Monday Matter: Short and sweet edition
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. Today’s roundup is public. It will be nice and brief, because your girl is, well, struggling.
First things first
A little housekeeping
C*vid brain vomit
I’m on my sixth day of C*vid and it’s been a bitter first bout of the doomed virus, to say the least. I knew it was inevitable; being among the few maskless on my flights told me enough. I’ve grown lax, gotten comfortable again in coffeeshops, on dates, in gyms and at concerts. Airports, however, still terrify me. All that to say, I’m late to the game and happy to be. But I truly didn’t anticipate how much my body would fall apart in a matter of hours and days, how I could look in the mirror the next morning and notice my muscles had shrunk overnight. Being sick, whether it’s at the hands of a virus, a flare-up of a chronic illness, a depressive low, it reveals so much about our diverting wants and needs when our minds and bodies don’t align the way we want. In my prime, I want solitude and hyper-independence with a healthy sprinkle of community and spontaneity—all on my terms. In my sickness, I simply want someone to spoon me a bowl of soup, walk my dog, feed the cat, do the laundry, wash the dishes. How desperately I want to be taken care of, how reluctant I’m afraid I’ll always be to even allow it.
A musical start to your Mondays 🎧
One song to groove to, cry to, drive to and share
A lil ode to Maggie Rogers after a concert with my MFA sisters, Mercedes and Beth.
Personal stories and poetry I’m loving
Grief, a (grand)mother tongue (Mele Girma, Scalawag Magazine): “Relationships are a shared language developed between two people over time. My grandmother, who I only knew as Emaye, meaning mother, came to live with us when I was 8 years old. Back then her English was about as advanced as my Amharic, and so, before our language was ever tongue, it was tangible… We didn't always know each other. We learned each other. This is a grace not limited to native speakers.” Well, I’m weeping. Read here.
When the Squirrels Are Over (T Kira Madden, Catapult): “Yesterday, I thought about the children I’d like to tell these stories to. I google things about adopting from China because I’m Chinese and that might feel meaningful to me, but then I remember gay people can’t adopt from China or from anywhere easily. I let myself cry for a little bit over this. Then I feel weird for searching for children on the internet, scrolling pages like they’re dating sites, so clinical. Then I remember that this is the way you often do it, when you’re gay. You scroll a lot, looking for information. I wonder if the gay exterminator has ever scrolled. Hannah says it’s okay, no children have to come tomorrow. I wonder how long we will say this.” From the Catapult Magazine pandemic archives, a must-read essay about mental health, squirrels and failures of metaphor. Read here.
Poem For Want (Hajjar Baban, Guernica): “Mountains slanting a page/for hours. I can’t tell you who my father is or/say anything about the country in which/my mother lived, comes from. I’m resigned,/I’ve sat and waited for birds to appear/in the sky. I’ve harmed no one to want/knowledge to place in my many lacks.” Read the full poem (and others) here.
Leaving you with some Ada Limón.
Thanks for bearing with today’s brief edition of the Monday Matter! Special thanks to our growing Foreign Bodies Sustaining Members for keeping this newsletter going through all my ups and downs.