Something Extra For You
A bonus post for paid subscribers and patrons
I woke up anxious today. To quote our friends at boygenius, I was “staring at the ceiling fan and spinning out about things that haven't happened.”
I took a shower (thank you), put on my blue light blocker glasses and some black stretch pants I bought before my grandmother’s funeral in 2018 (beneath a Catholic mourning dress, one does appreciate comfort). I’m also wearing zero makeup and a shirt that says Daddy on the pocket. I am hoping for the best.
I’m sharing part of this bonus post from SARATONIN Industries, LLC (not a real corporate entity) with everybody so you can get a taste of what goes behind the paywall. Paid Substack subscribers and Patreon folks get two extra posts per month in addition to the four SARATONIN issues everybody gets.
Saratonin is a reader-supported publication. Become a free or paid subscriber here.
In addition, patrons on Patreon get four episodes of a patrons-only podcast called THE AUDIO LETTER.
Anyway, I’m glad you’re here, no matter what.
If you’re interested in a free public podcast devoted to stress relief, check out “Well, This Isn’t Normal” on Apple or other pod places. From March 2020 to February 2023 I did 80 episodes full of relaxation tips, meditation techniques, and interviews with tons of folks on how they dealt with stress in general.
The podcast is returning soon with a new name and new focus, but I hope you enjoy what’s available now for your edification. I hope it soothes you if you need that.
Most of what I do is selfish altruism. I hope to help other people. In turn, it helps me. That is as true for this newsletter as it is for the podcasts, my books, and other stuff. It helps me feel less lonely in the world, and, briefly, less frightened to get another day here.
Here’s a 2019 photo in the Daddy shirt. I had had my makeup done professionally for reasons I cannot recall and was probably in the pre-event glam space between getting my face done and getting my hair did. I must’ve done something onstage or on-camera that day, but my brain does not remember.
Pre-pandemic memories, right?
Also, I was in my first year of sobriety, which is a hazy time, to say the least.
I am a bit less done up these days, usually.
Now, on to things other folks have made. Most of you will see some of it and some of you will see all of it. I hope you enjoy.
Recommendations - This hit: “Before a big leap forward there is often a substantially tough moment you must get through. The challenge is sometimes within you in the form of old conditioning that suddenly arises with heavy past pain…instead of trying to ignore it and push it aside, you decide to face the storm head on. You know you are not who you were before, you know that you have new tools that can support you in acting skillfully...”
I am trying, as best I can, to change some old behaviors and the patterns of thinking and reacting that drive them. If you are, too, I send you my best. We can keep trying.by Roxane Gay - I recommend this newsletter all the time, and I shan’t stop today.
‘Queen Cleopatra’ Director Speaks Out: ‘What Bothers You So Much About a Black Cleopatra?’ (EXCLUSIVE) by Tina Gharavi for Variety - This one was recommended by Roxane Gay in The Audacity. Ms. Gharavi is Persian, and points out that Cleopatra’s ancestry has typically been described as Macedonian (due to her descent from Alexander the Great), Greek, and/or Persian. However, Cleopatra was several generations removed from the Macedonian conqueror, and her family had intermarried with other groups.
The bigger point is this: who gives a shit if an American production casts a Black actress as Cleopatra?
Apparently, plenty of people, in Egypt and here in the United States. Gharavi writes with ferocity and good humor. She’s been through it.
How ‘Weathering’ Contributes to Racial Health Disparities by Alisha Haridasani Gupta for the New York Times - This is another story recommended by Roxane Gay. I had heard of “weathering” by that name and by others, but not the researchers who have worked hard to convince the wider (white) world that it exists.
It has long been obvious to anyone paying attention (particularly to those in affected groups) that the stress of living in the United States takes a particular toll on people who are not white, and most especially on those who are poor. I remember hearing Black comedians talking about this in stand-up specials when I was a little kid. As a little white girl living in a middle-class white home in a middle-class white town, my first knowledge of a lot of social and economic issues came from comedians on TV.
Dr. Camara Jones, a Black epidemiologist now working at Emory University, found resistance to her own research on the subject in the 1990s:
“White people, in general, are given more credit when they’re naming racism,” she said. “When people of color do that, we are seen as having a chip on our shoulder or being subjective.”
Now a white researcher, Dr. Arline Geronimus, who has dedicated her professional career to the subject of weathering, has published her first book.
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