September 11, 2020

Polina Rytova

Hi, friends, how has this week been for you? Somehow even with a day off it felt like a long one for me. Someone just walked by and asked me how I am and I said, “Hangin’ in there,” like some kind of cranky sloth. Looking forward to getting out in nature this weekend (and playing a bunch of Dungeons & Dragons).

  1. Jesmyn Ward on Her Husband’s Death and Grief During COVID-19, Vanity Fair. “During the pandemic, I couldn’t bring myself to leave the house, terrified I would find myself standing in the doorway of an ICU room, watching the doctors press their whole weight on the chest of my mother, my sisters, my children, terrified of the lurch of their feet, the lurch that accompanies each press that restarts the heart, the jerk of their pale, tender soles, terrified of the frantic prayer without intention that keens through the mind, the prayer for life that one says in the doorway, the prayer I never want to say again, the prayer that dissolves midair when the hush-click-hush-click of the ventilator drowns it, terrified of the terrible commitment at the heart of me that reasons that if the person I love has to endure this, then the least I can do is stand there, the least I can do is witness, the least I can do is tell them over and over again, aloud, I love you. We love you. We ain’t going nowhere.” This essay made me cry at the library desk. Absolutely beautiful, essential reading.
  2. #1288: “Saying ‘No’ To The Dress & My Overbearing Sister”, Captain Awkward. “Tighten your circle of who is included in discussions of options (the person you are marrying, a very few people you trust to be supportive and excited) vs. who is informed of final decisions (everyone else, including unpleasant and controlling family).” I am someone who loves getting other peoples’ input, but also someone who has trouble making decisions when there are too many options, so this advice about keeping the feedback circle tight is helpful to me. Plus, OMG at this sister!
  3. Off the Rack, The Nib. “People perceived as male have always been punished as traitors for embracing the feminine, no matter what that means in the specific.” This is  nice lil comic about clothes from a gender-nonconforming perspective.
  4. Breonna Taylor’s Mom Talks About Her Murder by Police to Ta-Nehisi Coates, Vanity Fair. Pair this piece with Jesmyn Ward’s above. I think a lot of people have gotten used to seeing Breonna Taylor’s name (in protests, headlines, and memes), but this piece in her own mother’s words brings back her personhood. Did you know her boyfriend Kenny was about to propose? He had the ring and everything. That breaks my heart. “people want to see me. They want to say they’re sorry. They want to apologize for the police. They want to offer their condolences. They want to apologize for not listening. I can’t believe it. People are begging for forgiveness like, I’m sorry we weren’t listening. I just can’t believe it. I felt like with the whole pandemic, Breonna would be forgotten, and we would just get swept under the rug. And how do I feel then? Like, my God, somebody heard me. Like I finally caught my breath. That’s how I feel. Like I finally caught my breath.” Keep pushing for justice for Breonna Taylor.
  5. Face Masks: The New Fashion Category Of Our Generation, Refinery 29. “I can’t think of anything that has become as ubiquitous over this short a period of time,” says retail analyst Neil Saunders. With the speed of a fad and the urgency of an essential item, masks went from nowhere to omnipresent in the span of a few weeks. Today, masks can be found in drugstores, big-box stores, and even gas stations. They are — aside from perhaps underwear — the most regularly worn item in America right now.” Interesting to hear about the fashion industry’s response to the need for masks, but it’s hard for me to imagine wearing anything but homemade masks. “In these six months of mixed messaging, masks — even without bells and whistles (or rhinestones and beaded strawberries) — have clearly communicated a whole catalog of expressions: They’ve signaled political beliefs, tastes and preferences, as well as how neighborly, considerate, and kind their wearer is. The fact that a single garment can convey all of that is unusual, unprecedented, and unbearably heavy. These are qualities that uniquely define our commitments to one other in 2020. If anything is up for that task, it’s face masks — worn in sickness, and hopefully, in health.”

Donation station:

  • Anti-Racism Daily Newsletter I have found this newsletter incredibly informative in the past few months. They send you a daily email with a short news story or issue, explain it with context, and usually give you an action item (like a petition, donation, or legislation to support). Subscribe to their newsletter, and join me in donating $5 there today.

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