedule, has taken that over and concocts a new and yummy combination every year.

But still. A block of Velveeta has been a perpetual staple in my fridge for my entire adult life, maintaining its prominence for two specific dishes: mac & cheese and queso. There’s even an unopened package in my fridge right now. (Why do you think it was so easy for me to get the precise wording off the box describing how it’s not really a real cheese?)

I bought it on autopilot right before I started the HCG journey, so it’s been sitting there a while. That hasn’t especially worried me — I figure the expiration date is probably 2023 or something. But I haven’t quite figured out whether I’m going to start eating it again, or toss it out unopened. I’m also not sure which imagined outcome of eating it scares me more: the possibility that my reset palate will find the flavor to be not-very-enjoyable and that my nostalgic love for Velveeta will be tarnished, or the possibility that renewed relationship with Velveeta will slide me right down the rabbit-hole of over-processed food all the time….

Until I can figure that out, I guess the package will just sit there on the bottom shelf of the fridge.

[Post-script] Writing 101, Day 10 prompt:

Tell us about your favorite childhood meal — the one that was always a treat, that meant “celebration,” or that comforted you and has deep roots in your memory.

Free free to focus on any aspect of the meal, from the food you ate to the people who were there to the event it marked.

Today’s twist: Tell the story in your own distinct voice.

Obviously, rather than following the suggestion to the letter, I ended up following the thread of a beloved food throughout multiple times and events. I also didn’t fret overmuch about “finding my voice.” If there is nothing else I am certain about in writing JALC, I do know that my voice here is authentic and authentically mine.

I can’t remember if I’ve talked about this before, but every time I sit down to write a post, and every time I feel blank or blocked within the process, the same prayer runs through me like a mantra: “Say it plain, say it true.” And yeah, my version of saying things “plain” is a slightly unusual version of the term.*** But that prayer, that compass guides me to true north. Every time. [/Post-script]

* Okay, it’s really one whole egg and a half-cup of egg whites.

** Our family’s separate body of Campbell’s Tomato Soup cuisine will, alas, have to wait for another day.

*** Perhaps the understatement of the year.

———-

Image credit: http://veryhilarious.com/i-notice-you-have-cheese/

For Neither Fame nor Money

Five years ago,* I started this blog to create a space for my self-education about fat acceptance, within the larger of context of my ongoing work to increase my capacity for self-acceptance and self-love.

Three months ago,** I came back here to continue that project, but with the more specific goal of using the structure of blogging to remain awake and in the study of my HCG experience as a detox journey, providing a quiet counter-narrative to the usual emphasis on HCG as a weight loss tool.

With the end of my HCG protocol, I’ve been a little bit wondering where to focus my blogging. The Isla Vista killings have provided a temporary focus in the 10 days since I completed my HCG experience, but I know I won’t be spending the rest of my writing life unpacking that one incident and its ramifications.***

So, once again, I’m grappling a bit with the question of “What am I doing here and what is it that I have/want to write about?”

I’m glad to say there’s been no pull towards stopping. I know to my bones that there something in the structure of writing here that has been beneficial for me. But a lot of the the conventional wisdom around blogging — find your niche, stay on target, use it to pitch yourself/your company/your products — just doesn’t mesh with where I’m at.

You see, I have no plans to be monetizing my blog in the foreseeable future. This is perhaps a self-evident statement considering my low reader count, my merely-half-hearted efforts at amplifying posts via social media, and my only-just-beginning level of effort to read all the other great writing out in the blogosphere and participate via follows and comments.

So, aside from the quirkiness that is me, I don’t entirely know what my niche is. And my interests are potentially wide-ranging enough to completely obliterate any hope of “niche” or “focus” or “staying on target.”

Challenge-AcceptedI’ve decided to take part in The Daily Post’s Writing 101 blogging challenge, in hopes that that structure might give a playground to help explore some of this territory. I’ve been looking over some of the archived prompts from recent Blogging 101 and Blogging 201 challenges, and I’m thinking some of those topics might also be fruitful tools for this exploration. (Even if I remain quite fuzzy around what it means to think about establishing a “brand” in this non-business non-monetizing headspace I’m in around my writing.)

I haven’t seen the first Writing 101 prompt, so I’m not sure how easily they’ll mesh with the other sorts of topics I want to be exploring. I do still have more ruminations sparked by Isla Vista, and then there’s events elsewhere in the world that also have me Thinking and Feeling things. If the prompts don’t interweave readily with the ongoing threads of my writing, I’m not quite sure how I’ll handle the time management required by “doubling up” on my posting.**** (And let’s not even get into the fact that I’ve also started re-establishing the daily ritual of morning pages/soul writing.)

I’ll figure all this writing out, one way or another. If nothing else, I can cut back on TV or embrace a little bit of sleep deprivation in my June….

* Give or take a month or so.

** Give or take a week or so.

*** Although there are legitimately a LOT of ramifications that could productively bear some examination.

**** Luckily, WordPress’s scheduling functionality allows me to stagger when things go online — like this very post, which was written in fits and starts over the weekend but has been scheduled to “go up” late Monday morning, East Coast time.

———-

Image credit: http://bunburyinthestacks.com/challenges/challenge-accepted/

The Challenge that Wasn’t

 

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/04/10/fed-up-poster_n_5127876.html
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/04/10/fed-up-poster_n_5127876.html

This morning, Dan Harris and Katie Couric were on GMA reporting out on their separate experiences trying Couric’s 10-Day “Fed Up Challenge.” Basically, the challenge is an awareness-raising publicity stunt designed to accompany the release of the new documentary that, as Mark Bittman describes in the NYTimes, presents “heavy-hitting facts about the dangers of the overconsumption of sugar and other hyperprocessed food.”

Couric and the other filmmakers encouraged a sugar-elimination regime that may sound familiar to followers of my HCG journey: fresh fruits and natural sugars are okay. The challenge instead is about avoiding anything that has added sugar in it. And I’m assuming part of the motivation behind issuing this challenge was to raise some level of public awareness about the shocking number of packaged and processed foods that contain added sugars — even when you might not expect them to.

Of course, the funny thing about Couric’s challenge, when seen through an it’s-all-about-me lens, was the ways that this “new” 10-day challenged overlapped so perfectly and precisely with the final days of my HCG journey. So for me, the “challenge” to avoid added sugars was pretty much routine by the time Couric was talking about it on the news shows.

But that’s just me. I find myself wondering how many folks have chosen/will choose to take this project on.  The website currently lists close to 28,000 registrants, but my mind is racing with so many possibilities — some significant portion of those folks may have tried and stopped, or there could be many more folks who are doing the challenge without registering, and there may be folks who come across the film and the challenge in weeks to come who add themselves to the list of participants — that I can’t tell if the figure of 28,000 participants is a Mama Bear, Papa Bear, or Baby Bear kind of number. (Too big, too small, or just right?)

And whatever the number of participants is, I wonder how many of them are being impacted by the experience. Do they find the preponderance of sugar on food labels as shocking as I did? Are they contemplating changing the structure of their food habits, or are they waiting out the time before going on the next sugar binge? (And, to stop deflecting and judging others and instead to take my own damn inventory: which of those possibilities will be my path? I’ve already had some cheese popcorn and a small piece of chocolate tonight, so it didn’t take me hardly any time post-HCG to dip my toe back into the addictive waters…)

Bittner is hopeful that the movie will make an impact on the American public:

The movie addresses what the former Food and Drug Administration commissioner David Kessler calls “one of the great public health epidemics of our time.” The greater public needs to know that.

As of this writing, the movie is in 19 markets, and doing well. If it were in hundreds of theaters, it would probably change more lives than any movie released this year, because if people see the film, they will get the message. It’s not a subtle one.

And it certainly seems as if there’s enough fear of impact that the inevitable backlash from the corporate machine has started. (As, thankfully, has the backlash against the backlash, most cogently embodied by Boston’s own* Union of Concerned Scientists.)

So, I remain curious to see how this will unfold.

———-

I’m also feeling into the question of whether I’m going to see the movie, and if so, when and where I will choose to do so. I have some hesitation because of all the ways I expect the film will give me stabby feelings. Both in the desire to strike out against the food industry, but also, I fear, in my desire to take a knife to the filmmakers themselves.

Because I am pretty damn sure that the film’s argument in many instances is going to boil down to “It’s sugar’s fault for making us fat!” After all, the HuffPo teaser for the film from which I got the poster, above, leads not with the scientifically accurate and scarier facts about diabetes and the food industry, but instead with society’s true monster-under-the-bed: being fat!**

The more nuanced and accurate perspective would be to say: “Sugar causes numerous health challenges and deficits which are sometimes but not always correlated with (not causing) weight gain, so we should focus on the sugar and not on monitoring people’s body size.”

Anyone want to quote me Vegas odds for that possibility? Don’t bother: I know full well there’s not a snowball’s chance in Rome of seeing that inconvenient polemic anywhere in Fed Up. More’s the pity.

* Okay, “Cambridge,” not Boston proper. I’m still having some hometown pride…

** And believe me when I say that was the least offensive of the options I found to link to as image sources.

Completion

Celebrating a Finish Line

I’ve talked before about how I’m not thinking of the end of my HCG journey as some sort of arrival at a mythical “I never need to think about detoxing again” kind of place. Nonetheless, a former co-worker of mine always talked about how necessary it is to celebrate the finish lines you achieve. Yes, there’s always a next thing, next task, next project right around the corner, and that deserves attention and energy. But it’s also essential to honor the tasks/things/projects you’re able to complete, and honor yourself for being able to complete them.

Completion
http://www.learntarot.com/todesc.htm

And tonight is a moment where I may not have reached the finish line on my detox journey, but it certainly have reached a finish line. Because today was my last day under the post-HCG dietary restrictions, meaning that I have successfully navigated through and to the end of this nine-week experience.

So: yay.

Though no exclamation point on that, because I am decidedly of mixed feelings.

I am truly proud to have accomplished this, to have found the self-care and discipline to live within the rules of the protocol. I am also looking forward to releasing the strictness of these rules — to being able to start weaving grains, legumes, and carbohydrates back into my diet. (In fact, I think there may be a batch of my famous three-bean “chili” to cook up some time soon…)

I am grateful for the opportunity to get a clearer sense of the distinction between physical and emotional hungers, though there’s another post to write about how I don’t actually think “emotional hunger” or “emotional eating” are necessarily a bad thing. Even though I’d sort of known about this already, it was truly shocking for me to really see and understand the quantity of foods that have added sugar in them, and I’m going to try and limit my intake of added sugars as I move forward.

From an energetic perspective, I am also glad to have taken this HCG journey. Obviously, as last night’s post revealed, I still have many ways in which I am limited and lots of places to keep learning and growing. But it does sense as if the nurturance in this experience — the role of HCG as a sort of “mother vitamin,” allowing myself to be supported by the center and my coaches, practicing maturity and self-care — has really helped take my victim identity off-line. Some significant piece of chronic resentment and suppressed rage that I’ve been carrying with me for rather a while seems to have resolved itself.

Ultimately, though, I also feel slightly embarrassed at the notion of being too proud about this “accomplishment.” Because, honestly, it wasn’t that difficult an experience to go through for these months.

Still: there were some moments of difficulty here and there, and I did manage to weather them. So, honor the finish line, honor myself for getting there, and much honor to Spirit and to my teachers for aiding my way on the path.

water well

The Well of Intuition

This great power, intuition, is composed of lightning-fast inner seeing, inner hearing, inner sensing, and inner knowing.

Over generations, these intuitive powers became as buried streams within women, buried by disuse and unfounded charges of disrepute. . . . I think we can be confident that things lost in the psyche are all still there. So, too, this well of women’s instinctual intuition has never been lost, and whatever is covered over can be brought back out again.

~~ Clarissa Pinkola Estes, Women Who Run With the Wolves, 76

Although my focus with the HCG journey was on detoxing rather than the usually-marketed weight loss routine, I will admit that I wondered whether the experience would support me in being able to move more fully towards intuitive eating. After all, the dietary regimen has given me a chance to get out of the habit of processed food, and I also had lots of opportunity to study the ways that my hungers are sometimes more about emotional needs than actual physical sustenance.

However, having been out of my dietary/cooking routines during the four days of the retreat, I’m not sure that intuitive eating thing has really kicked in. Instead, I can recall several moments when I kept eating — taking cashew after cashew out of the bag for a snack, or going back for that extra little bit of egg salad at lunchtime — well past the point of physical hunger. Responding instead to emotional tension or anxiety.

I don’t say this out of some self-flagellating, confessional instinct. After all, as I’ve said before (and will surely say again and again): I am not striving for a perfection movement.

What instead interests me is the awareness that I don’t yet have a lot of faith in my ability to eat intuitively.

Or, quite honestly, in any level of my intuition.

water well
http://brianmercerbooks.wordpress.com/2013/12/01/when-the-well-runs-dry-part-1/

The concluding movement from the weekend was a highly creative and individualized one, a movement that very much asked us to tune into our intuition. And although I have enough admiration for Clarissa Pinkola Estes that I will not choose to argue with her when she suggests that the well of intuition can always be mined and revived, I still gotta say that my intuition is feeling pretty far underwater.

I’m still too much trapped in my brain, caught up in the fear of “getting it wrong” to have the kind of surrender, the clear channel that allows my intuitive wisdom to come to the fore. And, as with my witnessing around those “extra” cashews, I am trying to name this in the spirit of honest self-examination rather than in a blaming/shaming tone. ‘Cos that sort of beat-up is the same kind of mind voice and ego eruption as the ones that kept me bottled up during the weekend.

Now I know, even in my self-imposed containment, I had some small offerings of intuition to make. And I also take some comfort in trusting that my faith and believing were contributions of their own flavor — perhaps an energetic support to those individuals who were more able to open up their creativity and intuitive insights.*

Still, it’s an area where I can keep studying, an area I can look to grow and express more fully. Which is why I started listening to the audiobook of Women Who Run With the Wolves during this morning’s commute. It’s probably well past time for me to become acquainted with this classic of feminist spirituality.

* Yeah, I know: coming up with this kind of justification to feel better about my contribution does serve also as a between-the-lines admission that, however much I’m trying to stay in witnessing rather than in self-castigation, there’s a little bit of that “mad at myself” piece going on. So, yeah: that happened.

The Value of a Wasted Day

Yesterday was somewhat rich with errands — Mr. Mezzo has a quick trip for family business today and tomorrow, so we were trying to get a full weekend’s amount of usefulness crammed into the single day. Then in the evening, I went into the final, most intense steps for the gall bladder flush, which consist of a couple of doses of Epsom salts to help “clear out” the system (as it were), and then a grapefruit juice/olive oil cocktail to encourage the gall bladder to release any accumulated stones in there.*

I had a fair amount of discomfort during the overnight hours, and thus far, there hasn’t been much in the way of internal “movement,” if you get my drift. (I had kinda hoped this particular issue would complete itself once I finished the damn HCG shots, but oh well.) So that’s been my excuse to take it kind of easy today.

There’s certainly things I could (should) be doing. I have a retreat weekend coming up starting early morning Thursday, and supposed appointments Tuesday and Wednesday nights, so I could very well be packing and getting organized. Alternately, I could be doing some UNpacking down in the basement, since I’ve lost some momentum there with last weekend’s concert and next weekend’s out-of-townness. And then there’s always the usual rounds of grocery shopping, cleaning and decluttering, checkbook-balancing, and so on and so forth.

I dare say those laundry lists of things are remaining undone. After all, if at 7 PM the most ambitious things you’ve managed with your day is to take a shower and start a load of laundry, there’s not a whole lot else that can happen at this point.**

Make-A-Deal-Doors
http://mathfest.blogspot.com/2008/04/monty-hall-probability-problem-in-news.html

I’ve had wasted days like this before. More than I’d like to admit. But tonight, rather than sliding into my usual funk of self-flagellation, I’m trying to be more at peace with my inaction. My choices at the moment seem to be either (1) stew in guilt and self-castigation for the next few hours, making my evening pretty darn miserable and undoing whatever self-care has been accomplished by such a relaxing day; OR (2) show myself some self-acceptance, trust in the rightness of my system needing/wanting rest today, and enjoying what few hours of awake time I have remaining for my Sunday.

So, as a change of pace, I’m going to try for Door #2. Perhaps I’ll get a little bit more done. Perhaps — probably — I won’t. Either way, that’s going to be okay.

(There’s also a whole side conversation that could be had about the types of hard work I am doing these days — between the HCG journey and this gall-stones cleanse, I’ve been putting a lot of time and energy into detoxing and that level of growth. Never mind the preparations going on for this upcoming retreat weekend. Perhaps it’s okay that some more “traditional” modes of self-care are being underplayed while I put my energy towards some things that are less readily observed but nonetheless crucially important.)

* No, it wasn’t quite as disgusting as you’d imagine. Close, but not quite.

** Especially if one is a Game of Thrones watcher and needs to be ready for that come 9’o’clock.