3. Lauren writes a piece.

A book open on its spine with pages fluttering

Laruen spent the Uber drive sullen in the backseat, getting herself angrier and angrier, ignoring the driver’s attempts at making conversation and looking up ideas on how to prove that Fred was cheating on her. When the driver left her in front of her apartment building in Manhattan, she took a screenshot of the payment amount (including a $3 tip) and texted it to Fred, with a short, “Help me with this, please.”

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2. Lauren can’t sleep.

A book open on its spine with pages fluttering

Fred fell asleep and settled into a calm, soft snore in about three minutes. Lauren couldn’t sleep. Her anxiety was relentless, and she couldn’t stop thinking. She considered putting on a podcast but was afraid to wake Fred up. Even though he was a heavy sleeper, he was very firm about not being disturbed while he slept. His bedroom was a cave of complete darkness, with blackout curtains over the windows, a white noise machine, and a fan running to keep Fred asleep and disturbances from the rest of the world out. It was a perfect laboratory to encourage Lauren’s mind to wander in and out of doubt and overthinking.

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Sunday morning quarantine

A picture of my patio on a sunny day with plants, my notebook, a cup of tea, and a yellow watering can

I woke up at 8:30 and couldn’t sleep anymore. I scrolled through Facebook thinking, I’ll just let this pass and then I’ll go back to sleep for a few more hours. We’d gone to bed at 2am the night before, not for any reason, just watching the last season of “Schitt’s Creek” aimlessly after having binged “The Tiger King” before. I’d drifted off around 3am or so. Five hours is more sleep than most Americans with day jobs get, I thought. But it felt like a tragedy, the inability to sleep in on a Sunday.

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The Loneliest Easter

A woman sitting in a bed alone with a basket of Easter eggs

It sounded like overkill. They cancelled SXSW in Austin, even though there were no confirmed cases of the virus in the city. Even though the President of the United States and the VP were all saying that cases in the country would be going down soon enough. Tech companies in California that we relied on for social media services sent us emails about how they were asking their employees to work from home and what their business continuity plans were. 

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The 4 Trauma Languages

A white lion from South Africa growls menacingly

My father’s oldest brother died this past Sunday morning, suddenly and without much warning. He was 72. It was a shock. I spent the day unable to think, moving through the world like a sleepwalker. 

The death of a loved one is a trauma, regardless of how quick or drawn out it is. In talking with my mother about our reactions to trauma, and how differently my sisters react as compared to my parents, and how different their reactions are to each other, led me to think about the idea of “trauma languages”.

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I’m in visa hell

I am supposed to be in India right now. I was supposed to leave this past Sunday afternoon and spend about 36 hours flying to Goa to visit my husband’s father’s family. We were going to have a wedding reception so I could meet his father’s family who couldn’t come to our wedding this fall, and we were going to spread his father’s ashes. We were also thinking of taking a side trip to Hampi or Jaisalmer, because we’d have three and a half weeks in India to kick around. And we were looking forward to spending some Christmas holiday time at the beach.

But I haven’t even left Austin because I am in visa hell.

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The sacrifice of your best art is your duty to the world as an artist

Young Girl Drawing by the Light of a Christmas Tree

It’s the holiday season, which means Christmas music is blaring from almost everywhere. Because I work from home and have been traveling a lot, I haven’t actually been overwhelmed by it this year, and I have been able to choose what songs I listen to. There are a couple that I genuinely like, but this year there’s one in particular that has struck me as meaningful to my life right now.

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The origin of my Halloween tradition: mash o’ nine

I love holidays, mostly because I enjoy marking seasons and changes in the earth that human beings have decided are important over our brief history. I am always on the lookout for a “tradition” that hearkens back to something deeper than the commercial holidays we celebrate in America without bothering to ask why. In 2008, I decided I wanted to do something really traditional for Halloween, other than carving a pumpkin or putting on a costume. I thought I’d try to find a tradition from my own cultural heritage, which in broad strokes means the British Isles — Scotland, England, Ireland. I wanted mark the holiday by making a traditional Halloween dinner. 

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What it’s like to treat a mental illness

This morning I rolled over at 7:40am — just about my normal natural wake-up time these days — but with a strange feeling that there was no way I could get out of bed. I felt nailed down. I couldn’t open my eyes. My dreams had been extremely detailed and lucid, about infiltrating a coworking space in Corfu where they were extremely tight-fisted with the amenities as I wasn’t a member, but a guest, and my parents had to basically parachute in to save me. 

“Hm,” I wondered to myself. “I wonder what could have caused these strange dreams?”

Perhaps a glass of wine at the comedy show we went to? Perhaps the cold and allergy medicine I’ve been taking the past few days? 

I woke up an hour and a half later with the realization that I was dreaming so lucidly because I had forgotten to take my antidepressant medication the night before.

What tipped me off was that I woke up to an orgasm.

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