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From Malcolm Gladwell’s essay, “Getting Over It“, in The New Yorker:

Rind was trying to help psychologists focus on what was truly harmful. And, when it came to the effects of things like physical abuse and neglect, he and his colleagues sounded the alarm. “What happens in physical abuse is that it doesn’t happen once,” Rind says. “It happens time and time again. And, when it comes to neglect, the research shows that is the most noxious factor of all—worse than physical abuse. Why? Because it’s not practiced for one week. It’s a persistent thing. It’s a permanent feature of the parent-child relationship. These are the kinds of things that cause problems in adulthood.”

Sam Sax:

i don’t know shit
about the throat
of a sparrow.
how it can sing
& fly at the same
time. this couch
a sovereign object.
this back, a cadillac
on cinderblocks.
i stood once,
not for something,
rather, on my way
to the kitchen
for something to eat.
i bit into an apple,
quite the achievement.
i wanted to be high
so lied to the doctor
about my anxiety,
the panic attacks
began then. naming
the disease made it
open like a primer
in my chest. wicked
mouth, peeling apple
after apple after reading
their skins are poison,
same goes for the seeds.
my man is a monster,
gunfire in the street.
praise the demigod
pharmacy for this
calm blood remedy,
which lets me do
nothing. my back
pinned to the cushion
again. my body, this
magnificent prison,
the ceiling above
bigger than any sky,
one a bird might fall
out of, singing         as it dies.
It’s been a long time since I read before sleep. Of course I grew up reading for hours before bed, and in the middle of night when I couldn’t sleep, which was as often as not. I slept in a sea of books and notebooks and pens. The space between my bed and wall was a small, unkempt library, and the desk next to my bed had a short stack, too. When I got injured a few years ago, it became impossible to read comfortably–elbows, neck–and I lost my favorite way to travel.


You should understate your pain, in writing, if you want anyone to read it. That sounds maudlin, but my tone thinking this, writing it, is flat. It’s an observation about things I’ve read, what works, what doesn’t.


I can read comfortably enough now–just now, just the last few weeks, not even a few months ago–to not be distracted by discomfort or have to rearrange and break the flow every couple minutes. And J falls fast asleep and I wonder if the reading at night is some way to go back to old parts of myself, or do something private and mine, as he seeps in everywhere.


I didn’t understand the intimacy of someone in your space all the time. Someone seeing your small habits, someone knowing if there is open wine in your fridge. For the first time, I am being seen in a way that I suppose would be familiar had I not grown up as an a voice, no body, more or less a hallucination to my parents. I am used to intimacy in doses with friends, some times intense but time-controlled, and this is not that. At moments it is like something closing in on me. I didn’t know about this. How could I have?


Most people like this, want this, and I will probably adjust. But I am not sure. And not troubled by my unsureness–it will unfold, I can’t and don’t need to answer that now. I do find myself wondering what it means for my life. Would I actually prefer to live alone? Can I live with a partner and have enough social energy for friendships, which, right now, I simply don’t? Do I need to be with someone more introverted, or more independent?


This is all the beginning, and I don’t know how to do it yet. I will give it time–that is my discipline, my practice.

Bessel van der Kolk:

Trauma has nothing whatsoever to do with cognition. It has to do with your body being reset to interpret the world as a dangerous place.” That reset begins in the deep recesses of the brain with its most primitive structures, regions that, he says, no cognitive therapy can access. “It’s not something you can talk yourself out of.

After an evening with a new friend I’ve had a bit of a crush on for a while, I dreamt about him. In the dream, he puts his arm around me, and his hand slips under my shirt. He asks me something about whether I need to push the temptation farther, to test it. And I look at him and say, not without disdain or condescension, “I’m an adult”.


My body positivity does not hinge on the idea that all bodies are perfect as they are, because for some of us, this isn’t true to our experience. But all bodies are worthy — meaning we should treat them with love and care, whatever that care looks like so long as it’s good for us.

The first time I had sex I was fourteen. There was a movie on–something Italian that I didn’t know the name of, and we didn’t watch even a minute of–and he had been kissing the underside of arm, and it was alight. And then I was standing and he was kneeling in front of me, and his mouth was between my legs. All I could feel was the heat of his mouth on me, and I think this is always how the first time should be: she is standing, he is kneeling in front of her, and his mouth is heat on her body. 

What is there to do? 

Don’t hide much. Just keep going. Make it through this year if it kills you.

So, I miss him. So, I’m still in love with him.
So what?
There’s no good to come of going back.

So, I miss him and I say nothing. I leave it be.
So what?

Sometimes memories of him are superimposed on Jason. So what? I pull my attention back to Jason, the way you pull your attention back to the breath in meditation.

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