Winter is wrapping itself around the city, well, it was when I drafted that sentence. Yesterday it was in the seventies. Every year I have to remind myself that the season is longer than I always think, which is still shorter than winter in many places. I’ve set weather widgets for places I think about, and it’s an exercise in dreaming when I look at the temperatures across the world.
Speaking of, this city. Austin, Texas. A place where tech-bro is the dominant culture. Pickleball as beer pong for the slightly more grown-up. Austin is a place, frankly, I didn’t dream about returning to.
Two weeks ago, I deleted Instagram from my phone (again). This time it feels different from breaks I’ve done in the past when the news was too hard to bear. I realized I felt following someone on social media was somehow maintaining friendship. As the blue bird dies its drawn-out death, I worry, who will I lose contact with when the same happens to the last social network I use? A contradiction.
And back to our decision to return to a state that doesn’t care if I die? We moved back to be closer to a circle of people who do care. More contradiction. I’m only starting to allow myself to figure out what this year was about, but I know the thread that runs through all of 2022 is finding safety. Pulling closer to people who make me feel safe. Removing myself from places & people that feel unsafe. Being better about being able to tell. Finding people who likewise need a specific level of safety from those around them. Maybe you, too, have been afraid for the past two or four (plus) years and understand?
I’ll tell you this: I turned thirty-five this year and did/had a lot to stress out about. My hair is thinning, and I’m sure I have laugh lines. All to say, I’m getting into years where I am growing my powers of making things big or small. I have the choice. I have a choice if I want it. May the ugliest things that happen to me be very small. May the loveliest grow enormously.
How are you taking care of yourself?
All my best,
or things I’ve read, viewed, listened to and that are zinging through my brain
art by Gina M. Contreras
Thick by Tressie McMiliam Cottom
essays by Umair Haque
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