The Daily, the daily podcast from the New York Times that usually brings me the joys of what our commander in chief is doing from his high chair each and every morning, did an incredible week-long series about Baltimore in the aftermath of the police brutality case against Freddie Gray called “Charm City.” Freddie was the one who died from a spinal cord injury after a ‘rough ride’ in the police van in 2015. The series follows the police shooting of another young black man named “Nook“ and his mother, grandmother and the overall situation in Baltimore. It’s really tough. Really, really tough. And because it’s the New York Times and they are the best journalists out there, it’s also just a really good introspective on the problems in Baltimore, what brought it to the place it is today, the real story behind the policing of Baltimore (it’s bad, really bad) and feels so hopeless. It doesn’t end on a happy note. There is no pretty bow that ties it up.
At the same time, I’m listening to another audio series out of the New York Times called Caliphate. It’s a deep dive into, you guessed it, The Caliphate. Ya know… Isis. It’s incredible. It’s the best reporting I’ve ever heard (from Rukmini Callimachi). I’m obsessed with it and wish I was binging it instead of listening week by week. If you’re new to the reporting, you’re lucky. Wait a few more weeks and you can hear it ALL at once. But it’s not happy. It’s about ISIS. They aren’t great dudes.
So there’s a lot of heaviness happening right now. Not to mention I just turned 35….
I don’t mind being IN it. I think so much of life can be The Bachelorette and Twilight and Aaron Tveit that it’s okay to hurt and cry on your birthday listening to a cracked out mom talk about her drug dealing son who got shot. But I’ve had a lot of it lately. I don’t know that I’m balancing the light with the heavy. So here is how I’m trying:
Top 5 Things to do when I’m feeling Blue
1. Suddenly decide Chardonnay is the new Rosè.
That oaky buttery finish? That sweet but not pinot grigio sweet on a hot summer day? That “I’m the only female not drinking rosè at an outdoor beer/wine garden” feeling? Priceless. (Obvi I had Frozé at my neighborhood’s summer block part on Saturday)
2. Disconnect with Jo.
My boyfriend’s mom got me a subscription to The Magnolia Journal, the magazine by Chip and Joanna Gaines. I live in a city. It’s gritty. My backyard is concrete. I don’t have a garden (unless my dying herbs count) or children or a simple life, at all. Yet reading the magazine made me want to. No, not completely. I love my life and my city and the busyness- but seeing Jo and Chip’s life on the farm, the focus on their children, the simple recipes for entertaining outdoors, made me want a simple life, if even for a half hour while I was reading.
3. Binge Season 2 of Riverdale:
You don’t think all the heaviness meant NO entertainment, did you? Hell no! I’m binging the eff out of Riverdale season 2. What the hell Dark Betty? And Dark Archie and Dark Jughead? Is Veronica the fairest of you ALL?
4. Self Pleasure, hard core:
You’ll always laugh at that one right? But right now self-pleasuring means I’m burning lavender smokeless incense from Bodha and buying myself flowers weekly. I even spring for the $16 bouquet sometimes, guys. It’s Peonie season!
There is something about chopping up vegetables, making a sauce, adding 3 times the amount of garlic as instructed and drinking chardonnay while stirring that just calms me. I’ll confess, sometimes I’m doing that WHILE learning about the atrocities of Isis, but other times I’m listening to music, enjoying the breeze through the screen door in the kitchen and catching up on texts with my various group chats. Cooking is the most stressful activity if I don’t have all the ingredients and have no ideas on what to make and it’s approaching 7 pm, but when there are fresh veggies to be chopped, a piece of fish thawed and ready for the grill and snacks (for my boyfriend to much on before dinner because there is rarely a day when we eat before 8 pm), I am in heaven.
So that’s how I’m surviving life right now. How about you?