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Let it go
Go ahead, do that thing you want to do
The minute I left my Tribeca office on Friday, probably for the last time in weeks, a switch flipped. I made some essential (and extremely unessential) purchases. I went home. The pants came off. I hit the couch. And 48 hours of teendom began.
I surrounded myself with my favorite snacks, gnawing my way through white cheddar popcorn and veggie sticks stabbed into cheese triangles and dipped into Trader Joe’s tzatziki sauce and olive tapenade. I bought a single pomegranate for $7 (!), and I picked it apart piece by piece for 45 minutes. After that, I ate some Ben and Jerry’s Cookie Dough Chunks. I had impulsively bought a Puff Bar, a candy-flavored Nicotine stick (I’m not a smoker, I know the teens are headed for an epidemic, don’t @ me), and I puffed on it for awhile as I had a few gin and sodas with lemon in my favorite lavender, gold-rimmed glass. Seasons of Project Runway flew by while I fiddled on my phone, racking up hours beyond the allotted 90 minutes of screen time a day I usually try to stick to. I did little reading. I couldn’t concentrate on much. I only left my house to take solo Prospect Park walks and do some light swan stalking. I called my friends and family and had long conversations. I barely existed. It was its own kind of bliss.
For those two days, as I dealt with anxiety, uncertainty, solitude and a rapidly changing reality, I gave myself permission to let it all go. I did many of the things I’ve categorized as “bad” over the years—drinking alone, eating nutritionless foods at odd hours, gazing lovingly into my little black mirror, turning my brain the hell off. It felt so good to drop the self-discipline, self-chastising and neverending battle for betterment, just for a little while, just to help cope with a looming public health crisis. I’m not perfect, neither are you, and sometimes it is just fine to just say, “Fuck it!” and give into the craving for extra sleep, or comfort food, or truly dumb TV, or to simply “waste” a lot of time. Like Alanis once said, “How ’bout me enjoying the moment for once?”
Now that I’m moving into indefinite work from home, I know well that the chill teen lifestyle is not sustainable. I know which habits are important to keep top of mind so I remain healthy and happy. I’ll do those things—but, sometimes, I’ll leave room for the other things. The point is, seek balance, be well, and give yourself a break.
Remember the basics:
Drink water. Eat what makes you feel good. Exercise regularly. (I love the free Nike Training Club app—it’s great for beginners or no-equipment workouts you can do at home. And Daily Burn is giving people 60 days of free workouts.) Journal. Create. Carve out time to play. Stay connected to your friends and family through calls, FaceTime, and emails, and consider sending snail mail, such a pleasure to send and receive.
Here’s a list of past newsletter links that might be a good reminder as we wade through the next few weeks:
On crafting rituals, and the creative women who came before us
Sharing a visualization tool that helps me maintain emotional sea level
A forever reminder: You will be okay
Need a great book? Here’s suggestions from CSBC readers
You already know the truth
This too shall pass
Do whatever doesn’t make it worse. And I’m here to talk to anyone who needs a listening ear—or is bored to tears.
A photographer’s parents wave farewell by Eren Orbey in the New Yorker, photos by Deanna Dikeman
How to not say the wrong thing to a grieving person by Susan Silk and Barry Goldman in the Los Angeles Times. God, this is great advice—great enough to remember for a lifetime.
Is thumbing—or constantly being on your phone in public—keeping us from connecting IRL? by Corinne Sullivan on Elite Daily. Okay, no one is out in public right now, but, in more normal times, I think our phone addictions are certainly keeping us from connecting with each other. How much more would we be interacting with strangers—in a dating context or not—if we weren’t on our phones every spare second we have? And how much better would our mental health be if we didn’t use our phones as a habitual safety net from having to spend any time alone with our thoughts?
You should close this newsletter down, and other lies shame tells me by Nicola Slawson at her newsletter, the Single Supplement. Can relate! Remember to tell shame to fuck off daily!
Jessica Dore’s March 2020 tarot offering
The lesson of the Justice card is that we are co-creating our realities to a very real extent, whether we are conscious of it or not, and that when we aren’t moving with a certain level of awareness—or when, as Catherine MacCoun wrote “our unconscious will is stronger than our conscious intention,” we are bound to continue living under the rule of the same patterns and struggles, living lives that are mechanical, not magical.
Sometimes the consequences of a mechanical life—that is, one that is based entirely on the program of getting the most for the least, aren’t that bad. But oftentimes they are…
Desire is a birthplace of miracles. Desire is where we work with the subtle energy of the latent spaces between what we have now and what we hope for. In psychotherapy terms, we’d say that what we hope for is a life that’s in alignment with our values, or the things we hold precious that are worth doing the work for. In old stories, we’d describe what we hope for in terms of what moves us toward some mythic treasure, the thing that sets our sails, the Holy Grail (Ace of Cups).
Questionable self-care advice
Support I got that you might need to hear
This tweet, forever and ever. Halima says it was inspired by our interview. 💖
I enthusiastically endorse
I’m a guest on the Luminaries podcast, hosted by my dear friend, writer and performer David Goldberg! We discuss the beginnings of Cruel Summer Book Club, our long friendship (we met the day I interviewed him to be an assistant editor at Time Out New York—he got the job, honey!), and fighting through shame to create meaningful art.
Please Like Me. I binged all of it on Hulu over the past couple weeks. It’s great for feeling better about your own life circumstances, developing a crushing envy of Josh Thomas’s fictional sex life, and crying your eyes out.
Watching music videos for hours. Start with this one.
FaceTime calls with many of your friends at once. My group called in from three different states last night and it was so much fun.
I have more room for free digital “office hours” for female-identifying journalists if you’d like to chat with me:
I’m in LA with my sister, and Minerva is really feeling some type of way about being thrown into a home with Lola the dog and Kiki the kitten. They’re still working through some differences.
This cheered me up
This perfect moment in the moonlight:
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Thanks to Kelly Barrett for calling out CSBC as a newsletter she loves in her own newsletter, Om Weekly.
Shannon Simcox named CSBC as one of her favorite things on her website, By My Pen. I’m so glad I inspired you to pick up Daily Rituals: Women at Work!
Cruel Summer Book Club: I know, right off the bat it sounds like something up our alley, right? Jillian Anthony’s most recent edition is about rituals, those we love, those we hate, those that just happen, and how some very famous people have some very flawed rituals. I bought the book Daily Rituals: Women at Work, without thinking twice about my book budget, immediately upon finishing this week’s newsletter. It lives on my Kindle now and I can’t wait to jump in.