August 2, 2019

You—each and every one of you—have my endless gratitude

Sometimes, all you can say is thank you.

Today is one of those days where I don’t have anything to say but to express gratitude for everyone who has reached out to me, everyone who sent love, everyone who showed their kindness and compassion over the past few days as I’ve grappled with a relapse of my mental illness, and done so publicly.

Thank you.

Thank you all for the immensity and enormity of your love, kindness, care, and compassion. It means so much to me.

I’m okay: I’m surrounded by great people who support me and love me and who have helped me through this before. I’m in good hands, professionally and personally.

If you’d like to do something to help, look around you at the people in your life, and find the people who may not be as lucky as I am to have those supports.

They may be hard to find, but they are there. Reach out to them. Remind them that they are loved, too.

In the meantime, you have my immense thanks—forever and always.

Poem of the week:

How To Date A White Boy
Amy Alvarez

Never be the first. You are no one’s
enigma or experiment. Find evidence:
an old photo online, in a dusty shoebox
under his bed. Do not be his melanated
test drive. Do not feel flattered.

If you meet his parents, prepare
for disappointment. You will want
them to be pleased with your philosophy
thesis/your grandma’s pearls. You will
hope they are immediately rude so you
do not waste another fertile year on their
son. They will invite you to a cookout (they
will call it a barbeque, but it will be a cookout).
Don’t get too upset when you overhear
the grandmother say you are darker/smarter/
prettier/more or less articulate than expected.
She will be dead before the wedding if there is one.

So, you’ve fallen in love. Remind him
before you create a joint Instagram
account, before you adopt a shelter
dog, remind him that you wear the same
MAC foundation number as Sandra Bland.
That your brother looked like Tamir when
he was little. Before you argue names for
imagined children, remind him of what
could happen to a boy with your face.

So, your white boy thinks you should move
in together. Take him to un-gentrified Bronx
neighborhoods where old men play dominoes
on the sidewalk and children have no bedtimes
in summer. Take him to your favorite auntie’s
house. Let him get a tongue lashing from your
Hotep cousin while you help” in the kitchen
by taste-testing arroz con pollo/collards/quinoa salad.

So, your white boy has fallen in love with you.
He has told off Johnnie Come Woke-ly friends.
He is asking whether you have ever thought it
would be easier with someone browner than him,
whether your parents, best friend, your abuelita
would be happier. Hold his hands in yours. Notice
his red face, tear-filled eyes. Tell him the truth.

In case you missed it:

  • Reminding myself that I’m not alone: If there’s one thing I’ve been lucky to learn over the past fifteen years of living with my bipolar diagnosis and my anxiety disorder, it’s that I’m able to see, a few days in advance, when a relapse is coming.
  • Train tracks across the city: Several rail tracks run across our city, running through the core of town and even crossing main thoroughfares and arteries at ground level.
  • A few things I learned this month: A quick roundup of a few of the things I learned in July, 2019.

A few things to read and explore:

You’ve read it already, but you should really read it again: The Crane Wife is a masterful piece of storytelling, a gorgeous piece of writing, and a heart-wrenching rumination on who we are in relation to those we love.

The emotional tax’ Canadian people of colour carry at work: The experience of people of colour in our workplaces is substantially different and there is this putting on body armour in the morning for fear that they might be treated differently or perceived differently or that people may not value the contributions they have or the past experience they have.”

As someone who works in an HR-adjacent capacity, this piece on the problem with HR covers a lot of the things I’m grappling with right now at work as I try to reform how we think of the employee experience in public service.

I have not seen 56 of the 100 best films of the decade according to IndieWire, so I guess I have a lot of movie-watching to do before the end of the year.

The problem With America’s culinary schools: Why not teach a Mexican mole next to a French mornay or Nigerian jollof rice next to a pilaf? Or a Hoppin’ John next to cassoulet? Why don’t American culinary schools reflect the multi-faceted world in which they exist?”

I have a pair of Stan Smith sneakers in my closet, so this look at the history of the shoe and the man behind them was a fun read.

Going to the Carly Rae Jepsen concert in Detroit a few weeks ago was a highlight of my year. She’s definitely a queer icon, but I’m curious why she hasn’t become a mainstream pop icon yet: her talent is inescapable.

I think a lot about the unread books in my shelf and how each one is an adventure to be unfurled only when I am ready, so this rumination on bookshelves left unread resonated: Perhaps in some cases it has actually meant more to me to possess a book than to read it, because as long as its contents remain unknown to me, it retains its mystery. The unread book is a provocation, a promise of something that might dissipate if I slogged my way through the text.”

Like everyone else, I’ve been transfixed by all the stories about the lunar landing that have been coming out recently. This is particularly interesting: Neil and Buzz barely got out of the infield.

Apollo 11 landing site superimposed on baseball diamond

I’m really interested in how the internet is allowing people to express, explore, and enjoy their sexuality—bringing something that was once hidden out into the open. Dipsea looks like a really interesting entry to the online erotica space.

Using the Slack reacji” at work has completely changed how I communicate with my colleagues, and introduced new levels of nuance that I don’t always get as a remote worker who doesn’t get to see his coworkers in person. Glad to know that the use of emoji in the workplace isn’t being frowned upon, anymore.

Comic strip by Reza Farazmand

Things have changed, my friends—and they keep changing. Take some time to take care of yourself amongst all the upheaval.

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