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 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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Hildegard

Hildegard

“Kat, I didn’t know you were pregnant!”

She said it with such joy and enthusiasm, you could tell she was genuinely happy for me. She admired me and thought I was fabulous; having kids would be fabulous, too.

I stole a glance at the 40-year-old woman sitting next to her, a new friend I’d made in the last few days as we were carted around the Dominican Republic to view resorts and excursions where we could send tourists. She had an understanding look in her eyes, wondering what I would do next.

“I’m not,” I replied. “It’s old age. And I’m embracing it.”

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Things I’m doing instead of losing weight for my wedding

When you get engaged, it’s assumed you’re going to lose weight for your wedding. Nearly a third of brides want to lose weight, usually at least 20 lbs, before they tie the knot (or really, before what may be the most photographed day of their lives). This means brides are marketed diets, pills, supplements, and exercise fads as if their lives depended on it. 

I’ve already established that I’m not a great bride, and it turns out, losing weight for my wedding has been struck from the list of things I’m going to do, too. With three weeks to go until the big day, I’m still not sure I’m going to fit into the dress I bought when we first got engaged. 

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Please treat my depression like cancer

In talking with my nutritionist during eating disorder treatment last week, we decided that my depression is a bigger issue than my eating disorder, and that seeing her was probably not necessarily going to help much going forward.

But she did give me this gem:

“If someone got cancer, would you blame them for it? No, and you shouldn’t blame yourself for depression.”

I thought this was a pretty great metaphor. I need to start treating my depression like it’s cancer.

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