Your Coping Guide for This Week
I appreciate you, dammit.
Hello, my angels and saints. These are tough days. I hope I can offer you some comfort here. Let’s gather ‘round and tell our most terrible relatives to fuck off, shall we? Particularly when they parrot the claim that the mainstream media is “liberal.”has an excellent response to such stupidity over at The Present Age, by the way.
Here’s what you’ll get in this issue of SARATONIN: First, the recommendations. Next, advice on stress relief. I have no cocktail recipes, because Lord willing and the creek don’t rise, I’ll have four years sober on Friday - but as of now, according to my trusty Nomo app, I’ve got 47 months. 208 weeks. 1,457 days. 34,981 hours. Gonna go for 34,982 hours, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves.
I have a lovely community that helps me with this shit, so don’t you worry, but sometimes it helps to just say the thing out loud, you know?
Later this week, there will be a brief essay, available just to paid Substack subscribers and Patreon patrons. Are you either of these things? I am grateful for all readers, but I do hope you’ll consider throwing a few coins in the pot as a favor to Motherdaddy. In lieu of that, please consider something vastly more important: a donation to The Trevor Project and/or Everytown.
Let’s take a moment to remember some of those we’ve lost this past year, and this past weekend. You may want to take a deep breath and read these names. Or you may feel you’ve had enough grief for today, and scroll right past. I’m not keeping tabs on you. The names will still be here if you come back later.
I am so sorry we have lost these and other beautiful people. I am so glad you are still here. I know some of you don’t want to stick around sometimes, and I get it. Sometimes the choice is taken out of our hands, as it was for these and other people.
It can feel odd at times like this to smile or laugh at some random newsletter (or at anything, really) but some of the silliness may help you feel better. That’s my hope, anyway.
Now, let’s get into this week’s recommendations. I have deliberately chosen some very, um, over-the-top photos to accompany this issue of SARATONIN. Because as long as we’re all still here, we may as well be loud about it.
Kowboy Kade on Instagram - Kowboy Kade will help heal any wounds. They made that yassified Grinch costume. Every time I look at these photos, I laugh until I weep.
Take it easy this week - Put your feet up. Drink some water. Have a hot cocoa with the good kind of vegan marshmallows. Ignore your mean grandma’s phone calls (take the calls from your good grandma.) If you feel heartbroken, frightened, upset, anxious, or whatever else, try not to yell at yourself for being human. Maybe other people in your life do that to you, but you don’t need to do it to yourself.
An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz - I have just begun this 2015 book, and I’m so glad I learned about it from Zinn Education Project.
ICYMI: “Motherhood and Other Mysteries” - a public essay originally posted on Medium, reposted on Substack and Patreon. I don’t say this in the essay, but I wrote it after reading about the murders in Colorado. It’s about parenting, grief, loss, Greek mythology, pomegranates, caregiving, friendship and other things.celebrity profile is always a cause for celebration.
The Loveland Foundation Therapy Fund - Another organization providing free counseling to those who need it. Holidays are rough all over. Help them clear their waitlist of patients awaiting therapy.
Meditative Story - Each brief podcast episode centers around one person’s true story, interspersed with the host leading the listener through breathing and visualization exercises. Here it is on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and Google Podcasts. This would be a particularly interesting week to subscribe, maybe, possibly! Who can say why? Not I!
Wonkette - Always ridiculous and a reminder of how bananas the Internet can be, in a fun way.
Bossip - Everyone here is a creative writing hero.
Miry’s List - Miry's List is now supporting resettling refugee families in 24 states across the country. More than half of their program recipients are babies and kids. New arrival families often speak limited English, and arrive carrying trauma and grief. They are frequently housed in empty or sparsely furnished apartments, lacking resources to meet basic needs. I love Miry and I love this group.
Atlas Obscura - Cowboy taaaaake me awaaaaaay - just kidding, give me all your money and I’ll take myself away to one of these weird destinations.
Why You Should Get Another Cat - Goddammit, Jackson Galaxy. What are you trying to do to my stable one-cat household?!
So yeah, it’s a tough week. And how the hell are you doing? Are you heading to eat with family on Thursday? Are you gobbling food with friends? Are you spending the time joyfully or sorrowfully or who-gives-a-fuck-ally alone? Are you protesting? Do you have to work? Do you want to work?
Here are some stress relief tips that have worked for me in the past.
1.) Hide in the bathroom and write in your journal.
Do you have food sensitivities or allergies? WELL, YOU DO NOW. Let me introduce you to an avoidant Italian American’s favorite holiday weapon: agita. It’s our slang for heartburn, tummyache, or even the demon shits, derived from the Italian agitare (“to agitate.”) We are supposed to eat a lot at holidays, and it’s totally understandable that this sometimes causes agita. It’s not an offense to the cook (although, truth be told, sometimes it’s due to a touch of food poisoning.) Usually, it’s an admission that we “ate too much,” which is honestly a compliment to the cook.
Anyway, claim, “I got agita” and excuse yourself to hide in the bathroom for fifteen to 75 minutes. This is an excellent time to text your friends or to rage-scribble in a tiny notebook you’ve hidden in your cleavage (ass or titties), just for this purpose.
2.) Fall asleep
An iconic defense move perfected by dads everywhere since TV was invented. Use tryptophan as your excuse. Are you the vegan who gets harassed at every meal because you won’t eat turkey, the thing with the slumber-inducing chemical? Make some shit up and claim it’s in tofu.
3.) Dress a toddler up as Kowboy Kade as the Grinch
4.) Take your meds.
I know whereof I speak. Take them. TAKE THEM.
5.) Learn about recovery meetings
“Recovery” doesn’t just mean sobriety from alcohol, or joining one of the more well-known groups. Check out The Small Bow and Refuge Recovery if you’re interested. I don’t represent those or any recovery groups. I have just heard some good things about them, and have benefited from reading The Small Bow newsletter.
6.) Conspicuously leave a book by Nedra Glover Tawwab out
Okay, some of her work is about getting us to not be passive-aggressive, buuuut this would be funny, for a minute. (Do read her stuff, though, it’s good common sense.)
7.) Say no.
No, I don’t want to do that. No, I won’t be joining you. No, I have no interest in that.
Polly and I wish you the best in this and every season. Not just because you’re hot. But not not because you’re hot. You know? You know.