May 3, 2019

Hello I am tired but here are 5 things I have found for you. I have read many stupid things this week to find 5 I feel good about. This post was going to be all about privacy on the internet, corporations and our government selling our data to each other, and how we can be vigilant in protecting our information but there are ever-evolving ways that it is being violated. We can whack one mole and two more pop up! But it turns out that most people I ranted about this to in the last week found this depressing, and so here we are with a few of my favorite and safe things: sled dogs, letters, language, clothes, and FEELINGS. Have a great weekend!

  1. Blair Braverman on the Iditarod, Fear, and Resilience, Outside. “It doesn’t get easier,” she wrote. “You get stronger.” This struck me as the most profound thing I’d ever seen. Because I’d seen the dogs get stronger, day after day. Ever since we crossed the Alaska Range, they’d started getting a little less tired after each long run, a little more confident, a little bouncier. They were efficient. They developed incredible appetites, with each dog devouring up to three pounds of meat per meal. They rested when they could, napping at river crossings while I waded into the frigid water in search of the best place to ford, then got up quickly when it was time to go. They bonded as a team, trusting each other’s senses, sleeping in cozy piles with their heads on each other’s necks. I could see them growing, adapting, with each mile. But it hadn’t occurred to me that something similar might be happening to me—something I hadn’t noticed, because I’d been busy watching the dogs. I was learning to break the impossible into tiny pieces. I was learning the difference between limits that can and can’t be pushed. I kept waiting for the trail to get easier, but maybe it wasn’t going to. Maybe all you could do was keep moving.” I know I’ve shared Blair Braverman stuff before, but this is her essay on the experience of running the Iditarod for the first time. I just love it so much: the adventure, the training and endurance, the bond between dogs and human, the historic race. My admiration for Braverman makes me understand why people name athletes among their heroes.
  2. Re: re: re: re:, The California Sunday Magazine. These collected letters (and other types of correspondence) are so beautiful. It’s all true correspondence, but I felt like I was reading short stories, and getting glimpses into these people’s’ lives and relationships is moving. I especially like the collaborative sketchbooks between father and daughter (close to the bottom of the article).
  3. Why Do Adults Talk Like Children? The Atlantic. “We have kidspeak to thank for introducing these new layers of playfulness and subtlety into our repertoire. English today is arguably more fertile than it’s been since Shakespeare’s time, and those itchy about the novelty of kidspeak might consider that not so long ago pedants were insisting the proper person should say “bal-coh-nee” for balcony, stamp out “nonwords” such as standpoint, and use obnoxious to mean “ripe for injury.” Their arguments failed miserably when presented to everyday speakers, who tend to have good intuition about how language should work. Amid today’s dreadful news cycles, the emergence of kidspeak is something to celebrate. This new slang is a totally natural and endlessly witty collective advancement of the American idiom, wielded selectively and with a fundamental irony by people fully in command of the standard language forms. It makes for more interesting, nuanced talk.” I love the evolution of our ridiculously messy English language!
  4. 7 Things Building A Plus Size Capsule Wardrobe Taught Me, Bustle. I liked this thought about overcoming the feeling like you don’t want to invest in your body now, as it is: “I kept holding myself back, thinking, “What if I lose weight? Then this gorgeous dress won’t even matter.” I was too busy imagining a perfect, thinner future for myself to take care of the body I have now. When I finally bit the bullet and bought myself a pricey, knee-high pair of leather boots last fall, I was shocked at how strongly it affected my feelings about my body for the better. Treasuring myself, treating my body as if it is inherently worthy of the best, helped heal a part of me that had been neglected for a long time.”
  5. No Hard Feelings: The Secret Power of Embracing Emotions at Work, Liz Fosslien and Mollie West Duffy. This book makes a convincing argument that we should take emotion into account in the workplace. I think most workplaces would say they agree with that premise, but in practice their employees feel like there is either an excess of extreme emotion and aggression, or a culture of suppressing your feelings. The authors examine emotion at work from a few different angles (showing emotion as a leader, the dynamics of teamwork, when you should and shouldn’t go with your gut), but one of the concept that I appreciated was the idea of a “psychologically safe” workplace. They actually have an assessment you can take on their website to measure your workplace’s psychological safety — ie, do you feel like you can take risks, ask for help, and make mistakes without your teammates holding it against you. I also liked this part about the “thinking traps” we can fall into when we ruminate on a negative event. The three Ps they defined were: Personalization (“This is all my fault”), Pervasiveness (“This is going to ruin everything”), and Permanence (“I am going to feel like this forever”). Also, this is where this week’s blog image comes from! I really enjoyed the charming, relatable graphics in this book.

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