This weekend I had the great fortune to drive alone to Houston.
I dillydallied getting on the road: I stopped to vote, then I got a free slice of pizza for voting, then I stopped to pick up some pastries.
I did all these things in the name of self-care, but the truth is that for months no amount of stickers or carbs has sufficed to quell the existential dread.
All of my regular mental health practices have felt inadequate to these times. Long gone are the days when a smattering of endorphins or three fistfuls of nacho cheese Doritos would rekindle my patience and good cheer.
When I finally did get on the road, I treated myself like my InstantPot and decisively flipped the manual release valve.
I turned up Lizzo.
Really, really, loud.
And then every time I saw a sign for a particular candidate, I rage screamed.
I made it my goal to drown out Lizzo.
I wanted to tip over the edge of self control. I wanted to feel the violence release from my throat and watch it dissipate across the prairie.
On the road from Austin to Houston, there was no shortage of opportunities to let loose primal howls (plus a few emphatic gestures and choice vocabulary words). I practiced high intensity interval screaming for nearly three hours. It gave me the shakes. It gave me the sweats. One interval metastasized into a full-body ugly cry.
And when I stepped out of my car in Houston, I felt lighter than I had in months.
I’ve been holding it together, superficially, for far too long. For my kids. Out of a conditioned sense of propriety. Because there’s nowhere to experience ugly emotional releases without alarming the neighbors or having to sedate your dog.
And I’d forgotten that screaming—real screaming, not the kind we measure out in characters or caps lock—could be a highly effective form of self care.
So between now and forever, I’ll be surrendering to sadness from the safe space of my car.
I can’t recommend the rage-release road trip highly enough.
🗳 Speaking of political self-care, we are hosting a panel of activists to speak about the intersections between political engagement and wellness. If you are feeling hopeless, enraged, powerless—no matter what irritant gives you the rage shakes—I can’t recommend this enough. It’s NOT about politicians, parties, policies, partisanship, or persuasion. It’s about how our political activity impacts personal and community wellness. Sign up here to attend live or watch the recording.
🥳 HBD JKF!
For your consideration
✊🏼 Send your spare coins to The World Food Program, which recently won Nobel Peace Prize and is dedicated to easing food insecurity around the world.
🏆 Top read this week: NIMBYism and the lifestyle blogger. This one struck a nerve.
“Resisting that slide under capitalism takes continuous work. It takes widening the aperture of your world outside your own walls, even when your foundation feels unstable. It means resisting the American cult of the individual over and over again. It requires caring about other people, even and especially people who aren’t like you. It means being honest about ourselves and blind spots and laboring to correct them."
👀 Amuse-bouches for your eyes and ears: Atul Gawande with the truth bombs again. Get a preview of this week’s Political Wellness panel here. How Twitter is like porn (WFH-safe). Online parks. Read Problem #2 on the collapse of the middlebrow. This was my pregame for Lizzo & screaming. This convinced me to just phone bank, already. Our favorite among the 50 best jokes for little kids features Elsa. Poor people just need money. Louder for those in the back. Schools aren’t superspreaders.
🤓 Use this in a sentence. Irenic: (adj) aiming or aimed at peace.