Just gaze at this charming description of my region:
It’s another Nor’Easter! My in-laws lost power but thankfully our old house (built in 1900) is somehow a bulwark never failing against storms (we nevah evah lose powah, kid). This week’s avalanche of death is being referred to as “Winter Storm Quinn,” which, honestly, for the 90s babies among us, is just kind of a bitchy move.
Because I am quite literally snowed in, here’s how I’ll be entertaining myself today:
Catching up on The Resident. You have got to get into this show. Matt Czuchry is so hot in it that it should be a federal crime. He’s one of those Paul Rudd bastards that only gets hotter with age. It’s a travesty. He’s bringing Logan Huntzberger charm & daddy issues to the role, except, instead of a yuppie, he’s a fucking doctor who fought in Afghanistan and has tattoos. I rest my case. Also, apart from this insane digression about how much of a borderline unacceptable crush I have on the lead actor, the show is actually very good. Shaunette Renée Wilson from Black Panther is in the main cast, and she is a revelation.
Bingeing The Good Wife on Hulu because Czuchry is also in that, and I have no dignity or shame. Doctor Logan, Lawyer Logan.
I submitted the following to the Man Repeller Writer’s Club for January 2018. The prompt was to write about one or all of the following in 500 words or fewer:
What’s a risk you took that you regret taking? What’s a risk that you’re glad you didn’t take? What a risk you wish you took? What’s a risk you hope you take this year?
I have been on this spinning blue orb for more than twenty-six years and I have never taken a single risk. Or, at least, it feels that way. I’ve never bungee-jumped, taken a transatlantic flight, publicly declared my love to someone, or gotten a tattoo larger than a postage stamp.
That’s not entirely fair. I’ve done some stuff. I dropped out of college (more than once) but ended up in graduate school, and, I mean, I got married. But, in the moment, these seemed like the safest options, hardly the risks they purport to be. I had played it safe for decades because the threat of the unknown was too daunting.
So, when I started therapy, I didn’t think much of it. It didn’t seem like a risk, because when I’d tried it before, I hadn’t learned anything. I didn’t do the work, I didn’t stick it out. I’d go once, maybe twice, declare it useless, and forge ahead with my life. But by the time my twenty-sixth birthday appeared on the horizon, the nihilism and hopelessness that had characterized my adult life became too overwhelming to bear. My panic attacks increased. I was drinking every day. I was unmoored from reality in a way that was jeopardizing my health and my marriage. And worst of all, I had no fucking clue what to do with my life.
And then I met Tanya. Her office was at the end of a long hallway in one of the campus’s newest buildings, which had the sterile vibe of a hospital ward. Her lime green loveseat reminded me of my childhood bedroom. After some sessions, I’ve fallen apart and failed to put myself back together for days at a time. I’ve arranged toys in a sand table and choked on my own tears. I’ve made resolutions, reported successes, and admitted failures. I’ve shown up drunk—she’s seen the worst parts of me up close. And most importantly, I’ve learned to trust another person with my real thoughts, my inner monologue, not just the bullshit performance everyone else sees. The chasm between how I see myself and how others see me is so much wider than I could have ever imagined. Vulnerability is a trip.
Tanya ends every session with the same line: “Remember what we talked about.” Sometimes, that’s the hardest part—remembering that I deserve to be happy, that I’m a good person. That I don’t need to constantly self-flagellate, or be polished and perfect every moment of the day. That I’m allowed to say no.
It’s been the greatest, shittiest, hardest, most wonderful six months of my life. Well worth the risk of actually getting to know myself.
I started going to yoga every Thursday night and Saturday morning and it is the single greatest thing I’ve ever done. Well, except this past Saturday, because I have a sinus thing, and when I went on Thursday I thought my head was going to explode from the pressure. But I mean, I’ve been getting into my practice.
Technically, I’ve been doing yoga on-and-off for over ten years. My #extremelywoke high school (lol) allowed us to choose gym class activities, so my cohort immediately chose yoga because of the promise of laying around for 5-10 minutes at the end. (I now know that this is savasana, and it’s a real posture, you guys!) At 15, I was shocked at how challenging it was—at 26, the challenge is like a drug! A super beneficial, calming drug. Walking out of a yoga class is like the first sips of wine after a long, hard day—without the calories and sugar. The more I go, the better I feel. Maybe that’s why I’m writing about it right now—I need my fix because I missed class on Saturday.
Honestly, yoga is the closest thing to religion I can experience without getting grossed out. I’m basically a she-devil/antichrist, so anything spiritual completely turns me off. That’s why yoga is so grounding—it’s about being at home in your physical body and showing gratitude for what you’re tangibly able to achieve. It’s about honoring your earthly self and your daily experience. It’s the opposite of contemptus mundi (RT if you took way too many Medieval Lit classes).
Di. Ver. Si. Ty. Say it with me! DIVERSITY. There was literally one person of color in my last yoga class. That might have to do with a number of factors, like geography and race & class demographics (apparently I live in the 28th highest-income county in the United States?! Out of over 3,000?! No one told my broke ass.), but it’s still tragic. When all the media representation of yoga is impossibly thin, hot white women in $100 leggings, I get why a more diverse group (diverse in terms of race, gender, class, age, etc) would be turned off by it.
We need to stop fetishizing brands and gear. It’s completely counterintuitive for yogis to be so materialistic (I am the worst offender, trust me)! You don’t need to look cute in class—you’re just going to sweat through your clothes anyway! Like, these and this will do just fine.
The cult of yoga shouldn’t be a distraction from our real lives. It’s so easy to leave a yoga class feeling spiritually cleansed, but it’s not a stand-in for reality. Just ask this former lulu employee.
And finally, more free or inexpensive classes. My classes are included with my regular gym membership, thank goodness, but at studios, drop-in classes are upwards of $15! My gym membership, therefore, pays for itself in a week. A monthly unlimited pass to a studio costs as much as my car payment. Check out your local community centers and colleges to see if they’re offering classes!
February’s in full swing! And on this Sunday morning, I’m in full pajamas with a full glass of cold brew. At least for the moment, I’m pretending that I don’t have chores to do and hundreds of pages of reading #gradschoolproblems. Here’s some of the stuff that made me smile this week.
P.S. This entire week is dedicated to The Purple One, in honor of Sheila E. shutting down Timberlake over the stupid hologram. This is my sole comment on the Super Bowl.
Valentine’s Day is so not my jam, but novelty pajamas absolutely are. I saw these at Target the other day and almost caved and bought them (there’s still time…) Also, tacos are life, and I need this shirt to add to my obnoxious collection of Francophile clothing items.
I am so excited about SOLO that I could scream. Donald Glover as Lando Calrissian is, I think, my exact number on the Kinsey Scale?! Summer can’t come fast enough!
Okay, okay. I’m like, the last person on earth to see this, but I finally watched Kylie Jenner’s pregnancy video and just about died from the sweetness. I’ve never actually seen KUWTK, and to me, Kylie Jenner is just “the lipstick girl,” but I have to give the whole fam (Kris) mad props for their marketing finesse. Also, we got to see Chicago West for the first time!
I have got to make this DIY. I’m obsessed with macarons (I know, basic), and this would look so cute on my bar cart! My bar cart apparently isn’t available from Target anymore, but maybe I should get a second one for coffee because this beautiful cart exists? I needed to lie down when I saw this one…gorgeous.
Sometimes you’re not in the mood to come up with a catchy title, y’know?
Backstory: I know virtually nothing about either side of my family. My parents are incredibly vague—my mother is Italian and a tad Irish, and my father insists that we’re English, as though a person could be purely one thing (what is he, a Slytherin?). But I’ve heard smatterings on both sides of, “Oh, so-and-so relative was French-Canadian,” or “So-and-so spoke fluent German,” and I have wild, thick, curly, frizzy hair that doesn’t seem characteristic of any of the above. I’ve met 6/8 of my great grandparents (they have all since passed away), but none of them ever mentioned a thing about their ancestors.
My paternal grandmother showed me her Ancestry.com DNA results last year, and ordered me my own kit for Christmas. I just got back the results, and putting together a family tree has been a total blast!
Unfortunately, I didn’t discover anything earth-shattering—I knew my Dad’s side had all come to America in the 1600s/1700s, but I figured my mom’s side would at least have a slightly cool history—no dice, Americans dating back well over a hundred years. But my makeup was not exactly what I was expecting. I am actually Italian (suck it, Dad), but everything else is a bit muddled.
This list is what some might refer to as WHITE AS FUCK. But there’s definitely ambiguity! For instance, Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Wales are part of Great Britain, so I’m vaguely confused as to why they are separate categories. Am I just super, like, Welsh? (#catherinezetajones, #tomjones) Europe South refers specifically to Italy & Greece, and Iberian, obviously, Spain & Portugal. I never would have guessed I had any Spanish or Portuguese (according to the Ancestry summaries, apparently the Romans dickishly colonized the Iberian peninsula, so maybe that has something to do with it?) but 11% is a decently significant percentage! Higher than the German or French I’d heard about. These results explain the amount of blondes in my family (of course, I got mud-brown wire growing out of my head instead of my brother’s golden waves) and the crazy-high percentage of folks with blue or green eyes.
The “low-confidence” regions are also fascinating. I knew about the Asia South, Middle East, and Scandinavia (they showed up in my paternal grandmother’s results as well), but I was pleasantly surprised to see European Jewish! That’s got to be from my mom’s side, and I’m sure there’s a fascinating story there. I’ve always actually suspected that I might have some Jewish ancestry—I hope this isn’t inappropriate or fetishistic to say, but I’ve always felt very drawn to Jewish culture and traditions. Christianity (or Catholicism, my brand) never clicked for me. Watch it be a processing error.
The freakiest part of all of this is that, based on your DNA, you can track migrations over the past few hundred years and, insanely enough, it matches up exactly with my paternal family tree! From New England, my ancestors did actually end up in the Midwest and the West!
I went into an Ancestry.com free trial k-hole for hours and managed to figure out quite a bit about my family from public records (my dad’s side is way easier to pin down, since they’ve been Americans for 300 years—I’m basically, like, Cotton Mather). Since I only have one side that has any ostensible “ethnicity,” it bums me out that the language hasn’t carried over generationally. I know probably the most Italian out of everyone in my family and I only took Italian I in high school!
Now all I need is to get famous enough for Henry Louis Gates Jr. to research my ancestry and tell me about all the crazy shit my family did 150 years ago. From the research I’ve been able to accomplish, I’m likely not descended of slaveowners which is honestly a bit of a relief—that’s always a tough pill to swallow on Finding Your Roots. I mean, I’m sure my family were a bunch of white devils but at least I don’t have to live with crimes against humanity on my conscience.
This whole experience has me yearning to know more. I’ve always been a history nerd (with the amount of time I spent reading historical fiction in my youth, it’s amazing I ever got a high school boyfriend), and I’m a Leo, so it’s fun to finally insert MYSELF into the narrative. I’m still as American as prohibitively expensive healthcare and morbid obesity (dark?) but at least I have a clearer sense of where I big-picture “come from.”