Monday Matter: Ballet slippers, nightmares and the mkone tree
Your biweekly Foreign Bodies roundup
Every other Monday, I send subscribers and gift recipients of immigrant mental health and storytelling newsletter Foreign Bodies stories I recently inhaled and adored. This is also a chance to do some housekeeping and give shout-outs and all that jazz.
First things first
A little housekeeping
For those looking to help the people of Turkey and Syria
The death toll from the catastrophic earthquake that hit Turkey and Syria has climbed over 35,000 as of this morning. I don’t have it in me to find the right words to encompass this heaviness, my fear for the newly displaced, the burgeoning climate refugee crisis, any of it. What we can do from afar:
Give to the International Rescue Committee, the White Helmets (AKA the Syria Civil Defense organization), Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières or others mentioned in this LA Times op-ed from Raksha Vasudevan.
Apply to the Welcome Corps to privately sponsor the resettlement of refugees in the United States.
Pay attention to the rebuilding once the headlines fade.
Some post-nightmare word vomit
It took my body a good twenty, twenty-five minutes to catch up to my head that morning. My nerves were burning, fiery, itchier with the prickly, neglected hairs on my legs. My head was aware. It knew whatever just happened didn’t actually happen. It’s time to snap back, I kept saying aloud. I attempted to calm my body down with a former therapist’s slow diaphragmatic breathing ritual. This is most effective when performed on the sitting bones, but I was in a state of paralysis. I couldn’t get my body to bend into any kind of angle at all.
I don’t have nightmares often, at least none that I can fully recall upon waking. This was different. I remember the act of escape, running from something or someone or somewhere. I remember the pain of leaving something or someone behind. The guilt of the leaving. There was a hallway, countless doors swung open on the way. When I awoke in tears, I couldn’t shake this state of fright. Was it the melatonin? The noise of looming deadlines? The onslaught of bad news? I have tried to forget the specifics of that nightmare, and every day since, my memory of what exactly went down in my subconscious grows muddier. I both hate and appreciate that I can’t remember.
A musical start to your Mondays 🎧
One song to groove to, cry to, drive to and share
This week’s pick, recommended by Jehanzaib S., is Turkish singer, painter and anthropologist Gaye Su Akyol, best known for her poetic dissident pop.
Resource(s) of the week
Something helpful and interesting and cool (*storytelling opportunity)
How to offer help when you don’t know what to say: Vox senior reporter Allie Volpe put together this useful guide with realistic actions we can take to offer our loved ones relief in times of grief. Think: “Do you need help cleaning?” or “Can I make you dinner?”
*High Country News editor Kate Schimel is open to pitches of reported pieces ($1/word), essays (50c/word), and other content “that [can] offer insight on the news of the moment/day/week/month” in the Western U.S. with particular interest in stories from Black, AAPI, and Latino communities. Send pitches to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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